Can I just start by saying the hype is 100% accurate.
I started this book expecting to read a bit of it (probably like it, since that seems to be the overreaching consensus about this book) put it down and do other things for a while and generally be able to function like a human being. But no, that is not what has happened. Upon starting this book I became physically, emotional and mentally UNABLE to put it down! It is now currently just past 1 in the morning but I wanted to write my review while I’m still riding the high from this amazing, mind blowing book.
Alex is a beautifully written, unreliable narrator. She was diagnosed with being a paranoid schizophrenia at a young age and suffers from delusions and hallucinations which are so embedded in her everyday life she has to question things as simple as the cook at her work chain smoking. Alex also logically knows that the things she’s paranoid over most certainly aren’t going to happen, but her knowledge means nothing when it comes to combating her paranoia. While reading Alex I couldn’t shake the feeling of how horrible it must be to not be able to trust your own senses to tell you what’s real – to always have doubts that they’re playing tricks on you. There’s a quote in the book that says that schizophrenic people are just “normal people with extra quirks” and I think that perfectly sums up Alex. Despite what Alex goes through with her mental illness she is a strong, super intelligent, and compassionate – she was amazing perspective to read from.
Miles was just as complex as Alex, all the other students are intimidated by him mostly because he is by leaps and bounds 100 million percent smarter than anybody else (which is amazing to read) and he’s known as a bit of a ‘fixer’ around his school – where he’ll fix your problems for payment. At the start of the book I will admit I was really not looking forward reading the romance if the jerk Miles was going to be the love interest but he grows on you as Alex sees him with his friends and he opens up to her. I actually think I liked the gradual incline from boarder line rude banter into friendship and then into more – it made their feelings for each other more real to me. Miles and Alex are both such smart characters that there were times while reading this book I honestly had zero idea what they were talking about, but I found it so funny in their mutual love of being intelligent.
Example of one of their games of twenty questions
“Did you reign after 1500?”
Theo watched the conversation like a tennis match.
“Are you Ahuitzotl?”
“No.” I smiled. This kid knows his history.
And then this continues on. I don’t even know how to pronounce those words let alone have any idea what they’re talking about. But even though I have no idea what they’re talking about I was so entertained by their intelligent banter. And who knows maybe some of it rubbed off.
I love that Zappia didn’t write Alex as the only character in this book who’s suffering from a mental illness, it made the rest of the characters seem just as real with real problems and flaws instead of perfect, light side characters. The principles dealing with a deep seeded connection to the scoreboard, one of the popular girls is keeping some horrifying secrets, even Miles and his family have some of their own problems. Zappia did an amazing job in creating many layers of realistic side characters which made this book more engaging.
The ending threw me through a loop. I did not see that coming! And even though it was so shocking I loved it. Reading the depths of Alex’s schizophrenia was really eye opening.
Overall, I picked up Made You Up and did not put it down until I had finished it. It is fascinating and entrapping with purely amazing characters and storylines. The hype around this book is so real and I am so, so, so, glad I’ve read it. I will be making sure to read anything Francesca Zappia writes from now on.