Please don’t let this be a delusion. Please let this be real.”
Book: Made You Up
Author: Francessa Zappia
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.
This book made me bawl. Like a baby. Before I began to read this, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to second guess whether everything I saw was real or not. I couldn’t imagine having to take pictures so I could pore over them later to evaluate whether that Nazi gas mask was a figment of my imagination or not. I couldn’t imagine being unable to trust myself. I couldn’t imagine ever being strong enough, brave enough to accept a mental disease but determined to make my way through life with it. I couldn’t imagine it then, but now I don’t have to. Because, people Ms. Zappia already did that for me via Alex.
“Was everything made up? Was this whole world inside my head? If I ever woke up from it, would I be inside a padded room somewhere, drooling all over myself?
Would I even be myself?”
As an unbelievably brilliant but unreliable narrator, Alex’s definitely one of my favorite heroines of 2015. She has depth- and she’s so sincere, your heart will break for her over and over again. But at the same time, she’s so plucky (I’m sorry to use such an old-fashioned word, but it’s really the only one that works) and determined to work past her mental illness, that you have to admire her too. She’s kind of a bitch, so it’s hard to feel sorry for her. But it’s so easy to like her, to care for her (and what happens to her) and to love her.
“You know a school is run by stuck-up sons of bitches when it doesn’t even have a bike rack.”
Though this book is about schizophrenia (A mental disorder triggered by a breakdown which leads to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation), it’s not all about a girl who’s suffering from a disorder. Alex is a real girl who exasperatedly loves her little sister, engages in prank wars, baits mean-girls and forms strong friendships.
As for the romance- Oh my god, I’m still fangirling over it! There is no insta-love and there are no love triangles (which we’re all very grateful for, I’m sure). Miles (red hair,blue eyes and a possible sociopath- which is really rare to see in YA love interests) and Alex are imperfect characters- not broken characters who need to fix each other, just imperfect ones- who gradually fall in like and then in love with each other. They both combat aspects of their personalities they dislike in themselves, but just being around each other brings out the most beautiful parts of their character in a very natural way. Together they’re unabashedly nerdy, sarcastic, witty, supportive- and altogether, perfect.
“Dear Asshole : Thank you for keeping your word and believing me. It was more than I expected. Also, I’m sorry you were inconvenienced by my gluing your locker shut at the beginning of this year. However, I am not sorry that I did it, because it was a lot of fun.
If you want a book that will really make you feel, something that’ll end with you throwing the book away, collapsing into tears and then lovingly picking up the book again to read it sometime when you’re stable again- then this is the book for you. If you want something that explores perspectives and reality- then this is the book for you. If you want something beautiful, profound and heartbreakingly compelling -this is the book for you.
Overall Rating: 4/5
“People say teenagers think they’re immortal, and I agree with that. But I think there’s a difference between thinking you’re immortal and knowing you can survive. Thinking you’re immortal leads to arrogance, thinking you deserve the best. Surviving means having the worst thrown at you and being able to continue on despite that. It means striving for what you want most, even when it seems our of your reach, even when everything is working against you.”
“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.”
“Intelligence is not measured by how much you know, but by how much you have the capacity to learn.”
“Believing something existed and then finding out it didn’t was like reaching the top of the stairs and thinking there was one more step.”