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Made You Up

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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.

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.

428 pages, Hardcover

First published May 19, 2015

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About the author

Francesca Zappia

12 books3,773 followers
Writer of MADE YOU UP and ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS. Represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency.

Also wrote The Children of Hypnos serial on Wattpad (https://www.wattpad.com/story/9547883...).

Social Media: @ChessieZappia

You can find links to all my social media on my website, www.francescazappia.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 29 of 4,362 reviews
Profile Image for Clementine.
285 reviews148 followers
August 18, 2015
Oh well, look at that! I created a new shelve just for this book: 0-star.

It disgusts me that an author would use all the symptoms of schizophrenia that seem "glamorous", "sensationalist" or ask for angst with so much as no regard for accuracy. It disgusts me that because of authors like that, people are clapping their hands, thinking this is accurate and sensitive while it is not.

In fact, it's so disgustingly inaccurate that I could use this book any time to give one of my professors or colleague a heart attack.


This is the pop YA version of every movie wrongly depicting schizophrenia out there. This book is one of the reasons I spend so much of my time going to high schools and giving conferences about mental illness and the awareness that should go with it. This book is one of the reasons stigma against mentally ill people persist in society; because authors don't sit on their goddamn ass and fucking research like they are expected to.

So yeah: **Actual rating: 0 star.**

Fuck this book, seriously.

I wish I could sit here and do a coherent review of what went wrong and where with detailed analysis of the plot and characters, but this is not my main issue with this book. Yes, I thought the plot was a patchwork of "angsty" events that weren’t handled with the sensitivity that would normally be required. Yes, I thought the child molesting subplot was just there to give a drive to the novel and it disgusts me but I’m afraid I don’t have enough caracters to explain fully how it shocks me that everyone is giving this raving reviews. Yes, I was personally insulted that a character’s French accent is used as comic relief when Miles spends so much time telling Alex how bullied he was because of his German accent: "Oh, look she can pronounce her "th", let’s spell it out for readers." Yes, the brain trauma bit is inaccurate: if she had been unconscious for three days, she would have severe brain trauma and axonal loss, so neurological problems. But that too was just a subplot, so she walked out of the hospital the next day. And the father beating the shit out of his wife and kid? Another disgusting subplot. Another stone toward happily ever after that is mandatory to all YA contemporary book.

Fuck this book, seriously.

I’m a psychologist in training. I don’t want to talk about plot and characters and the lack of diversity in this novel, I want to talk about schizophrenia.

Top twelve "You know nothing, Jon Snow, about schizophrenia" clues Francesca Zappia style:

1-You use interchangeably delusions and hallucinations. Delusions refer to beliefs. Patients with schizophrenia would then be convinced of something; their own invincibility or that if they do things a certain way they won’t be in danger for example. It’s not part of a hallucination, even less a hallucination per say like it’s depicted in the novel. Hallucinations and delusions are two VERY different things and the fact that the author uses them as synonyms shows the lack of research she has put in her novel.

2-You think the worst thing that could happen with antipsychotics is nausea when you eat. Excuse you, but had you done your job, you would know that secondary effects are in fact nasty when it comes to antipsychotics. Some patients develop extrapyramidal symptoms which is just the fancy medical way to say that their movements will become jerky and Parkinson-like. The secondary effects are less heavy for the pills of the second generation, yes, but if you’re just nauseous, you’re lucky. One more thing: if you’re not taking your pills, you are going through withdrawal symptoms. But we will get to that in the next item.

3-You think it’s healthy to force someone to take their medication while being unsure whether they took it or not previously. Fuck NO! NEVER EVER force someone to take their pills when you’re not sure wether they have taken them or not. (I can assure you that the patient missing her intakes would feel it in her body, but hey the mom in this book looks like she knows so much better.) They could have a toxic reaction to the pills because unlike most drugs antipsychotics must be entirely metabolized before being eliminated from the body. That’s why, we are extremely conservative when it comes to when they take their pills. Not a fucking walk in the park. We don’t shit around with this. The secondary effects list is longer than my arms so if the molecules is accumulated in the organism, it could get worse. So DON’T DO THAT!

4-You think visual hallucinations are fairly common in schizophrenia. Big LOLZ to that. So the big twist? BIG FUCKING BULLSHIT! SENSATIONALISM! That’s what it is: SENSATIONALISM because it has NOTHING to do with schizophrenia. Visual hallucinations are the rarest form of hallucinations in the general population. They occur more often in patients of African descent. Caucasian with visual hallucinations that began at the age of 7? Nein. Non. No. Auditory hallucinations are much more common. And even if let’s say, Alex is the one in one million who is the special snowflake of the bunch and she has the rare occurrence of child manifestation on top of the visual hallucinations rarity: hallucinations affect one sensory pattern at a time. Alex has a hallucination that affects her vision, her sense of smell and her touch all at once... NO. That’s not how it works. Stop. It. (And a psychosis episode that went on for four years?... Huh. No.)

5-You decided that it didn’t matter that female patients’ symptoms appear in their twenties. Female patients present symptoms after male patients. But big LOL to that cuz this YA, yo, and we needed angst, right? So fuck science. Fuck how many female patients take this mental illness harder since they either have children and a husband and/or a career when they are diagnosed. But, hey, why comment on that when you could have a love story with a jerk? Bonus point if she says things like: "I didn’t care about perimeter checks anymore". Cuz this is YA, yo. Inaccurate and love cures it all. FUCK. THAT. Even if Alex had been a minor with symptoms that resembled schizophrenia, I personally know no one that would have made that diagnostic. 1) Because she’s a child and her brain is growing. 2) The schizophrenia diagnostic is something that brands you for life, so we don’t give it lightly. 3) Because her brain hasn’t matured completely, she could in fact be bipolar or have a personality disorder of Cluster A or be on drugs or have brain cancer, or just never develop schizophrenia. But I will get to that in the next item. 4) From what I read from her symptoms a.k.a "hallucinations and that’s it", I would have never given the diagnostic of schizophrenia. It takes more 2 or more symptoms of criteria A: delusions, disorganized speech, hallucinations, grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour and negative symptoms. Suddenly less glamorous, right? And in all diagnostics, it must be showed that the disorder impacts personal functioning. None of that here.

6- You don’t know shit about a schizophrenic brain. Patients with schizophrenia have enlarged ventricles (the 1st and 2nd), that means their brain weighs less than a patient without schizophrenia. There’s up to 25% significantly less grey matter in certain areas in patients with schizophrenia. They miss cortical grey matter in the temporal and frontal regions which are responsible for emotions and memory and language and other cognitive functions. But of course, Alex being the snow flake of schizophrenia that she is, she has no problem with the expression of emotions or memory or language and shows no sign of cognitive impairment. Usually, there is impairment in verbal memory and information processing. There’s also impairment in planning and decision making because it touches the prefrontal cortex. Of course, this doesn’t concern Alex, our dear snow flake. Because an Alex with disorganized speech or behaviour would simply wouldn’t be as glamorous, huh? Oh, we will get to that in the next item.

7-You completely ignore the existence of negative symptoms because you think hallucinations make for a better more angsty show. Negative symptoms appear often and they are: the absence of motivation and the absence of volition, poor speech and affective flattening. Antipsychotics treat only positive symptoms (that’s hallucinations and delusions), so usually all that remains are negative symptoms, also called residual symptoms. But there’s none of that here. Cuz why go with symptoms that occur in general when you can have a snow-flake?

8-You say « Fuck the therapist » whenever you can. We don’t speak to parents the way it is depicted in the novel. We don’t because we have a therapeutic relationship with the child and we don’t want this to become a problem for the mother/father-son/daughter relationship or our own relationship with the patient. I have studied psychology for almost five years now. I think I know my hood, but a full-blown psychologist? They fucking own my hood. So stop. Seriously. We are here to help our patients not go behind their back and have them interned. (Oh and by the way? We don’t intern patients. This isn’t 1900, we don’t do that anymore.) It bugs me that every time the therapist is mentioned it’s through the mother’s mouth: "I’m calling your therapist." Like no. That’s not how it works. We work with the child, not with you, mom. Oh, and when it comes to medication? We evaluate often. If your medications don’t work, we adjust the dose or switch them. The fact that Alex has a therapist who doesn’t consider that her meds aren’t working after A WHOLE YEAR is so fucking inaccurate, I can’t even. But I will get to that in the next item.

