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Made You Up

Cover of Made You Up

Made You Up

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Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. For fans of Silver Linings Playbook and Liar, this thought-provoking debut tells the story of Alex, a high school senior—and the ultimate unreliable narrator—unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out what is real and what is not. 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 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. Can she trust herself? Can we trust her?

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. For fans of Silver Linings Playbook and Liar, this thought-provoking debut tells the story of Alex, a high school senior—and the ultimate unreliable narrator—unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out what is real and what is not. 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 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. Can she trust herself? Can we trust her?

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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.7
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

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About the Author-
  • Francesca Zappia lives in central Indiana. When she is not writing, she's drawing her characters, reading, or playing video games. She is also the author of Made You Up and Eliza Mirk's favorite, The Children of Hypnos, a biweekly serial novel posted on Tumblr and Wattpad.

    www.francescazappia.com

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 30, 2015
    Nothing is what it seems in Zappia’s debut novel. Diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic at age 14, Alexandra Ridgemont, a senior entering a new high school after an infamous graffiti episode, meets Miles, a boy she believes she conjured in childhood. Her uncertainty and the pressures of a new school create an unraveling of the barriers between imagination and reality. Told from Alex’s perspective, Zappia’s story submerges readers into a world where they, too, are left unsure of what to trust. As the stakes get higher for Alex—with obstacles that include a principal who fanatically worships a scoreboard, a fellow student buckling under family pressure, and her mother’s threats of hospitalizing her—the truth continues to blur. Despite support from Miles, who comes to her aid even as he struggles with an abusive father and alexithymia, Alex must push past increasingly frightening hallucinations to uncover a surprising secret. Though some of the novel’s big revelations are easily guessed and loose ends left dangling, Alex’s sardonic voice and the rapid, Heathers-like dialogue will hold readers’ interest. Ages 14–up. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2015
    After her expulsion from private school for an act of mental-illness-induced vandalism, Alex, 17, begins her senior year at an Indiana public school with trepidation. Bright and determined to get to college, Alex counts on meds to control her paranoid schizophrenia even if they can't entirely eliminate the hallucinations that have plagued her for a decade; she relies on her part-time table-waiting job to help keep her occupied. Long before they know her history, bullies at her new school target Alex, but she's got allies, too-notably Tucker, a classmate and co-worker, as well as the small community of students at school who, like her, must compensate for past misdeeds by doing community service. They sell tickets and snacks, set up seating and provide support for school sporting events. Alex and the group's charismatic but troubled, possibly autistic leader, Miles, share a mutual attraction that might date back to their strange encounter in a supermarket years earlier, when Alex decided to set a tankful of lobsters free. This debut's talented author creates interesting characters and a suspenseful plot to draw readers in, but eventually the narrative loses traction and, ultimately, its raison d'etre in a nihilistic denouement likely to leave readers feeling manipulated if not just plain cheated. Also troubling is the reliance on toxic stereotypes of mental illness to generate suspense. An intriguing but ultimately misbegotten project. (Fiction. 14-18)

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-Alex is starting her senior year at a new high school, making a clean start after an incident at her previous school. She just wants to keep her grades up and perform her mandatory community service so she can get into college. But Alex knows she'll have a hard time achieving these goals, since she has paranoid schizophrenia. She keeps her illness to herself, hoping that between her doctor, her medication, and her own homegrown coping strategies, no one else need ever know. But on her first day at her new school, she meets a boy who looks exactly like someone she hallucinated on the day her illness first manifested 10 years earlier. And although Miles is not entirely friendly, he may be the only person who understands her. This is a wonderfully complicated book. Adolescence can be absurd, breathless, and frantic on its own. Combine it with mental illness, and things get out of control very quickly. Zappia sets a fast pace that she maintains throughout. Readers will be kept on their toes with quick-witted dialogue, pop culture references, and some odd but accurate word choices, as well as plot twists and big reveals (which may inspire some to reread and see where hints were dropped). While Alex may be unreliable, she is sympathetic from the start. Miles, however, is somehow more complicated than Alex and will almost certainly make readers question their responses to him. VERDICT Zappia tackles some big issues in her debut, creating a messy, hopeful, even joyful book.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) "Alex is a funny, touching, determined, and smart character, and her story is complex and interesting. Fans of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars and Matthew Quick's Silver Linings Playbook will immerse themselves in this nuanced look at trying to live a "normal" life while coping with mental illness."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books "The storytelling texture here recalls Andrew Smith and Sean Beaudoin...There are moments of genuine tragedy redeemed by the acceptance Miles and Alex find in each other amidst all of their imperfections; if love doesn't conquer all, it certainly makes the battles easier to bear. Readers...will enjoy this quirky trip."
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    HarperCollins
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