Made You Up by Francesca 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.
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.
Thoughts before you started reading Made You Up?
CHRISSI: I’m scared of the hype. SO very scared of the hype.
LUNA: There is a rule; if Marieke Nijkamp recommends a book to me it’ll be brilliant. She is never wrong… this is not the least bit irritating 😛
What did you think of Alex?
CHRISSI: Alex is one of my favourite characters. She’s amazing. I liked her immediately and loved following her narration.
LUNA: Alex is wonderful as a narrator. She’s the kind of character you want to follow. Sort of like that friend that takes you by the hand and pulls you into adventures – only with Alex you’re partly in awe of her but also protective.
CHRISSI: Is it enough to say every single thing? I really couldn’t find anything negative about this book. The characters are great, the representation of mental health is fantastic and I was pulled into the story. It was completely engaging, absolutely amazing and one of the most well written books I’ve ever read. The fact that it’s a debut absolutely blows my mind.
LUNA: I’m not sure I’m going to manage to explain this well but Francesca Zappia made me lose my own sense of what was real while reading Made You Up. I thought that I’d sympathise with Alex but that I’d still know when she’d be hallucinating and sometimes I did.
Because of how Made You Up is written I was pretty certain I knew reality (like Alex, only I didn’t need to double-check myself, because why would I?) only then it didn’t necessarily turn out to be reality.
I’m not going to say what is and isn’t real in Made You Up because each reader should have this journey. It gave me so much more understanding about the emotions, especially the fear. When you can’t trust the little things or people you rely on.
CHRISSI: I didn’t have a worst bit. There were moments that I was absolutely heartbroken, but I was only so heartbroken because it was well written and so, so poignant.
LUNA: There wasn’t anything I disliked about Made You Up but as in heartache moment… Well I don’t want to spoiler anything, so I’m just going to say: Charlie.
CHRISSI: My favourite character is Alex. She’s just so real. The author clearly knows how to write an unreliable narrator.
LUNA: I’m going to pick a moment that contains a bit of spoiler (maybe, depends on your definition thereof). When Alex and Miles at in Alex bedroom making out with all signs point to this going all the way but Alex says “Don’t hate me, but I don’t think I want to do this. Not… not right now.” and its ok.
There are loads of other moments in Made You Up that I loved and there is a lot more to this particular chapter but I picked it because I kinda felt like, yes thank you dear author.
Was Made You Up what you expected?
CHRISSI: It was much, much better.
LUNA: In some ways yes, I mean it was a Marieke rec but I wasn’t expecting to be so involved in the book – so on that level it exceeded by expectations.
Would you recommend it?
CHRISSI: Without a doubt!