Thursday, May 14, 2015

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia {review + giveaway}

Made You Up 
by Francesca Zappia
♦publisher: Greenwillow Books
♦release date: May 19th, 2015
♦hardcover, 448 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone, contemporary
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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. 

Review: Made You Up caught me by surprise and made me love it.  While it took a few chapters to really get a handle on Alex and the other characters, once I was in, I was all in and completely glued to every page until the very end.  With a witty but unreliable narrator that constantly has you guessing what is real and what isn’t, this story is all at once compelling, emotional, humorous, mysterious, and heartbreaking.

Alex is a fantastic character, genuine, flawed, and with some very well-founded fears.  She’s been living with paranoid schizophrenia since she was 7 and she seems to manage it pretty well. Despite the fact that she hides it to keep from being shunned or taunted by her peers, she fully owns it and the little quirks she’s developed to help her deal---things like taking photos of things she things might not be real so she can refer back to them later, scanning a room she walks into or her food for threats without anyone noticing she’s doing it. Illness aside, Alex is super smart and has a fiery, fun attitude that I loved getting to know. Her dad is supportive enough, but her mother threatens to commit her or call her psychiatrist every time she slips and I just wanted to cry for her every time. But her greatest comfort is her little sister, who is always there for her with a no-questions-asked cuddle. 

The love story is hard-won and slow building from a strange sort of rivalry. When she meets Miles she is sure he is the same little boy she met as a child, but always thought he was a hallucination. It’s fun to watch Miles and Alex come together and slowly start to understand each other. Alex and Miles melt the ice ( and yes, I do mean ICY) on their relationship slowly and with lots of friction and emotional hesitation and stand-offishness, but their feelings finally show through what is undoubtedly the swooniest game of 20 questions I’ve ever seen! 

There is a bit of mystery as Alex and her friends investigate the school’s past to find out what is going on with the principal, a popular girl and her mother, and the infamous school scoreboard. The plot is well-written and rings true, with a few major twists that completely pulled the rug out from under me and left me drowning in emotions.  I don’t reread often, but this one made me want to flip back to the front and experience it again the second I turned the last page. 

 Find Francesca Zappia online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

Purchase Made You Up: Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

I've ended up with two copies of this wonderful book, so I want to pass one on!
Enter below to win an ARC!
•US mailing addresses only
•Ends  5/19/15

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I was on the fence about this book, because on the one hand it seemed pretty interesting, but on the other hand sometimes I have trouble reading this kind of heavy-issue books...your review did it for me though, so I think I'm going to read it!

    Carolina M on rafflecopter

  2. Yesss. Stunning post Becky. <3 I'm so happy that you loved this book :D I don't think I will read it, not yet, but I'm still oh so curious about it. Sigh. The cover is stunning. And you make the book sound so good. Especially the romance :D It sounds awesome. <3 So happy you loved the main character :) Thank you for sharing all your amazing thoughts about this book sweetie. <3

  3. I definitely recommend giving this a try! I was wary, too, because of I thought it would focus more on the darker side of the issue, but the characters made this a great read and Alex's personality and humor really lightened up the story.

  4. Thank you, Carina! :) I hope you try this one out someday! Oh yes, I love the cover, too! So gorgeous!

  5. 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.

    View this site for Westport Fishing Salmon