Author: Francesca Zappia
Publisher: May 19th, 2015
Publication Date: Greenwillow Books
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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.
Made You Up is easily one of my favorite contemporary that I have ever read (and I am VERY picky with my contemporaries). Francesca is a talented writer who created a thought provoking story about a young girl who refuses to let her mental disorder get in the way of her dreams.
When she was seven, Alex freed the lobsters at a supermarket. She received help from mysterious boy with blue eyes, who told her she smelled like lemons and himself smelled of pond water. She asked him to be her friend and he accepted, then disappeared. Shortly later Alex learned she was schizophrenic and was convinced that he was nothing but a delusion made up by her mind. Only ten years later she never expected to see this boy again.
What makes this whole book is Alex, who is a paranoid schizophrenic who takes pictures to help her know what is real or a delusion. She is terrified that the communists are coming for her, doing 360 degree perimeter checks when she walks into a room and checks her food for tracking devices that could be used by the communist to get her. Her character is so complex. The story is about her, not a romance, or a mystery (well a little bit) but about the struggle of her mental disorder and knowing what is actually real, or what her mind has made up. Besides Alex, Miles is well written with some issues of his own. He hires himself out to do weird tasks and has general assholish tendencies. But underneath all that Miles is vulnerable. Made You Up could have easily been your typical flawed girl meets flawed guy and they fall in love. Though there is romance, that wasn't the main focous. Francesca managed to branch this story off in different ways to give us a clear view into the life of Alex and her daily struggles.
Most of the story focuses on Alex's struggles but there is also the struggle that is facing both Alex and Miles. Their principle has an unhealthy obsession with the score board, dedicating a day to give it offerings and such. Alex soon uncovers that he made the board a memorial for the girl he was in love with who was crushed by it nearly twenty years earlier at their high school reunion. Now Scarlett's daughter, attends the school and the principle is forcing her to be just like her dead mother. Even if it means getting rid of anyone who is in they way. But who is going to beleive the delusional girl?
Made You Up is equally parts funny, heart breaking and thought provoking. It leaves you wondering what is real or what is fake. I am honestly going to say I wish we could get more of Alex's story. I loved her character, and getting to be in her head. She is one of my favorite characters I have read about.