9-You don’t know that because adherence to treatment is hard in schizophrenic patients that we actually give them an injection every two weeks instead of giving them pills. Everything I just said. Oh and "maybe she can consider a stronger medication?" that the mom mentioned to Alex without asking the therapist first? That’s not how it works. There’s no such thing as "stronger" meds, just meds that affect other neurotransmitters but this is getting long, so if you want me to tell you the difference between dopamine and serotonin just PM me. (Zappia, please PM me.)

10-You know nothing about mental hospitals. Deinstitutionalization. Look it up.

11- You think after a minimum of 8 years of formation, we can mistake domestic violence for suicidal behaviour. The worse part is: you think we would internalize a suicidal patient for YEARS. Funny, how many subplots don’t work because the author did her research on the corner of a breakfast table between two bites. Hahahaha. Not. Again and urgently: Deinstitutionalization. Look it up. Oh and look up domestic violence too, because that leaves marks that cannot be self-inflicted. Just saying.

12-You think "subtypes" of schizophrenia are still used in diagnostic because paranoia makes for a better more angsty show. The reason we don't use subtypes anymore to describe schizophrenia when giving our diagnostic is because more often than not, subtypes showed up together in patients. We were told "use the principal one", but it was VERY, VERY rarely that easy, cut on the line. Mixed-subtypes were the norms so since May 2013, we don't use them anymore. DSM-V, look it up.

Now excuse me when I go take another shower.

P.S.: If you want sources, PM me. (Zappia, please PM me.)
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 10, 2015
“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.”

I stand by my earlier claim - YA contemporary is where it's at this year. I thought this book was excellent. Compelling, addictive, really weird and excellent. It was such an unusual novel; I can personally say I've never read anything quite like it and it's a great book for discussion. Such an unreliable narrator, constantly blurring the lines between reality and hallucination.

Alex suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia. Her world is full of colours, objects, people and noises that may or may not really be there. She cannot trust her own senses, so she takes pictures of the world around her, knowing that any hallucinations will eventually fade and the reality will be left behind in the image. And I just loved the way the story unfolded.

See, years ago, Alex was first diagnosed when she recounted an incident that no one else seemed to think happened that way. Despite being haunted by this strange false memory, she always told herself that it was part of her mental illness and she had to accept that her memory was lying. Only... then she meets Miles and she begins to wonder if everything about that day was in her head, or if maybe there's something more to the story.

It's fascinating. You don't know what's real and what isn't. The exploration of the line between reality and imagination kept me turning pages at a crazy pace to find out the truth. And it's such a charming little read with a cast of diverse and interesting characters. The dialogue is engaging and witty, without feeling strained like John Green's sometimes does.

I think I liked Alex and Miles because they're both kind of unlikable. Hehe. Alex is moody and antisocial; Miles is a total pain in the ass. But the weird relationship between them made me like them and made me care about them both. The story predictably takes the romantic route, but it happens very gradually and feels like a natural progression. Not the slightest whiff of insta-anything.

Very enjoyable and very unique (at least to me). Highly recommended to all fans of YA contemporary.

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510 reviews2,411 followers
February 10, 2017
6 Things That You Will Love About Made You Up + A Note to Francesca Zappia

1.) The absolutely charming heroine, Alex . We have another unreliable narrator here, which I absolutely loved. But being unreliable isn't a reason not to connect with her. In fact, it was so incredibly easy for me to love her. Alex was sassy and sarcastic, but also troubled and with a lot of depth. To say that she had a strong personality would be an understatement.

2.) All of the feelings . This book was so emotionally engaging. I swooned (because hello, adorable romance), cried (yep. LEGIT TEARS), laughed (Alex's snark is just hilarious), and felt all the feels. It was easy to sympathize and empathize with Alex.

3.) The schizophrenia . I don't have schizophrenia or know anyone who suffers from it, but I have read a handful of books with main characters who have this mental illness. Made You Up was a lot different and was a breath of fresh air. I also loved how Alex seemed to already come to terms with her disease, and also how she still pushed through and made mature decisions about it in the end.

4.) The super adorable and asdfghjkl romance . Miles is not the kind of guy you fall for instantly. At first he was closed off to the world, but as he opens up to Alex, you start to fall for him just as Alex was. It took time to progress (slow-burn romances are my favorites, as you know), and once it was there I was shipping these two so hard it hurt.

5.) The supportive and loving family . Alex could always count on her little sister Charlie for everything, and I loved them together. I also really want to say something here but no spoilers! Alex's parents weren't a prominent part of the story, but when they were there, you could easily see how much they loved their daughter and how much they didn't want to hurt her.

6.) The crazy twists and the ending . You'd expect that being a contemporary novel, you'll be able to see things coming from a mile away. WRONG. Made You Up had some intense twists that made me go HOLY SHIT! and want to curl up into a ball forever. Also the ending was unexpected and not your typical HEA, but it really worked. I thought it was an excellent way to end the book.

Also, a quick note to Francesca Zappia: If you end up writing a mini epilogue to Made You Up, I will love you forever. And even if you don't, I'd pretty much read anything you'd write at this point. This book ended fantastically, but I want more! No pressure.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
March 27, 2019
this is not a horror story, but it scared the crap out of me. it had me second guessing everything and gave me major trust issues by the end. but i think the unpredictable, and somewhat alarming, nature of this story is quite indicative of how i imagine mental illness can be.

i appreciate how mental illness has garnered more frequent representation and i think the trend needs to continue, if not increase. however, its such a sensitive topic, that if its not handled appropriately or accurately, it can be quite damaging. i did have some minor issues regarding how treating mental illness is portrayed, as i could see it being a bit problematic for those who do suffer from it. but overall, i thought it was managed fairly well.

i also really liked the writing style - its quite strong for being a debut, so that was a lovely surprise. i think there are great things to come from this author and i cant wait to keep a look out for it!

4 stars
Profile Image for emma.
1,872 reviews54.8k followers
June 18, 2017
Ugh. I wanted to like this. Really, I did. But it just...wasn’t in the cards. Or should I say...foretold by the Magic 8-Ball. (That’s a halfhearted reference to this book. Check.)


God, I’m literally intimidated by the thought of trying to review this. It seems so haaaard to put my thoughts into words. I’ll try. Kind of.

Let’s start with the good stuff, though. This book focuses on Alex, a high school senior with paranoid schizophrenia. I was hype to read about schizophrenia. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in YA, and I used to be obsessed with it. (See, schizophrenia doesn’t start presenting itself in most people until the late teenage years, so I used to have a gripping fear that I would have it. But that’s a story for another day. Or never.)

Anyway. I don’t have schizophrenia (or I don’t know I do - shoutout to past me), so I can’t really speak to whether this book is an accurate display of the mental illness. But, to me, an outsider, it felt real. The most popular quote from this book is “Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.”, and I definitely felt like I was questioning reality right alongside Alex. Her hallucinations are often presented as reality, so the reader has to sort out what’s real and what isn’t. If nothing else, it’s an interesting storytelling tactic, and it has some big payoffs.

The only other upside of this book is that there are a few REALLY fun plot twists, and I didn’t see them coming AT ALL. I gasped aloud at one. It’s a ride.

But...everything else about this book filled me with hatred. It was fairly unbearable. We’ll get into it. (I’m appropriating that phrase from straight shooter and podcaster extraordinaire Jon Lovett.)

Whoa, wait, hang on. I just glanced at the synopsis, and this book claims it will “appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.” What in tarnation? Wes ANDERSON? The nerve. What the f*ck this book has to do with that filmmaking genius I may never know. Anyway.

