Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Francesca Zappia
Made You Up
Greenwillow Books
430 pages

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. 

I still remember when I was a kid, I used to have an imaginary friend whom I named Giva and we both were imagining crazy stuffs together, like winning a gold medal for swimming competition. Every time before I slept, I was always buzzing in my bed talking with "him"--I always considered Giva as a male. As I grew older, I am not only unable to swim, Giva started to vanish away as well, as if Giva was the reason why I swam. Einstein said that imagining things is more important than knowing things--that's not the exact quote--but what if we can't distinguish reality and imagination.Zappia's "Made You Up" encircles the whole struggle of a teenage girl who tries to separate her imagination and reality while she does her best to stay sane from her schizophrenic mind. 

"Made You Up" is a quirky book with enticing characters. Alex, our main character, narrates with humor as she navigates her life in a public high school, being inconspicuous and hiding her schizophrenia from the rest of her school. Until Miles comes--a person she thinks from her past, the person who starts everything--and before she realizes, she is intrigued by him. Miles' life is a contradictory--smart but a jerk, blue eyes but sandy hair--and Alex finds his mysteriousness puzzling. When everything she thinks real turns out to be unreal, Alex's life falls apart, but she must save Miles since his life is in danger--but probably Alex just imagines it. 

For me, "Made You Up" is an okay book with an emotional twist at the climax, but with sour ending, and not a good representation of people with schizophrenia. It's a nice young adult book, but it isn't something groundbreaking.
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