Published by Greenwillow Books on May 19th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.Amazon •
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.
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Violence, Mild Sexual Content
“Believing something existed and then finding out it didn’t was like reaching the top of the stairs and thinking there was one more step.”
Alex is a schizophrenic teen that just wants to pass high school as a normal teenager with friends and a part-time job. She uses her camera to capture what she sees on film and check the picture for anything that might change- telling her reality was effected by her schizophrenia.
Alex isn’t the only unstable teen at her new school, though. Miles is an anti-hero and the love interest of the story. At first is a jerk, but you get to know him and his situation through the story and he kind of grows on you. He’s not good with emotions. Not that he’s a sociopath- he’s just slow to understand emotions. He also kind of has a mafia boss vibe feel to him since he uses his high intelligence to run a high-dollar “revenge” posse. There’s some harmless pranks pulled, but also some that are quite scary and I can see why other students warn Alex to keep away from Miles. The biggest thing about Miles is he does have his own backstory and hardships that both hinder and help his and Alex’s relationship.
I do wish we could have gotten to know more about the community service crew, especially the triplets. They’re all mischievous and fun but very loyal to Miles and eventually Alex.
Alex’s mother is overprotective, which is expected considering the situation but it also put extra stress on Alex. She has a closer relationship with her dad who works as an archeologist and isn’t home as much, but her closest relationship is with her little sister, Charlie who is a musical protege.
The main story line centers around a mystery at the school involving a cheerleader, the principal, and the school’s infamous scoreboard. Alex tries to help solve the mystery, but has a hard time differentiating what is part of her paranoia, what’s real, and what’s her hallucinations. It works out really well because the stories are outrageous enough to be paranoia, but still believable so it keeps you guessing.
The part of the plot that really sets this book apart? Alex can’t always tell her made-up world from reality and since she’s the narrator, neither can the reader. She points out some things that are fake but all of reality is thrown up in the air for this book.
Overall, Made You Up is a great young adult novel with a strong, determined female character and a sweet teenage romance.