This book is just littered with stupid mistakes and irritating inconsistencies. I didn’t think I was going to review this, so I didn’t write that many down, but I’ll try to dredge some up from my tragic, limited and upsetting memories of this book.

Alex always says her town is small, but it’s made up of like a bajillion “subdivisions” and each “subdivision” is made up of several “neighborhoods.” Also, Alex gives a lot of inconsistent information about finances: her family is “dirt poor,” but they could easily drop $70 for a new school uniform, it’s just that her mom wants to guilt trip her instead. Add to that that her mom is chomping at the bit to ship her off to a mental hospital and we get a whole bunch of confusing info. That shit’s expensive, man. Like, really, really expensive.

On top of that, this book is BONKERS UNREALISTIC. Everything about it. I just wanted to shriek while I was reading it. None of the characters feel real. There’s a psychopathic, cheerleading blonde (clichéd AND unrealistic); a principal who went insane because...he got electrocuted?; a conspiracy in a high school administration; a teenager who “runs jobs” like putting fleas in a kid’s bed and IcyHot in his underwear - and GETS PAID HANDSOMELY BY FELLOW TEENAGERS; a community-service club for troublemakers; an archaeologist father who spends weeks and months in Africa only to make no money...there’s definitely more but I want to repress the memory of this book again.

Alex always complains about how she neverrrr had the chance to have friends - even though she, like, just spent a year attending another school - and suddenly friends just SPRING UP at her new school. Literally spring up. I was like, “Ah, several acquaintances, to whom Alex may perhaps wave in the halls, but certainly not people she could call friends, by any means.” And then suddenly, she’s all, WOWWWW, MY FRIENDSSSS! AMAZING TO HAVE FRIENDS!

And oh, yeah. The love interest in this book? SUCKS. F*ckin’ Miles. He’s the aforementioned job-running teen, and he’s the worsttttt. Apparently, he has problems with empathy, and that’s why he’s okay with doing stuff like LIFE-RUINING PRANKS. It makes no sense, it really doesn’t. There are sociopaths who fit in better than he does. THOUSANDS OF THEM.

But the worst part of this book? I’ve read World War II historical fiction with fewer mentions of Nazis. Everyone calls Miles a Nazi, because he’s Aryan, mean as sh*t, and speaks with a German accent sometimes. After hundreds of pages of this utter bullsh*t, he - one f*cking time - screams that genocide isn’t funny. Already too little, too late, no? Add to that some Nazi sympathizing (he wears a Nazi bomber jacket, and tells Alex that not everyone wanted to be a Nazi) and the fact that he DRESSES LIKE A NAZI FOR PETTY CASH, and I’m f*cking done. It’s not funny. You’re not allowed to try to get me to sympathize with your piece of sh*t asshole of a character by downplaying the systemic murder of millions of people. Seventy years isn’t enough for me to think that’s okay. A THOUSAND years won’t make that okay. And that’s why this shit isn’t getting any bonus points for mental illness rep. Normalization of the Third f*ckin’ Reich deducts as many points as possible.

On top of that, this book is just weirdly written and f*cking annoying, IMO. I was so sick of it by the end I could puke.

Bottom line: There aren’t enough O’s in the world to satisfy my NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
February 24, 2016

"Everyone's interesting if you stare at them long enough."

I’m peeling off a hangnail from my pinkie as punishment for not having read this sooner. I didn’t even get to vote this for GR 2015 Best YA fiction because I’ve been putting this on hold assuming this was going to be another sad and heavy read about a sick or dying kid because I may have already reached my tolerance limit for these kinds of reads this year. I was wrong about this one. I was so wrong! Now, it’s too late and I’ve got nothing left to blame except...ooh wait...

Anyway, onto the review. I have just recently read a book about the same subject matter: schizophrenia and it was taken rather too heavily. This one was a surprising and refreshing light read although it didn’t take the subject lightly at all.

In this inventive debut novel, we get to see the meticulous, fascinating and colorful world of someone like Alex, a teenage girl who is schizophrenic. What makes this an invigorating read is that Alex fully knows about her condition and is completely aware that the things she sees may or may not be real. She is such an adorable, admirable character because she doesn’t let her illness stunt or define her. In this story, the reader gets to understand how someone like Alex socially cope and blend in despite her state of mind.

I admire how the story narrated by Alex herself read almost like a fantasy story because of her hilariously creative imagination conjuring out of this world mental pictures like black-clad and armed men on the school’s rooftops or a python slithering stealthily along the school’s ceilings (you’ll never know which is real or not so prepare to be surprised!) The story is made even more ingenious because of this other character, Miles, a boy just as special and as unique, possibly the smartest teenager under the sun but who can’t seem to process emotions properly.

Put a nerdy schizophrenic girl and an even nerdier boy with mild autism together, add these other sympathetic characters, unexpected plot twist (I was sure one of these important characters weren’t real but OMG! I hadn’t expected it to be that character), smart and endearing writing, the most unusual romance and mystery with a very satisfying conclusion and you get one of the most incredibly original and adorable YA fiction even written.

I admit some of the events were a bit far-fetched and some characters and stereotypes a bit overdone but somehow, this charming novel found a special spot in my heart. That spot where unicorns and rainbows and chocolates reside. Except for two or three times when my heart broke, I was grinning like an idiot half of the time. Other times I was giggling and snorting in laughter and the other remaining times, I just wanted to hug the book close to my heart which obviously can be summarized in one sentence. I adore this book! <3

For a really wonderful review on the book, you could check out Anna's.^^
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,883 followers
February 15, 2021

"My throat tightened and my heart swelled painfully in my chest. Please don't let this be a delusion. Please let this be real."

As long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by schizophrenia, and mental illness, for that matter. Although I've been unable to explain why for years, more that I think about it, more it seems to me that what attracts me so much is the fact that people apprehend and see the world differently, through the lens of their own perception. Perception that they can never really accept as the reality, because in the end, they know appearances can be fundamentally deceptive.

Perception. What an untrustworthy trick. Indeed in my opinion - all healthy as we are - we don't challenge enough what we see, despite the fact that many experiences show us that we can't trust our eyes more often than not, because our mind overanalyzes everything and shapes what we see to agree with our expectations.

Anyway, Alex isn't given any choice in the matter : she can't trust herself. She can't trust her own deceitful perception. She can't trust anything, and as followers of the wanderings of her mind, neither can we. Talk about an amazing unreliable narrator.

How to live when you can never trust anything you see? How to trust others? How to trust ourselves? Can we, really?

"Was everything made up? Was this whole world inside my head? If I ever woke up from it, would I be inside a padded room somewhere, drooling all over myself?
Would I even be myself?"

Made you Up belongs to my favorite kind of contemporary : those which make you think and question everything, those which purposefully lose you, those which rely more on a psychological level than are action-packed. So, no, don't expect never-ending action. Don't expect astounding settings. But be ready to be captivated from the start, to be hooked. To care. Be ready to eat these words up. As for me, I can't hide that I was delighted by the writing style, because if the sentences can appear to be pretty simple, I often felt suffocated by the feelings oozing from the pages - Despair. Hope. Happiness. Heartbreak. Doubt. So much doubt.

I trusted nothing. I loved everything.

Truth be told, the characters made me so damn happy, I can't even. Why? Because they're two flawed and unlikeable teenagers, who both have to deal with the wanderings of their minds, their extreme nerdness, and getting to know them was INCREDIBLE.

The story is told in the refreshing and unique voice of Alex, who's suffered from schizophrenia and paranoia since her early childhood. What she perceives can be tricky, because she always has to keep the possibility of hallucinations in the corner of her head. Therefore she takes pictures and uses them for a reality check. A lot of them. Not to mention the Nazis, the communists, in a word, all these enemies she can't help but see everywhere. What's amazing is the fact that sometimes you forget that Alex suffers from schizophrenia and paranoia and suddenly she thinks stuff like "I'm not going to eat this you know. Because poison" and yes, it takes you by surprise, making you both laugh and cringe (of course that's possible, duh). Although she's rather bitchy more often than not, I loved her because 1)I am a sucker for both unreliable and flawed characters and 2)She always tries to see the better in everyone. Indeed - and that's so rare! - she questions people's reasons to act the way they do, and where she could have been judgmental, she prefers to give others the benefit of the doubt.

