Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Meet Alex. Oftentimes, she can’t tell who or what is real. Despite this, she’s determined to convince her parents and peers that she’s perfectly sane and can manage normal life, like social outings and possibly college. When Miles enters her life, though, everything turns upside down and Alex is forced to question whether she really is as alright as she’d like to think.
There’s something so interesting about the idea of schizophrenia and all the aspects that it entails. I, myself, can barely wrap my head around the idea that someone’s brain can fabricate people, places, and objects that are only a figment of the imagination. I find it to be so incredible, in one of the worst ways. It’s crazy to think that the mind can be so intricate as to go so far and project these things, and while I understand it must be a hell of a thing to bear, there’s no denying that it makes for great entertainment.
Made You Up is everything you can imagine and more, full of love, loss, heartbreak, mystery, and allusions. I couldn’t get enough of this storyline. For me, it was a constant battle of who and what is real and how can I actually tell? Even though I know it wasn’t like Zappia wanted to go around decoding Da Vincis, that’s what it felt like to me. I was on my toes from start to finish, in fear that someone or something would just be another idea conjured by Alex’s whirlwind mind. Every chapter had my heart pounding, and anytime any character would give Alex the stink eye I dreaded the thought that she could be having an episode, unbeknownst to readers.
This novel, along with being so entertaining, also spotlights what life is like for people who suffer from mental illness, and I personally feel that this is important for all of us to understand. Life is not easy for anyone, and it’s always pivotal to take this into consideration when looking at anyone. So many times I felt my heart drop into my throat due to the way people treated Alex and acted around her. She deserved so much respect and compassion, and this is something to think about not just in the literary world, but in the real one.
What I loved best about Made You Up is that while it’s technically contemporary fiction, it almost read like a supernatural horror, in the way that it cinematically developed abnormal, or in this case, made up, situations and revealed them. This is definitely one of those books that works for the finicky reader who likes to stick true to their genre, because there’s so so so much in store for everyone.
Anyone looking for a different take on contemporary and what it’s like to live with mental instability will fall head over heels for Made You Up.