Book Reviews

Made You Up – Francesca Zappia (Book Review)

//I was provided a physical ARC of this by the publisher. That, in no way affects my opinion of the book.


Title : Made You Up

Author : Francesca Zappia


Genre : YA Contemporary


Goodreads summary :

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.

Non-Spoilery Thoughts

I’ve studied about schizophrenia – but never read a book about it – so naturally this book interested me. I tried hard to get over the fact that it is a YA contemporary novel and instead focused on how it deals with a type of mental illness I’ve never read in books before. This book, though completely living up to its portrayal of shizophrenia, fails in aspects of it being a YA contemporary.

Now, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the portrayal of schizophrenia in the book, however, as per my judgment – there was nothing problematic with it. I think it portrayed the illness in a very realistic way, and well informed the reader about the severity of the condition. There were quite a few places in the book where I was pretty shocked, and I think the author did a good job of bringing out the reality and depth of the situation.

At the same time, the author hasn’t turned this book into a sob story, which I appreciated. I’ve read way too many YA books dealing with mental illness which turn the book into an emotional mess, and I loved that the author handled this book in a different way. This book showed that to create a book dealing with mental illness impactful, you don’t necessarily have to make it a tearjerker.

Now, the things I didn’t like. The high school setting, for one. It’s overused and frankly, I’m tired of it. The high school setting is broing now, and it’s your typical story about boy meets girl, they fall in love, some conflict comes up but everything is all right. The conflict in the book – a slight mystery – didn’t work too well for me (honestly). It wasn’t thrilling or exciting enough and wasn’t necessary at all.

The characters, except for the MC, were pretty cardboard characters. I feel that the MC was well developed and her experiences were interesting to read about, but rest of the characters were poorly written, too unrealistic or uinteresting.

The story arc started off well but I lost interest towards the end. It definitely couldn’t keep me involved in the story, and though I really liked the book in the beginning, I lost interest midway through the book. The writing was mediocre, suited the mood of the book and was extremely, extremely easy to read. You can fly through this book in no time.

My Rating

2.5/5 stars


10 thoughts on “Made You Up – Francesca Zappia (Book Review)

  1. I read this a while ago. I really liked it. There are so many YA books that grind the same old flour. I thought this was different and important as an opening for a discussion about mental illness.


  2. If you want to give another with a character dealing with schizophrenia a go, try Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. He wrote it with his son, who also struggles with mental illness. It’s a National Book Award winner if that’s a measure you place value in.


  3. YES. I completely agree. This was a great and important book, but there was just something…missing from it? Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤


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