As for Miles, where do I even start? Well, he's a smart-ass asshole. But not the controlling kind. Nope. Sure he's very driven and his inability to always understand people's emotions makes him appear quite the jerk sometimes, but in the end, what do we have? A complex, lonely, heartbreaking boy who needs to protect those he loves, and who rules over a whole hidden world in his head. Hidden world that I was eager to unravel, and - Oh, hell. He maddened me, broke my heart and made me choke on butterflies.

"Dear Asshole : Thank you for keeping your word and believing me. It was more than I expected. Also, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced by my gluing your locker shut at the beginning of this year. However, I am not sorry that I did it, because it was a lot of fun.
Love, Alex."

Moreover, let me tell you that I absolutely adored their interactions and the pranks they set up to each other. Oh, yes, didn't I say that? Miles is the King of pranks. For real. Trust me. Anyway, listening to them was often hilarious and always interesting. I know, I'm such a fangirl right now.

Finally - drum roll pleaaaaaase - there is no insta-love at all, and no love triangle, but two characters who fall for each other gradually, in a believable way.

I'm adding here an excerpt from an interview the author gave and which sums up pretty well what I LOVED in their relationship :

"The last point, about fixing broken people: I have seen a lot--a lot--of YA lit in which one or more characters, usually love interests, believe themselves to be broken or are seen as broken and in need of fixing. That was another thing I was careful with when it came to both Alex and Miles. They don't see themselves as broken, and they don't see each other as broken. There are parts of Alex's world that she genuinely likes, and Miles is well-adapted to working around his emotional and social problems. They don't fix each other, they just understand each other and make things a little easier to bear, like any struggle gets easier when you have someone to share it with".


To sum up, here's one of the best contemporary YA I read this year, if not the best. Just give these flawed characters a chance, okay?

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Profile Image for Warda.
1,210 reviews19.7k followers
August 24, 2018
I finished a book after my week long slump that felt like I’d been in for eternity.
THANK YOU, Katherine for messaging me for a buddy read, otherwise I would’ve been stuck in this rut forever. 😆😘

(I’m going to celebrate by buying a book or six.)

‘Made You Up’ tells the story of a girl who suffers from schizophrenia. Our main character has difficulty differentiating between reality and her hallucinations and in order to cope with that, she takes pictures.

I loved the portrayal of mental health in this. It wasn’t the sole focus of the plot; it was more than that (i.e. family, friendship and acceptance) and Alex’s character was pretty awesome.

I adored the love interest, Miles. He’s not your typical, will-make-you-swoon-with-six-packs kinda guy. He has his own shit to deal with and I loved how both Alex and Miles came round full circle at the end. They were there for each other and it was beautiful to read.

The story didn’t blow me away. I found the plot slightly boring and what kept me reading was the mystery surrounding the characters. Miles was the most complex, but I didn’t find myself getting attached to any of them. I wanted more of an emotional punch to it all. It’s still worth a read, in my opinion. It just wasn’t the most hard-hitting of stories.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
May 8, 2021
4 1/2 stars. You know how I'm going to review this? Post my old thinkpiece on mental illness tropes in YA, and then proceed to go into how this book smacks it all down. Let's just call this a 5000 word essay on Why Francesca Zappia Is the Only YA Author I Trust With Mental Illness Narrative Framing Anymore. Seriously.


You know what trope I hate? The curing trope. You know what trope I'm tired of? The everything's-fine-until-I-go-off-meds trope. This book smacks both of those tropes down into the abyss. Alex is not cured. She starts the book with schizophrenia, and she ends the book with schizophrenia.

You know what else I loved? The acknowledgement of Alex's agency. So many books about mentally ill people take away all their agency, turning the book into a parents-are-always-right extravaganza that feels disrespectful to mentally ill people themselves, especially those who are victims of parental abuse. I love that this book treats Alex like a fucking human being. I love that she's a reasonable person who happens to sometimes be unsure of what's real and not real.

You know what makes me want to cry? The fact that y'all cannot get the balance right between mental-illness-makes-you-quirky and mental-illness-makes-you-evil. And yet Zappia gets it so right. Alex and Miles are so human. They're not some goddamn props for a thinly veiled romance that's supposed to be more emo because mental illness!! real problems!! but really just feels disrespectful and gross. But they're also not these especially evil people. They feel like human fucking beings and I love that. Seriously, I love it and I have so much respect for Zappia for handling this well.

Obviously, I can't speak for the representation of schizophrenia being accurate. But I can definitely guarantee that it's empathetic. I would feel comfortable recommending this to any mentally ill person, and that's more than I can say for a lot of the books in this genre.


Aside from mental health handling, this is really just a fantastic book. First of all, the character work is fabulous. Alex is one of the greatest characters ever. She's so strong. I love that she's so aware of herself and constantly questioning what's real and what's fake. I love that she's not your typical written-by-gross-tropes mentally ill protagonist. I just love her.

And I loved the romance!! Miles, too, is a fantastically developed character. He's so weirdly dorky and offbeat. But he's also not the fake-quirky love interest you see in mental illness books sometimes.

Zappia's plotting is also quite well-handled. Made You Up is fairly exciting and twisty for a typical contemporary book. I really didn't expect many of the twists - a few didn't even pop into my mind as possibilities.


I did have mixed feelings on the ending. I don't think it's terrible - I just feel it's not built up well. Spoilers ahead, by the way. Alex checks herself into a mental health facility. Now this isn't a bad ending - I actually think it's a good thing for her future. I just don't think this is built up well. Because the book portraying the mental health center as bad the whole way through - Alex's mindset - and then switching at the last minute - the real truth - Alex's final decision feels quite false and almost like a bad thing. I also think we don't get the sense that Alex is getting worse until the very end. She has some quote about “not being able to tell anymore” but she hasn't been able to tell in years. It felt a bit half-assed.

I like that the narrative emphasizes how this was her choice, something she did to combat her own issues. Yay for emphasis on the agency of mentally ill people!! What I didn't like was the implication of “her mom was right all along.” Yes, her mom was right about her mental illness. Her mom was not right about forcing her into an psychiatric hospital. Whether that was a good decision or not, it felt to me that her mother was trying to control her, not help her get better.

Part of this is coming from my heavy dislike for Alex's mom; hence my dissatisfaction with how ending treats her character. Alex's mom is a trash person, and the book knows this. I love that the book knows this. Unfortunately, I don't think the book was willing to stick with it. I think Zappia didn't want to ruffle feathers, so she decided to go with “she had Alex's best intentions at heart.” Here's the thing: I don't think she did. And even if she did, I don't think it justifies her actions. I think she's an abusive parent looking for control. and I really wish Alex had gotten to tell her off more at the end as well.

But I honestly love this book with so much of my heart that I really want to just give it a five. It's just too good.

This was a BR with Romie, and again, I am SO SORRY for reading these last 170 pages without you. It was so great.

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757 reviews2,349 followers
March 27, 2017
oh hi there, it is I, hater of the popular books loved by millions of people.

◇the beginning was actually really good
◇then Miles came
◇i hate Miles
◇a lot
◇i also hate contemporaries
◇but this one was "really good"
◇but it wasn't
◇it seemed like every other YA Contemporary, except the MC in this book had schizophrenia (how do you even pronounce that)
◇i actually liked alex and i enjoyed reading about her character and learned about her condition, but
◇and the romance between miles and alex?
◇yup, you guessed it.

so overall, i hated this garbage goodbye
Profile Image for Tweebs♥️ .
184 reviews836 followers
February 22, 2017
“Everyone's interesting if you stare at them long enough.”


Well, I’ll be damned. If I stare at this book any longer, I think I will throw it across the Atlantic Ocean for making me into this…...emotional hot mess. Speaking, of hot mess, I’m pretty sure this review will be one so, buckle up kids.


