Made You Up

Author: Francesca Zappia 
Pages: 448 
Publisher: Greenwillow Books 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

My Summary: Alex has never had it easy.

Ever since the incident at the grocery store (involving some lobsters and a probably-imaginary friend) she's been medicated and under constant surveillance of her parents. Alex is schizophrenic, and for her, the lines between reality and what she's made up are almost always blurred. 

But she has it under control. Or at least she hopes she does. Her only goal is to make it through senior year relatively unscathed and make it to college, where she can decide for herself what she wants her reality to be. That is, until she meets her imaginary friend again - but this time, he's all grown up. As she gets pulled into his world, Alex discovers that there's more to life than just flying under the radar and that sometimes real life can be better than anything her brain makes up.

My Thoughts: Wow. Just wow. This one hit me hard. I was not expecting that emotional punch. I picked this up before heading off to the airport, having heard all the hype and wanting to check it out for myself. 

Zappia's writing was extremely impressive. Alex's voice was so genuine and unique, and even as she begins to spiral, you can see what course her thoughts are following. She's not doing things just for the sake of seeming insane - she's just doing what she thinks she has to do to keep herself and her family safe. I also loved the lobster tank thing, along with Miles himself (boyfriend goals, anyone?). 

I could not put this book down, and found myself finishing well before the plane landed. The best kinds of reads are the ones that can make hours fly by unnoticed, and you can be sure that Made You Up is one of those books. Alex was an incredibly unreliable narrator (even she knew it) but you really want to believe everything she sees is real - if only for her sake, The poor girl was struggling so hard to push back her delusions that you could feel her exhaustion in every narrative. 

Most importantly (for me) was the fact that this novel did not turn mental illness into something cute. Zappia's writing and Alex's struggles portrayed just how draining and difficult it is for someone living with mental illness to live day-to-day, and that the ability to do so without second-guessing what you see at every turn is never something that should be taken for granted. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA and is looking for something unique and engaging. 


  1. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this one! I'm definitely going to have to hurry up and buy myself a copy so that I can read it.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. This book sounds amazing!The story and characters all sound wonderful and I absolutely love that cover!Just added this to my TBR.

    Customer recommendations for Westport Fishing Washington


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