books, review

Made You Up Book Review

This cover is gorgeous!

Original Release Date:

May 19th, 2015

Date I Read The Book:

May, 2016

My Star Rating:

5 Stars



Official Summary:

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)



Made You Up is unreliable narration at its finest. In this book, we follow Alex, whose parents study history, whose little sister is an adorable pain, who has a fascination with World War 2 and photography and is starting her senior year at a new school. Standard contemporary right? Except for the part where she’s a paranoid schizophrenic.

I think my favorite thing about the story was the fact that it never played into stereotypes, that Alex was never made into this nut-case who was beyond help or loving. Never made her seem like a burden to be born by her parents. She had friends, she feel in love, she just needed a bit more help than most, because she couldn’t always trust what she saw. I appreciated this, as someone who wants to study neurology and has a baby sister with Downs Syndrome, I think awareness is important, especially for disorders such as this because people think they know it, but they really don’t.

The book is funny, hilarious even, with moments of suspense, of drama, of mystery, of romance. I liked that, even as a contemporary, the romance was important, but was in the backdrop, Alex finding herself, and learning to separate the disorder from reality, to trust in her friends and family was the main point. We learn what is and isn’t a delusion a different times: sometimes the things we think are real aren’t, and sometimes the things we think aren’t real are. I never guessed certain things that happen that I don’t want to spoil, but I liked that, because I always guess and ruin things for myself.

Each character, even minor ones, are fully fleshed out. We see Alex’s quirks, and everyone else’s. Each character has their own motivations and role to play. And we see Alex grow as a person not only inspite of her disease but with it. Events have consequences, the past never stays in the past. And there are always certain things you are left wondering if they are “made up”. I’d like to think they weren’t.

I like how the author took normal contemporary tropes, and flipped them to fit the story: the high school party is more dramatic than it had any right to be, the Queen Bee isn’t as perfect as she wants to seem, and sometimes crazy isn’t as crazy as you might think. Its not paranoia is its true.

The plot is well paced, and the writing is beautiful. It leaves you guessing but not confused, you are on the same page as Alex the whole way through: the ground is shaky but mostly stable beneath you.

I believe everyone should read this book, the same way Alex believes in setting the lobsters free. And thats saying something.

Favorite/Famous Quotes:

“I didn’t have the luxury of taking reality for granted. And I wouldn’t say I hated people who did, because that’s just about everyone. I didn’t hate them. They didn’t live in my world.

But that never stopped me from wishing I lived in theirs.”
― Francesca Zappia, Made You Up


“Was there some kind of law about drop-kicking assholes in the face? Probably. They always had laws against things that needed to be done.”
― Francesca Zappia, Made You Up


“I realized everyone around me was wearing a uniform. Black pants, white button-down shirts, green ties. Gotta love the smell of institutional equality in the morning.”
― Francesca Zappia, Made You Up


“I was a schizophrenic, not a damn invalid.”
― Francesca Zappia, Made You Up


The PA system went quiet. I stared at the ceiling. Did he just say ‘offerings?’

For a scoreboard?”
― Francesca Zappia, Made You Up


3 thoughts on “Made You Up Book Review”

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