This book was quite a surprise. I DID NOT expect to have my bum bum blown away by the awesomeness. I dived into this book thinking it was going to be cute and cliche. Like those typical reads where you think you already know everything that's going to happen.

I assure you, THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU GET FROM THIS BOOK…...AT ALL. Okay, I lied. Maybe, cute. Yes, you’ll definitely get some cute. The thing you'll mostly find in here is pain, suffering, and a lot of questioning oneself.

“I didn't have the luxury of taking reality for granted. And I wouldn't say I hated people who did, because that's just about everyone. I didn't hate them. They didn't live in my world.

But that never stopped me from wishing I lived in theirs.”

Don't worry, it's not entirely based to make you cry but it'll make you laugh as well ;)

I’m just so happy that I gave this book a chance because I’d be missing out. Plus, you’d be missing out if I missed out because who else is going to convince you guys to read this?????? Just who?????

I adored this book for many things. One of them being the portrayal of mental illness. I've never read a book with the main character suffering from schizophrenia. It was really refreshing. I loved how the author didn't feel the need to revolve the plot entirely on the subject of schizophrenia. It was the focus but it wasn't THE focus. Get it??????

Alex, the main character had difficulties differentiating between reality and imagination. She would take pictures on her camera in hopes that it wasn't a hallucination. She questions her entire life majority of the time and YES IT AFFECTED ME. I legit questioned my life along with her.

“I am real. This”–he put his other hand over the first-“is real. You see me interacting with other people all day long, don’t you? I talk to people; I affect things in the world. I cause things to happen. I am real.”
“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 if 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?”

The thing I loved about the author is that she approached the subject of schizophrenia in a sort of humorous way. Alex, was full of sass, funny, quirky and yes WEIRD but it made me cherish her character even more. She wasn't one of those typical bland type of characters which have no flavor in their personalities. Or basically, the author forgets the fact that maybe people with mental illness CAN have a personality. Francesca Zappia added some seasoning to spice up Alex's personality and DAMN WAS IT A PERSONALITY!!

For real, the author seriously added a lot of seasoning to Alex's personality like :

“Dear Asshole: Thank you for keeping your word and believing me. It was more than I expected. Also, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced by my gluing your locker shut at the beginning of this year. However, I am not sorry that I did it, because it was a lot of fun. Love, Alex.”


“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.”

Miles, is not one of those typical love interests where they come in and save the day. NOPEEEEEEE. You can scratch that off your list. He is just as sassy as she is. No seriously like omfg. At first, you get the sense of "Wtf is wrong with him??" then he obviously grows on you as you progress through the story. Damn, did he grow on ME. I just love him. End of story. No words. On the other hand, the romance was just....AWWWWWW. That's all I have to say. Just AWWWWWWWWW.

Wow, the plot, the characters, and the romance were spot on. It was written very well and it's easy to follow. BASICALLY, this is a must read for anyone who doesn't know anything about schizophrenia and anyone with schizophrenia !! You'll love it. I can bet money on that ;)

OHHHHH I can't forget to mention the very thing that CAUGHT my attention about this book.

*drum roll*

This COVER.. Boyyyyyyy, I was simply mesmerized by the beauty. I lowkey picked this book up because of THAT COVER. It’s utterly BOOTIFUL.


I just want to state the fact that y'all are about to have the biggest mind fuck towards the end. Trust me, it's left better unsaid. You'll definitely come out of it like:

Profile Image for April.
146 reviews259 followers
January 9, 2017
Not one for contemporaries but this one definitely made the exception. So beautifully written.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,923 reviews33.1k followers
September 7, 2018
4 stars!!!

 photo IMG_1933_zpsnmgayn9u.png

Made You Up is a unique and riveting tale of a teenage girl named Alex. Alex is a teenager who is living with mental illness. She has schizophrenia and has trouble knowing what is real and what isn’t sometimes. I cannot imagine being in Alex’s shoes. The story was fascinating but equally terrifying knowing that people are dealing with this very serious disorder.

I loved Alex’s character. I thought she was fierce and honestly was trying to live her very best life, as difficult as it could be. She was a good person. And then there was Miles. I loved the little enemies to friends relationship they had. I loved that Miles accepted her for who she was. His life was difficult in a different way, and even though at first I wasn’t sure about him, I adored him by the end of the book. I shipped these two so hard, and even though a relationship for Alex seemed impossible at times, I hoped they could be together.

This is one of those books that really, truly made me think and feel. As a nurse, I’ve dealt with a lot of people with mental health issues, but none as serious as this at such a young age. I think the author handled the topic very well, and the book was interesting, informative, and entertaining. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. I enjoyed this one a lot.
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,527 followers
May 30, 2015
4 Stars!!

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” – Albert Einstein


For some reason I’m always reluctant to start a YA novel and I’m always reluctant to start a book with this subject matter – mental illness. And no, not because I don’t enjoy them. In fact, I’ve always been fascinated by books about mental health. To be honest “Made You Up” was very different from what I expected. It’s a compelling, moving, refreshing story about a girl who lives in her own world, a world between reality and hallucination. It’s a story that deals not only with mental illness, but family drama as well.

“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.

I mean like how you can tell the difference between a dream and real life. When you’re in the dream you may not know it, but as soon as you wake up, you know that your dream was a dream and whatever happened in it, good or bad, wasn’t real.”

When she was seven years old, Alex, helped by a boy, freed all the lobsters in a supermarket. The boy, a beautiful boy, with blue eyes who smelled like fish agreed to be her friend. But suddenly he disappeared. Was the boy real? Nobody saw him, so maybe her mind made him up.

Alex was diagnosed with schizophrenia at thirteen and with paranoia a year later. Her medication helped her sometimes and she knew that when the world was not as colorful and interesting as it normally was. Years later, Alex is starting her senior year of high school. She still struggles with this mental illness who affects her daily life. She performs a perimeter check wherever she goes, she searches for poison in the food her mother wants her to eat, she’s terrified by Nazis, she’s convinced the communists are coming for her and she takes photographs of everything around her to help her distinguish between reality and her hallucinations. Yes, Alex is really messed up.

She wants to be 'normal'. She wants to try to be 'normal'. She wants to prove that she can be 'normal' even if every day everything can get confusing. She wants to go to college, to have friends and maybe to have a boyfriend, she wants to have a life. She wants to live, not only exist. She works at Finnegan’s Restaurant and all she wants is to fit at her new high school. She has fears like everyone else, the biggest – someone to discover about her illness. At her new high school she makes friends, she meets Miles, a boy with blue eyes who might be the boy who helped her free the lobsters many years ago, she discovers what means to be truly accepted.

The story is told entirely from Alex’s perspective, so you will question everything since she’s an unreliable character. What is real and what is just a hallucination? I must admit this fact was a little frustrating at times, yet fascinating.

The main characters is this book are endearing, unique and very vivid. And most important they will make you feel. Alex was a complex, endearing character from the start. She has flaws and obviously insecurities, she felt 100% real and she’s even relatable. Yes, I related with her. No, not because I suffer from schizophrenia, but because like Alex I want to be accepted. Every one of us wants that, right? She’s smart and witty and brave as well. Her determination and courage are absolutely admirable. Mrs. Zappia did a great job portraying her character who has many layers. We get to see her at school and at home, with her parents, with her sister, with her friends, with her enemies and with Miles. I loved the fact she’s full of hope and the fact that she actually knows that she’s different. She was very mature most of the time and I loved how responsible she was. There were moments when my heart broke for her and when I just wanted to give her a hug.

Miles, like Alex is a unique character as well. He also has his own flaws. He’s very smart. Actually he’s a genius. He’s very defensive, arrogant, a real smart-ass and he can really be an a**hole. Even with Alex. He can be cruel and everyone is terrified of him for a certain reason. He also does odd jobs for money. Miles is a relatable character as well and he’s well developed. As the story progressed you will get to know him better, to sympathize with him and ultimately fall for him. Personally I did. Miles’s story was heartbreaking. Like Alex, he’s not ‘normal’. He has some emotional problems. He wants to seem tough, but actually he’s just as lost as Alex. He’s lonely, but Alex will show him that he’s not alone. While at first he’s a prick, later he’s portrayed as a sweet, attentive and thoughtful boy who truly cares for Alex, who wants to help her in any way he can, who understands and supports her like no other. Needless to say I REALLY liked Miles.

