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 is one of my favorite YA contemporary books ever. I read this when it was first released and I loved it. I recently bought the audio version of this, and just finished listening to it. I found that my love for this book was still there, so I thought it was the perfect time to review it!
“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.”
This book follows Alex, a teenage girl with schizophrenia. Her paranoia and schizophrenia makes her question everything and everyone. She takes pictures every time she sees something a little out there so she can look back on it to make sure what she was was actually there. She is unreliable, kind of judgmental, and flawed, but fierce, and I loved her.
Another character we meet is Miles, the King of Pranks. He isn’t like the usual characters you meet in contemporary books, I think. He’s a smartass, offbeat, and extremely driven. He’s got a frosty exterior, but above all he’s lonely and heartbroken.
“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter?” he said. “You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”
What I really appreciate about this story is the fact that there’s no insta-love. In fact, Alex and Miles don’t even like each other when they first meet. The way they progressed from nemesis to friends to eventually more was very natural. Also, Alex isn’t “magically cured” here. Making friends and falling in love doesn’t cure Alex from her schizophrenia.
While this isn’t as fast-paced or action packed as a fantasy novel, this is one of the most exciting contemporary books I’ve ever read. There were twists and reveals that kept you on your toes and moved the story along great.
I love these flawed characters with all my heart, and I’m glad this book still manages to make me smile and cry all these years later.