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.
Made You Up has been on my radar for quite a few months now, ever since it was first released, so I was extremely excited when I was sent a copy to review! I absolutely adore books that discuss mental illness and revolve around mental health themes because I’m able to empathise with what a lot of the characters are going through, and I feel it’s really important for others to see themselves in novels too. It’s also integral to share these stories of mental illness, or any illness, to be honest, to increase our knowledge and learn to empathise with others. To me, those are the most important things any book can offer, and it’s something I think Made You Up excels in. This novel is a touching, evocative tale of a teenage girl’s struggle with schizophrenia, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s about the importance of honestly, what it means to trust someone, and to learn to live your life to the fullest, no matter what your circumstance.
One of the things I loved most about Made You Up was Alex, our main character. As she suffers from schizophrenia, her world is full of colours and objects, people and things that could be there, but also could not be. In order to attempt to discern what was real and what was wasn’t, she’d take photographs and later on, what was left would be what was actually there and not what she had hallucinated. Her unreliability made this novel utterly engrossing because I never really knew if I could trust what she was seeing and what she was saying. Although I’ve heard that some readers felt as though her story wasn’t accurate or realistic, and while I’m no expert, her narrative felt genuine to me and I loved being taken on this wild and unexpected journey with her. Trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t made this book completely addictive. I read this novel in record time, desperate to know how it would end. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Another character I absolutely adored getting to know Miles, a skinny German genius with gorgeous blue eyes and a cold, sometimes cruel persona. He’s different to your typical love-interest, and what’s what I loved most about him. He’s far from perfect, but that’s what makes him so endearing and unique, searing himself onto my heart. I really enjoyed seeing his relationship with Alex grow and change, and it was adorable to see how their friendship blossomed. I also loved getting to know all the other characters and some of the things we learned about them were very surprising. While the plot was incredibly fascinating, it was actually the characters that made this novel the spectacular contemporary with a twist that it was.
The writing was another exquisite aspect of Made You Up, and something that made it truly unforgettable. The beautiful sentences that were weaved together to make paragraphs that soared and simply demanded to be jotted down was definitely a highlight. Zapper’s ability to write with both elegance and raw emotion depending on what the scene demanded illustrates her incredible talent as an author, and she was also able to make me cry or smile with the flourish of her fingers over the keys, printed on the pages that I never wanted to end. Made You Up is the type of book you won’t be sure whether to savour or devour because it’s just that good. Not only would this novel be one of my favourite mental illness novel I’ve read, but it’s also one of my favourites of 2016, and it’s simply a must-read for fans of YA who aren’t afraid of something a little bit dark.
Ultimately, Made You Up is a compelling and moving novel about the difficulties faced by someone suffering from schizophrenia and the importance of trust and honesty. It’s such a beautiful, well-written novel with vibrant characters and I can’t recommend it enough. This is one that will stay with me for quite some time to come.
Have you read Made You Up yet? Do you read many books about mental illness? What’s the most accurate or best book with mental health-related themes? Does this one sound like it would appeal to you? Let me know down below!
Thanks to HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!