From the moment I read the prologue I knew it will be a good read. I love it! It was captivating, powerful and very important for what will come next.

The romance wasn’t the main focus of the story. And I liked it! However, their romance was adorable and unique. They are perfect for each other in a strange kind of way and I loved the honesty between them and the fact they give each other what they really need – ACCEPTANCE.

Alex’s relationship with her parents felt real. I didn’t agree with their decisions all the time and some of their attitudes toward some aspects frustrated me like hell. However, I knew they love Alex and want what’s best for her. I also felt for them. It must be terrifying to and to have another one who suffers from schizophrenia, to know you can’t do anything about it, to see him struggle everyday with such a cruel reality.

The secondary characters were interesting and most of them endearing as well. I liked how all of them interacted with each other, but what I loved the most is Alex and Miles's interactions. There’s no insta-love here. They start from some sort of enemies, they slowly become friends and eventually something more. They felt good together. I really felt they complete each other and I loved all their moments together.

This novel has it all. It has some sweet moments, some funny moments and also gut wrenching moments. It also has some mystery. Personally I didn’t care about this aspect of the story. I don’t know why exactly, but well...I didn’t. Anyway, even this aspect is done well. The author did a wonderful job portraying a character who suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia ans she did it in a caring, respectful way.

IMO, the story dragged a little in the first half. I wasn’t bored, but I wanted something to happen...something more exiting I guess. Anyway, in the end I was happy with what I’ve got.

All in all, “Made You Up” was a fascinating, powerful read with unique characters, interesting storyline and engaging writing. This was my first read by this author (since this was a debut, btw a great debut, one of the best I’ve read) and I’m sure it won’t be my last.

"My throat tightened and my heart swelled painfully in my chest.
Please don't let this be a delusion. Please let this be real."

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,747 reviews1,306 followers
May 26, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“My first-ever friend was a hallucination: a sparkling entry on my new resume as a crazy person.”

This was a quirky story about a girl suffering from schizophrenia, and her doubts over what was real, and what was a hallucination.

Alex was a sweet girl, and I felt quite sorry for her and what she was going through; being diagnosed with schizophrenia at such a young age, being unable to know what was really happening and what she was hallucinating, and the bullying she went through from other kids was just a lot for her to deal with. I found Miles to be a bit of an odd character, but he seemed to be good for Alex, which was important as she needed someone to support her.

“I didn’t hate them. They didn’t live in my world.
But that never stopped me from wishing I lived in theirs.”

The storyline in this was about Alex starting at a new school, meeting Miles, and getting up to some mischief, and we also got a few twists thrown in when we would discover that something was in fact a hallucination rather than really happening to poor Alex!
We did get a bit of romance, but it didn’t really appeal to me all that much.

“That is Miles Richter,” I said to Lil. “And he is not imaginary, thank you very much.”

The ending to this was pretty good, but my favourite part of the story was definitely the twists we got thrown at the end!
7 out of 10
Profile Image for Paula M.
553 reviews638 followers
April 1, 2022

"Are you real?"

Right after reading this book, my feelings were all over the place and if you don't know, when a book does that to you it only means one thing: the book is all kinds of amazing. Made You Up is such a powerful and poignant novel. It was engrossing to the point that the book is gripped inside your heart and the desire to let go... is nonexistent.

I love how unreliable our main character is. I'm the kind of reader who always puts herself in the main character's shoes so that I can truly experience the whole novel and I would be lying if I say that doing that is such a challenge when you're reading MADE YOU UP. Is it real? Or is it not? Fear is gnawing inside of me throughout the novel because there's a possibility that a certain character or a certain event that happened may not be real. And I can't have that because every character in this story is attached to me from the moment Francesca introduced them to me. They are real. At least to me.

Don't you just love books that challenge you? That makes you think? That makes you understand another human being that you have a different opinion about before? Don't you just love books that make you understand? There may be a lot of books with schizophrenic as the main character but only a few can make you sympathize or make you fully feel how that main character feels. Francesca just did all that and I am blown away.

I fell for a certain boy, and I don't know how to move on from him. Miles. How do I explain Miles to people? Miles is 70% of the reasons why I adore Francesca. There, I said it. Alex is phenomenal as a heroine and I admired Jetta and the crew, even Celia was dear to me. But Miles, Miles is golden. Not just because he makes me swoon or that he's hated by everyone or that he has that accent that everybody is making fun of... it’s because Miles is layered. He's the kind of guy you WANT to get to know slowly and deeply. It’s not because of his baggage or his jerky exterior but because he is Miles. And that's enough reason.

Made You Up is, without a doubt, one of the best books I've read this year. It's gripping. It's emotional. It's real. With brilliant writing plus a thought-provoking plot and terrific characters, Francesca just made a recipe for a successful novel that is perfect for every person who can read.
Profile Image for ⊱ Poppy ⊰.
340 reviews296 followers
July 8, 2017
“What you loved as a child, you will love forever.”

Wow, I am shocked, i really didn't expect that it would be this good.

Made You Up is a book, that will make you question everything you know. It griped me from the very first page. I was real wary to read it, because Mental Illness book doesn't dwell well with me, because Literally in every book the illness is dragged, and i know it because its my it my field of expertise, we literally work hard to know and treat these patients and for me it's literally eye rolling scene whenever they dragged a illness and treat it wrong.

That's why I am really picky when it comes to Mental Illness books, I am not saying this book was perfect in the "Mental Illness" Department but it was good if compared to other books of this kind. Surely there was a little bit dragging out at some points but that is reasonable because nothing is perfect. and the second reason of may wariness was the title, "Made You Up" for me its like the title is speaking that you will read it and believe it and then i will make it all go, on the very last page. and Believe me i was waiting for the shoe to be dropped till the last fucking page, it was like i am reading a thriller not a contemporary.

“Dear Asshole:
Thank you for keeping your word and believing me. It was more than I expected. Also, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced by my gluing your locker shut at the beginning of this year. However, I am not sorry that I did it, because it was a lot of fun.
Love, Alex.”

Made You Up is book, full of Love, friendship, hardships, highschool bullies, bitches, detentions, first love, paranoia, mental illness, suspense that will kill you till the very last page, family hardships and LIFE.

Alex well truth to be told when it comes to female MC's i really am not a big fan of female characters and only some of them made a place in my heart and Alex was one of them, a twisted teenager with Schizophrenia, who can't tell what's the difference between real and hallucinations. what she was dealing with was really difficult to comprehend because how can we live when out of nowhere the thing became a hallucination when al of your life you think that it was real?? Alex was a victim of paranoia from her childhood she don't do anything without a perimeter check and don't even eat anything because it might had anykind of poison, she don't even touch anyone or let them touch her. I loved her strength yeah for me she was brave, because who would have strength to live a normal life where everyone thinks you are crazy?? I am sucker for twisted characters and she was one of the most twisted persons. I loved her sense of humour. The girl had a really good spirits even the world of her was crumbling form its axis.

Miles, well if i start explaining miles it would be a sort of rambling from a fangirl not a review so for miles i would just highlight some points or you'll be the victim of poppy's fangirl episode.
♥ He is the MOST heart-breaking soft and loving Asshole, I've ever read.
♥ He is a jerk who plays pranks on everyone for money because of the most emotional reason yo'll ever find
♥ He protects everyone is loves. Even if it cause him to do anything.
♥ He loves Alex.
♥ He was complex, Intriguing, heartbroken, and a confuse personalty with a witty sense humour.
♥ I loved his "Quirked one eyebrow raised" expression . ahh the butterflies!
♥ and he is MILES what not to love about him. and
♥ He has Alexithymia- a mental illness in which you can't comprehend your or anyone's emotions.
♥ And yet he was always there when anyone needs him, when alex need him.
♥ THE END ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“I am real. This”–he put his other hand over the first-“is real. You see me interacting with other people all day long, don’t you? I talk to people; I affect things in the world. I cause things to happen. I am real.”

