Friday, May 15, 2015
Me on Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)
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.
Made You Up is quirky, entertaining, exciting, and different. A surprising look at being a teen, at attending high school, when you're not sure what's real and what isn't. When you're not sure if you're insane or if you're the only sane one in the room. When you're not sure if your classmates are real or if your brain made them up.
I think Alex provides an honest view of life that's enhanced by her paranoid schizophrenia, if such a thing is possible. She's the most unreliable of narrators, readers are never sure what's real and what isn't because Alex is never sure, but that makes this book so interesting. It's a bit raw and unfiltered, it's truth alongside impossibility. Alex is a bit bold, unpredictable, intelligent. Cautious, which I think comes from the paranoia. She has a way of seeing through some people, seeing what they're hiding, what they're lying about. It's so easy to believe everything she says, to see everything she does, until you find out it might not be there.
I can't speak as to how accurate the portrayal of Alex's paranoid schizophrenia is, but I hope it's accurate. It's an illness that isn't often seen in YA. Depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, cancer. Rarely schizophrenia. There are moments when the medication Alex takes is described as greying her world, making everything fuzzy, making her sad, but there are also moments when Alex acknowledges that she needs help, that what she sees isn't always real or normal.
I found this book to be so interesting, so compelling, that I was unable to stop reading. I was desperate to know what happened next, to know what was real and what wasn't. I expected everything Alex saw and heard to be real and to not be real. In the end, in terms of what was real and what wasn't, well... who's to say? A definite must-read for those looking for a brand new flawed heroine.
(I received an advance copy of this title from HarperCollins Canada.)