Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Made You Up

Title Made You Up

Author Francesca Zappia

Release Date May 19, 2015

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.

Sigh. I had such high hopes for this book. Sadly, I was left disappointed.

There's so many things that point to this being a winner for me. I love unreliable narrators. I like not being able to see twists and turns and being kept on my toes throughout a book. Mental illness fascinates me. Even if it's an illness I can't directly relate to (as is the case here), I'm always intrigued by books about mental illness. The human mind is a beautiful and crazy thing. The writing was really good. I definitely think it shows promise for Ms. Zappia.

However, there was a lot that didn't work for me. The biggest thing feels like such a contradiction, so it might be hard for me to explain. Things felt so unfocused. Yes, I understand we're working with an unreliable narrator that has paranoid schizophrenia. I understand that not being sure of what's real is part of the story. Trust me, I understand these things. BUT I feel like, at some point, some clarity should come around. And because of the lack of clarity, the entire book feels sort of pointless and disappointing. It just left me saying, "That's it? That's the ending?" I really don't enjoy when a book leaves me feeling so dissatisfied.

Overall, I just don't know how I really feel about this book. There was both good and bad in Made You Up. I do know, though, that I wanted to enjoy this book so much more than I actually did.


3 out of 5 stars

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