“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 if 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?”

Alex & Miles was together was everything you'll ever need, i loved the interaction and their little pranks that they put on eachother and and and their 3 turn 20 ask me something question game were hilarious, these two history junkies know almost everything and i loved them. There was so many moments that i laugh out loud on their pranks and interactions they never did make me bore or roll my eyes on them. They both were crushed but whole with eachother. I just adored them so much!!

Did i tell you that other than Alex and Miles, i almost loved EVERYONE in this book, even the bitch celia and the psycho McCoy, this book was packed with suspense and will make you glued to your seat till the very last page, i was shocked to learn how this book can deal with the mental illness with a really suspenseful plot at the very same time. Francesca Zappia i must say you really made a fine piece of work with this book, literally outstanding. I was rooting for the MC's from the very first page. this was the mother of SLOW BURN ROMANCE but it won't bore you to death with it, i swear! :P

“No, you're not a bad person," he said.
"And Richter isn't a bad person, and I'm not a bad person. We're just people, and people sometimes do stupid things.”

Well you must be thinking that if i loved this book so much why i didn't give it 5 Stars well because there are still something that we didn't get the answers clearly and that made me a little bit of wary and i wanted a Epilogue which was not there. But overall i really loved this book. So, Read it guys, what are you waiting for, i mean LITERALLY YOU HAVE TO READ THIS ASAP!
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
Want to read
May 12, 2015
Holy shit!!!! OMG!!! Woah!!! This BLURB gave me CHILLS!!! I'm so intrigued and can't wait to read it!!

"Let's play twenty questions."

"Okay. But I ask the questions this time."


"If I guess it before five, I'll be really disappointed."

The corners of his lips twisted up in a smile and he said, "Don't insult me."

"Are you alive?"


"Do you live here?"


"Do I know you?"


"Did I make you up?"


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.
Profile Image for Mayra Sigwalt.
Author 2 books2,202 followers
April 30, 2017
Quando terminei de ler não consegui avaliar esse livro. O problema é q não consegui dormir por causa disso!!

A questão toda é porque fiquei em conflito. A leitura foi divertida, o livro me prendeu, o narrador que vc não consegue confiar e fica se perguntando o tempo inteiro se é verdade ou não. Acho q tem uns probleminhas na trama tbm, mas nada disso afetou meu aproveitamento da história.

Mas uma coisa q eu me perguntei durante toda a leitura "ahmm, então é assim q funciona esquizofrenia?" E bom, quando eu terminei a leitura e fui descobrir mais a respeito, descobri que não. Não vou entrar em detalhes porque não sou especialista. Tem uma resenha 1 estrela desse livro em q a psicóloga comenta ponto a ponto o quanto esse livro é desinformativo em relação à esquizofrenia. Tudo em favor do plot e da história.

Fiquei pensando se já que não era pra realmente representar essa doença, talvez fosse melhor ir para o âmbito do realismo mágico, algo assim. Fala que ela tem visoes e não sabe distinguir o que é real e o que não é. Mas não fala que é esquizofrenia se vc não vai se preocupar em representar isso de forma fiel.

Eu sou do tipo de pessoa que quando é ignorante sobre um assunto, depois de ler um livro q aborda tal assunto, costumo pesquisar um pouco pra saber mais a respeito. Não sei se a maioria das pessoas são assim. Muitas pessoas vão pensar q esquizofrenia é essa doença romantizada do livro, assim como muitas acharam q A Culpa é das Estrelas era uma boa representação de adolescentes com câncer (eu tbm achei quando li o livro, me emocionei bastante. Aí fui ler mais a respeito e... Né). Mas acho que talvez a desinformação aqui seja ainda pior?

Eu fico triste porque são ideias interessantes, a história e os personagens são envolventes. Mas é necessário ter uma responsabilidade, ainda mais com o público que o livro quer atingir.
Profile Image for Cee (The Mistress Case).
253 reviews161 followers
February 6, 2017
How I know my Magic 8 Ball is reliable

*Before Reading*

Cee: Magic 8 Ball, will Made You Up try to kill me?

Magic 8 Ball: Concentrate and ask again.

Cee: You know? The kind where a book sucks the soul out of you, drop by drop, until you're on the floor rolling around in your own filth because you both love and hate yourself for picking up this book in the first place?

Magic 8 Ball: Reply hazy. Try again later.

Cee: Can you at least tell me if I'll like it or not?

Magic 8 Ball: Outlook not so good.

*After Reading* *will contain spoilers*

Cee: Do I think this book is cute?

Magic 8 Ball: My reply is no.

Cee: Do I think this book is angsty?

Magic 8 Ball: My sources say no.

Cee: Do you know why?

Magic 8 Ball: Don't count on it.

Cee: This is one of those times when a WRITER SHOULD WRITE WHAT THEY KNOW. If you plan to read Made You Up, do your research first so you aren't force-fed lies because anyone these days can slap mental illness onto the pages of a romance novel. Made You Up did not give me insight into schizophrenia. It made schizophrenia look like a pretentious illness with a stick up its ass. And believe me, saying this makes me feel like the asshole here. I don't claim to know jack squat about schizophrenia, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Alex didn't fit the bill. Let's give credit where credit is due— Francesca Zappia sure knows how to be crafty with mental illness because if I could create my own symptoms and get a kick out of making a book "fun," I probably would. Then I would cross my fingers and hope all of my readers swoon over my quirky and oh-so-intelligent characters. Yayy!

And as if the misrepresentation of mental illness, the boring characters, and the absentminded plot weren't enough to irked me, there was Charlie. I smelled that bullshit from hundreds of pages away and when shit hit the fan, I had to roll my eyes and skimmed the drama. She was a cheap tool to create angst. She really fucking was.

So there you have it. I had high expectations for Made You Up. I wanted it to challenge me on many levels from intellectual to emotional to morally, but the book fell flat and was too predictable and fake for me to give a rat's ass about it. It was like somebody trolled on my nonexistent feels.

In closing, my Magic 8 Ball is smarter than this book. Don't you agree?

Magic 8 Ball: Without a doubt.

- - - - - -

Here are some other reviews to elaborate:






Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews695 followers
January 17, 2019
I don’t know what to say except that the only parts that made me feel anything was a very fictionalized version of events, as in if we live in “alternative reality” or something. (Huge FYI though, we are NOT.) And I guess as a person with a type of chronic illness myself, I have the right to say that it’s quite offensive to read.

If it was set in fantasy land then I would have felt okay and may have even given the book two and a half stars rating but as it is, one star from me.
Profile Image for Maliha Tabassum Tisha.
127 reviews320 followers
August 23, 2023
“What you loved as a child, you will love forever.”

I love this book so. freaking. much!! It has an interesting premise and such fun and pacy writing it gripped me from the start, which is pretty unusual for me in terms of YA contemporaries. This book is more than 400 pages long but the way I turned the pages one after the other ought to mean that it's a pretty quick read. However, I haven't had much time to read lately and so ended up taking too much time to finish. Just don't worry about that.

“The only thing missing was Miles. But he was probably circling somewhere, destroying villages and hoarding gold in his mountain lair.”

