ARC Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

May 21, 2015 Review 42 ★★★★

ARC Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 448
Release Date: May 19th 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Depression & Mental Illness, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, 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.

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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Contemporary YA is really impressing me this year! It’s so strange to think that a few years ago I avoided the genre and now I can’t get enough. MADE YOU UP is no exception, I thoroughly enjoyed Zappia’s debut novel.

The strongest aspect of the novel, in my opinion, is in the character of Alex. Although we know going in Alex is going to be an unreliable narrator, I do not think I’ve seen the concept done so well, especially in YA. She is super easy to relate to, feel for, and even understand, despite everything.

Alex’s voice is so fresh and fun, making her feel like a friend rather than a character in a book because once you get inside her mind you too begin to not know what’s real either, leading to being just as shocked as she is when she realizes. You get to really experience her struggle and the feeling of hopelessness during certain events.

Combine Alex and the lovable other main character, Miles, and it’s just-

Alex and Miles are great together, and I’m not sure if I have ever seen a character dynamic quite like theirs. It’s seriously awesome to see how their connection develops and grows and how they compliment each other. Speaking of Miles, there are some other good supporting characters as well, though none of them come close to Alex and Miles.

There were some subplots that were a little odd and could have probably have been left out but I can see why they are there and they don’t take away anything major from the main story.

The writing flowed really well, it is simple and easily readable and there are still great quotes! The writing combined with the characters made for great pacing and this never felt like a 450 page book.

Overall a great read mixed with humor, sadness, happiness and feels – definitely recommended.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.2

42 Responses to “ARC Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia”

  1. Kirsty-Marie

    I totally loved this one, too. But YES, Alex and Miles, they were just made for each other, and the way they played on another in the beginning was hilarious. And I loved how she was an unreliable narrator but didn’t really seem like one, it just felt normal, and I mean, it was so clever how some things that were a little out there were real and the things that weren’t, weren’t real.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Bad Bones

    • Alise

      Glad you liked it too! Same! I never thought of it that way but you are spot on, that IS cool is ended up that way.

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Way to go Alise! Good for you for switching up genres and having so much luck with contemporaries lately :) Hopefully your luck rubs off on me at some point and I pick up the habit myself ;) I’ve seen this one around quite a bit lately but yours is the first review I read for it. Thanks to your lovely review, I have it on my radar now and if the contemporary mood ever strikes, I’ll know where to start!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Fandom Mashups #2

    • Alise

      Thank you! It’s nice to get out of fantasy and read some cute and fun books now and then, although I’ll probably always come back to fantasy :P Aha, I hope so too! Sure! I hope you’ll enjoy it if you ever get around to reading it!

    • Alise

      Yeah! I didn’t know what you were referring to at the time but it ended up bothering me as well, it seemed a bit unnecessary.

    • Alise

      Aw :( I hope you find some more that you liked just as much as Simon, I still need to read that one but I am looking forward to it.

  3. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    I agree–this year has been THE year of awesome and diverse books!

    The romance between Alex and Miles was just so genuine and it went through a lot of development before it could even be called a romance, which is exactly what I’m looking for.

    I didn’t feel the length of the book either, which is fantastic. :)

    Lovely review, Alise!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Blogging Tips: On Good Content and Active Readerships

  4. Ju @ Fictional Skylines

    The books this year have hopefully shown publishers that diversity isn’t bad for their market (and that people actually WANT to read unique books lol)

    The premise of this book sounds interesting and you can never have enough books on mental illness tbh. But when they describe this book as “funny” in the blurb, please tell me it’s not gallows’ humor 0_o that’s a really bizarre thing that I couldn’t stand in some similar YA books.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Ju Jabbers: YA Protagonists As The “Backbone of the Family”

  5. Amir @ Not So Literary!

    Maybe I should give contemporary YA another shot, especially if this is a strong year for the genre as you said! I don’t read a lot of YA lately and I tend to shy away from contemporaries but now I think I shouldn’t. I love the cover of this book and after reading the description it felt really right with the cover. I’m glad that the main character is fun and fresh too. I love that feeling when you like the main character so much you know you can actually be friends with her if she’s real! I’m going to check this out, I love developing relationships too! Awesome review Alise! :)
    Amir @ Not So Literary! recently posted…Blogger Re-Introduction: The Girl with the Princely Name

    • Alise

      I used to avoid contemporary YA as well, but there are some truly great releases this year that are more than just the usual boy meets girl. Yay, I’m glad! I reallllly hope you do, and that you like it! Thanks :)

  6. Suzi Q, The Book Dame

    This sounds like a lot of heavy stuff, but it is nice when it is balanced out with a little humor. I enjoy a book where the author takes on some difficult issues in YA. Thank you for reviewing it.
    Suzi Q, The Book Dame recently posted…Kindle Kandy No. 2

    • Alise

      I completely agree, and this one did just that so I was really impressed. Sure, thanks for stopping by!

  7. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    I completely agree with you 100% Alise. This book was such a fascinating and emotional look into what it must be like to live with schizophrenia on a daily basis, and my heart really went out to Alex. Glad you felt the same way. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Court of Thorns & Roses

    • Alise

      It really was, I felt for her so much. It was legitimately freaky when she discovers what hasn’t been real and I can’t imagine what she felt because I was so surprised just reading it. Thank you :3

  8. Olivia

    I need to start reading my review copy of this one and soon! I absolutely ADORE the beautiful cover. And as well as that I am a character driven reader so knowing you could connect to the main character so well makes me know I am going to love it ^.^
    Olivia recently posted…Top 10: Reasons Why I Write!

  9. Romi

    This sounds really interesting! I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators, but this one sounds different, and I’m intrigued that you write you can relate to her as a character. I recently realised contemporary isn’t my thing, but…. well it’s got nice quotes, apparently, so there’s that. It’s a pull for me, absolutely! I’m not quite set on whether I’ll read this or not, Alise, but I’m glad it was surprising and good, for you! xx
    Romi recently posted…Fiction to Film (1)

    • Alise

      I’m usually not a fan either because it’s hard to connect with them but I really liked this. Thanks :D

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