Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | Book Review


Published: May 19th 2015


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.

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.

Made You Up_bookcover
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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 448

Format: Hardcover

Hello! Today I have for you a review on Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I absolutely fell in love with this book and the author, it was simply fantastic. The plot was full of unpredictable twists and throughout it all had such a cute romance! Not to mention the mental illness that the story revolved around. This is one of the few times I read a book with an unreliable narrator, and Francesca Zappia absolutely nailed it. I loved Alex, and Miles!! They were both so wonderful. No, actually, all the characters were great, and the writing style was wonderful. ❤ The praise is endless!

Quick Summary

Alex is schizophrenic. She hears things. Hallucinates. Every day she struggles to know what is real and what is made up. She’s determined to prove to her family and doctors that she’ll be able pass high school and get into college, and most of the time, it seems like she’s succeeding. But when you enter Miles into the picture, and a whole bunch of confusion between what’s real and what’s not, things get difficult. Alex was never normal. But is she ready to be?


 “But—but what if this whole place,”—I had to suck in air again–“what if everything is inside my head? East Shoal and Scarlet and this bridge and you–what is you’re not real because nothing is real?”
“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter?” he said. “You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

I really loved the incorporation of schizophrenia in the book. I haven’t read many books dealing with this specific mental illness, but this one was great. What I loved most about the plot was how there were several plot lines alongside eachother, and they all went along together seamlessly. Amidst the romance, there was a mystery, and amidst it all was the mental illness. Also, no insta-love, and there’s no love triangle. And the plot twists? Totally didn’t see those coming. Everything was very well executed!


Now, the plot was great, but what really made this book for me was the characters. I completely loved Alex’s POV, it was so interesting seeing everything from the perspective of an unreliable narrator. (For those of you who are confused; ‘an unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised.’ Courtesy of Wikipedia.) And this didn’t prevent me from connecting with her; instead, I completely loved her character.

“Was there some kind of law about drop-kicking assholes in the face? Probably. They always had laws against things that needed to be done.”

Ha! Yes, I agree, Alex. She’s simply such a sassy and sarcastic person, and while troubled, still so lively and interesting, that I couldn’t help but sympathize, empathize and enjoy her character. She was also so strong; struggling to tell what’s real and what wasn’t, constantly trying to hide it, trying to prove that she’s okay, all the while without completely breaking. She would always get back up.

And that brings us to Miles. He wasn’t easy to love at first, but as he opened up more, I fell for him just as much as Alex did, and I completely rooted for him and Alex. He was so sweet, and so supportive of Alex, making sure she was okay and simply making her happy. Watching him and Alex fall in love was wonderful, it was a slow burn romance that had me smiling like an idiot and shipping them with all my heart. I loved seeing the banter and pranks between him and Alex, and the moments where we see the true boy behind the mask were great. There was so much depth to both him and Alex, and I loved it.

And of course, we can’t forget the side characters! The friends of Miles were so much fun to read, and although there were some cliché characters (popular cheerleader girl, football jock, etc.) they had some twists which made it more unique. I loved the family aspect portrayed in the book, even though the parents weren’t a huge part of the story. Despite the fact I was angry and frustrated with them due to their decisions and mistakes, I knew they truly cared about Alex, and it was great having the parents present in the story. I also loved how much Alex cared for her sister, Charlie, their relationship was so sweet.

“The door creaked open and a tiny body wedged its way inside my room. I opened my arms and Charlie climbed into my lap without hesitation. I buried my face in her hair. She was the only one I let myself cry in front of, because she was the only one who never asked what was wrong, or if I needed anything, or if she could help.
She was just there.”

Writing Style

I loved the writing style in this book! It was very pleasant to read, yet very gripping for a contemporary novel. I loved the bits of humour and wit the author incorporated in the scenes between Alex and Miles, they were always fun to read!

“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.”

The writing seemed very genuine, as if I was hearing Alex talking directly, which was great. Often authors are able to do that, but this one was different to me, somehow. It really struck a chord in me emotionally, and kept me hooked in the story.


This book… was just fantastic. If you haven’t read this book, I am telling you, go read this, NOW. Leaving this review and everything. The characters are so intriguing, and are full of depth. Alex herself is snarky and sarcastic, but also strong, albeit troubled. There was a hooking plot and a wonderful writing style, and this book was such a unique read. I loved the portrayal of schizophrenia and how the author created the charactersI fell in love with them. All in all, another fantastic book I’ve read this year, which I definitely recommend if you’re interested in books about mental illness, romance and even a little bit of mystery. This is a contemporary book that should not be missed! Did you read this book? What did you think of it? Planning on reading it? Let me know below!

This book is amazing, I’m not making it up! Eat it up quickly!

Analee 10

23 thoughts on “Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | Book Review

  1. I picked this book up at my library last week and almost left with it! I was rushing and ended up picking two other books, but after reading your positive review, I might have to check it out! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic review, its motivating me to read this book so badly! I’ve never read a novel starring an unreliable narrator. Its a very intriguing idea. And this story altogether sounds fantastic, showing what its like for someone with a mental illness such as this one, experience growing up among those who do not have a mental illness. (Being as I have a slight interest in psychology, I can’t help but be attracted to this story and your review helped fuel that. And parents that have a solid appearance in a contemporary novel? ROUND OF APPLAUSE! That’s great and is much needed in contemporaries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! This book is great, and perfect for demonstrating how a story is like with an unreliable narrator! It truly is a unique experience, reading this book. It was so interesting seeing Alex have to deal with her mental illness and prove that she can be normal among others. I think if you’re interested in psychology and mental illness, you should definitely give this book a try! And yes, I know right?! For once, the parents are actually present. 😀 I hope you enjoy this book once you get around to reading it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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