Alex and Miles have my heart forever. I'm never gonna forget the way Alex describes Miles, especially during the first 3/4th of the book!! It's just too hilarious and cute!!! I loved their club and Charlie and Tucker, too. Even, Ohio! And that epilogue. OMG I don't think there could've been a more suitable ending to a story like that! Schizophrenia isn't something you could cure permanently and I didn't know what to expect and what to not from the last few chapters. I had grown so fond of Alex I didn't want to even think about anything gloomy. So, I got really very scared for her and the fate of her relationship with Miles and all her new-found friendships. Now I thank the Almighty for that epilogue!! T_T

So, I loved every single bit of this book. And when I love a book this much I tend to have difficulty expressing myself. So, that's it for now.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,487 reviews7,789 followers
August 13, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Hey look, it’s another book I read two months ago and never reviewed. Bonus this time – it was a library book (thanks a lot for denying me the ARC, NetGalley!) and my loan expired therefore erasing all of my quotes. Fail. Luckily my old lady brain didn’t sabotage me on this one so I can kind of halfa$$ review it. Lucky again that this is a book where the less said is better because SPOILERS so if this is on your TBR be careful wading too deep into the reviewing pond (and especially the Questions section on GR) or else you might find you need to cut a b*&^#.

Made You Up is the story of Alex’s senior year. Her main goal is to get in to college, but that’s not as simple as it seems when you have a tendency of spotting the local Phoenix when you go outside . . . .

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There’s also a tiny problem in the form of a boy named Miles – a boy Alex has always positive was just a figment of her imagination . . . .

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Before I even begin, can I pay homage to that cover????

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Hands down the most gorgeous book I’ve seen this year. I didn’t even need to look at a synopsis before deciding I would be reading this one. (Note to authors – covers are IMPORTANT. A pretty one will sell your books for you – an ugly one will leave them sitting on the rack alone and unwanted.)

Alright, now to the book. Made You Up might not be the best thing I’ve ever read, but it’s quite a solid debut and earns bonus points for originality. Although this seems like the “year of the crazy” with respect to the vast amount of characters who are battling some sort of mental disorder, I thought this story did a remarkable job of tackling schizophrenia with a wonderful balance of both humor and compassion. It was also a refreshing change of pace when it came to dealing with what it’s really like to fall in love for the first time. (Spoiler alert for those who have yet to experience it: Love doesn’t happen instantly.) If you’re not emotionally vacant like me Made You Up might even make you experience some feely-feels.

3.5 Stars rounded up for daring to be different than the stereotypical YA.
Profile Image for Kitty.
211 reviews82 followers
January 28, 2016
Jesus fucking Christ.


This is by far the single most disrespectful representation of a serious medical condition I've read in a long time. Folks, please, please, please do not put mental illness in your books just to make your character more of a speshul snowflake. It's cheesy, it hurts, and it makes you look like an utter ass. Yes Francesca Zappia, YOU are behaving like an utter tit and I'm not afraid to shout it out loud.

NOTHING about how schizophrenia as it is portrayed in this book is accurate. NOTHING. This book would be like me saying "oh I have cancer, it's really inconvenient, it makes me sneeze every time I'm around pollen and its SO EMBARRASSING having everyone look at me like that". That's how far off it is. This author has ZERO experience with people who suffer from this, ZERO respect for writing about their struggles with authenticity and compassion. How do you claim to do research for years and then write this book? Did you do your research on the back of a McDonald's place mat? WTF.

God this book is such a waste of space! Everything about it hurts from beginning to end. The snowflake syndrome, the asshole love interest, the fact that this book is essentially 400+ pages of nothing going nowhere fast with so many unfunny characters standing around mouth breathing on each other in an attempt to fool people in thinking there's a plot.


And are we allowed to start having a conversation about how utterly TERRIBLE the plot to this is? Like, the whole back story of some of the characters and how Zappia couldn't craft an interesting and believable villain to save her life? I feel like someone needs to take away her contract with Harper and set it on fire.

Can I say one more time how terribly she's portrayed this illness? Can I just start screaming about it and never stop? Can I? This book is terrible. This book is terrible and should feel very badly about its self.

May 27, 2015

"You're Jetta."
He shook his head.
I frowned. "Theo?"
"Well if you're not either of them, you'd have to be me."
He blinked.
"It's me?" I said.
"I couldn't think of anyone else," he said.

So....to keep pace with my current obsession of flawed and/or tortured characters and unreliable narrators, I just had to read this. I can't even begin to imagine living in a world where I don't know what's real and what isn't. It's just unfathomable, to me. To look on my desk and see a spider, only to immediately think, 'Wait wait wait...is this an actual spider...or am I just imagining it?' That would surely be the end of me. But just ponder this: Nothing is certain, no one is guaranteed to be real, and you might never know if what you're seeing is actually truly happening. How terrifying is that?

Was everything made up? Was this whole world inside my head? If I ever woke up from it, would I be inside a padded room somewhere, drooling all over myself?
Would I even be myself?

Now, this really wasn't what I was expecting. But then, I don't know what I was expecting. I have both strong and lukewarm feelings for this one. Let me explain: The characters were so addicting. I couldn't get enough of mean old [tortured] Miles and poor Alex. I knew from the moment these two met that I was hooked. He was surly as shit, and she wasn't going to take his crap like everyone else in the school. And this is what drove me forward from the very beginning. But then on the other hand...for some odd reason that I can't explain, the story just felt so unrealistic to me. Which makes no sense! Of course it didn't!! We are following an unreliable narrator and we don't know what's real and what isn't.

"Alex. Wait."
I turned back. It was the first time he'd said my name. He held a hand out. "Well played," he said.
Oh no. No, we were not doing this. I hadn't spent ten minutes gluing his locker shut just to admit it to him. So I arched my own eyebrow and said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
The corners of his lips twisted up right before I walked away.

But I don't even think it's that. Maybe it's their high school life. But when have I ever picked up a book and said-'This is so unbelievable.' Never. I never have. Unless the cheese is through the roof and I can't believe a girl could be so stupid, I never say that. No amount of dystopian or fantasy or paranormal could make me say that....So why did this book make me wonder things I never have? And that's where my lack of that last .5 or full star comes from. I can't decide if I liked the surreal feel of the story...or disliked it.

"You're going to go up there"-he pointed at the empty bleachers-"and shut up."
Was there some kind of law about drop-kicking assholes in the face? Probably. They always had laws against things that really needed to be done.

Not often do I say less is more, but due to lack of time and the fact that this story is based on belief of what's real and not real, I think I need to stick by that thought. I fell inexplicably hard for the male lead, Miles, and I think that stems from my current obsession of 'tortured boys with 'tude problems.' There wasn't one minute where I wasn't begging for more of him, just so I could get to the core of why he was just. So. Mean. I wanted and needed to know what made him tic and, most importantly, I needed to see more of his anger-riddled jealousy. Ah yes, Miles dear got extremely jealous on more than one occasion-Though, he'd never admit it. And I have to say-I loved the confused look on his face all the time. It was adorable. And the eyebrow raise!! And lastly-I loved how he always stood up for Alex, even if it didn't look like he was. How he always was there for her and respected her (in his own way, okay) and took care of her. I loved it. He was a mean shit...but he had reasons. You'll have to read to know anything more than that.

I really needed Finnegan's Magic 8 Ball. But I could guess what kind of answer it would give me. Ask again later. So freaking noncommittal.

So, that is all. Still not a short review, by any means, but not near as long as they've been running lately, it seems. I think this book will touch many people because it's not an easy topic to write about, nor is it an easy book to find written well. And that's what this was-an excellently written story with deep characters and a meaningful story-line. I will be suggesting it to many, and I can't wait to come back someday and re-read this with an open mind and knowing what is real...and what isn't.

I don't want you.
I don't need you.
I don't love you.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
853 reviews453 followers
January 3, 2016
“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter?” he said. “You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

I don't think I'll ever be ready to fully review this book.The characters are so unique,the story is just captivating and there are so many twist that you won't see coming!Also,hate-to-love relationships give me life.But seriously,read this book as soon as possible,I guarantee that you'll love it if you love smart but a bit crazy and weird characters and a "oh my god my feelings" kind of story.


Favourite quotes:

“Dear Asshole: Thank you for keeping your word and believing me. It was more than I expected. Also, I'm sorry you were inconvenienced by my gluing your locker shut at the beginning of this year. However, I am not sorry that I did it, because it was a lot of fun. Love, Alex.”

No, you're not a bad person," he said. "And Richter isn't a bad person, and I'm not a bad person. We're just people, and people sometimes do stupid things.”
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