Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Made You Up (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Made You Up
Author:  Francesca Zappia
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Published Date:  19th May 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Did I love Silver Linings Playbook? Yes. Should this one be compared to that? No. Because although they were both about mental illness, they both took a very different approach to it, and they were both very different situations.

But the most important question – did I love it?

SO MUCH YES!

First, before I tell you about how wonderful and emotional this book is, I am going to invite you to look once more at that cover which is simply a piece of art. On a book. I would compare it to the wonderful cover of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. It’s gorgeous.

This book is about Alex who has paranoia and schizophrenia. Although I knew what the mental illness was, and had heard the word used many a time, I didn’t really understand the capacity of having it in itself. And this book really opened my eyes to that. Alex wants to live a normal teenage life, but it can be difficult when you don’t know what is real and what isn’t. Needless to say those around her who aren’t family don’t know that she has the condition, so in public she tries especially hard to act normal.

When a book accurately portrays a mental illness
Joy @ Joyous Reads used the words ‘unreliable narrator’ when she wrote her review for this one, and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I wasn’t even aware how unreliable of a narrator Alex was going to be. Like her, as readers we can never be entirely sure what is real and what isn’t until Alex herself knows it as well. Some of the largest plot twists were finding out things that you would never have suspected weren’t real.

And then the characters… were brilliant. I loved hearing things from Alex’s point of view, and she had such a great way with words and her mind. I loved being in her body and seeing through her eyes. She was sensible, she was smart, but then she was also human. And there was Miles – who everyone was afraid of. Everyone except Alex though – she was more so curious about who he was and why no one seemingly knew much about him. I won’t tell you anything about that of course because as you read it is best to discover it for yourself. But I love Miles. ^^

This was a book where the parents were also very present, and not off somewhere or dead, which makes me happy. Too many YA books seem to do that. And these parents weren’t perfect either – they had flaws. Which was to be expected as they had to look after a child with this condition. It was interesting to see how each parent went about dealing with Alex’s condition differently, and finding out their reasons for doing so.  

Another thing I loved so much about this was that although it was a book about mental diseases and it had great characters, it wasn’t solely based on that. It actually did have a good plot running through it as well, that came to a climax.

This book made me sympathetic to those with schizophrenia. I couldn’t imagine having it myself. It made me love the way I know what is and isn’t real – something which a lot of us take for granted. It made me question reality. I mean, what if the life you were living was a dream, and you woke up. Then what?

I could not and would not stop reading this book for anything. It made me laugh, it made me smile. If I had to point out a book that was great, this one would definitely be it. Oh, and the author started writing this meaningful novel when she was eight O.o

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Giveaway Time! Enter to win a hardcover copy of Made You Up! Open internationally as long as the Book Depository ships to you. 


Olivia’s Question: What would you do if you found out the life you were living wasn’t real?

Olivia-Savannah x

52 comments:

  1. Fantastic review Olivia! I was so very curious about this one and I'm glad to hear that mental illness was portrayed great in here!
    Thank you so much for the giveaway too!

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    1. It's so good! I hope you love it whenever you read it as well :)

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  2. Wow! 5-star review. Sounds very different and unique. Thanks for your insightful review. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. It was such a different book, and definitely one of a kind! I am going to link it up to your Stella Book Links!

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  3. Great review. I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I really need to find time to read it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. You really should - it would be well worth your time!

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  4. Nice review. I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book, so I convinced my sister to buy it yesterday so I could read it after her. The cover is just so beautiful too! I'm really looking forward to reading it :)

    As to your question, I'm not really sure. I would probably freak out really badly, but not tell anyone and just carry on living life. Though, I would probably be a lot more reckless and live for the moment.

    - Denise @ Confessions of a Book Addict
    confessions-of-a-book-addict.blogspot.com

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    1. Ooh, I can't wait to hear what you think of this one! The cover is amazing and well, the book itself is as well!

      I don't know what I would even do >< But yeah, living more in the moment sounds good! We should do that anyway ;)

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  5. That cover IS gorgeous girl! I read Joy'a review for it too and knew she really liked it.:) I LOVE how this book accurately portrays the mental diseases in this book because we live our lives really not knowing what is truly out there so I think it's awesome this book focuses on that! And gosh girl, if I woke up one day and my world wasn't actually real....I would probably freak put and run down the street screaming no doubt. That would be horrible.

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    1. Yes, I had this when I read Joy's review but it prompted me to start it sooner! It actually would be... just to imagine all the people you have loved and bonded with to not be true!

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  6. Thank you! Now I definitely need to read it!

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    1. Even if it is hard to find time for reading sometimes, this should be one of those rare ones you pick up!

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  7. A great review! I always find it annoying when two books are paired together just because they have one single thing in common - like mental illness in this case. It just sets the newer book for an instant comparison with an old favourite and it's not fair!
    Andreea Catsfika

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    1. A lot of people do find that to be a bookish peeve but I don't mind it too much. But yes, it does set some high expectations!

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  8. I agree, so emotional and loved it as well

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    1. Glad to know we could both enjoy this emotional read :)

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  9. Great review and I love the cover as well. I'm also glad you found an awesome book to fangirl over. I'm now interested and have added the book to my TBR list.

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    1. So happy to know you added it to your TBR! I am curious to know what you think whenever you get to it.

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  10. I'd try to find out what real was.

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    1. I think that would be a good idea. Not always easy but a place to start.

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  11. Awesome review, Olivia! I've been really looking forward to reading this, so I'm glad that you liked it :)
    ~Haley @ My Addiction: Books
    PS. I nominated you for the Book Fangirling Blog Award:
    http://myaddictionbooks.blogspot.com/2015/08/book-fangirling-blog-award.html

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    1. Thanks so much for the nomination! And you should so read this one ^^

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  12. Oh wow!! I've heard so many good things about this book! I'm interested in reading it especially since you mentioned there's an unreliable narrator. I'd love to see how that plays out and how she sees everything in her point of view :) Oh and I find the fact that the author started writing this book when she was eight very cool, haha!

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    1. It has such a good reputation and that prompted me to try it too! It must be a pretty talented eight year old to come up with this idea ^^

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  13. Well, you found a book that you really like and a giveaway as well. Awesome! Sounds like a drama-filled book and a good read.

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    1. It had quite a lot happening in it, but I like that there was still a plot outside of her mental illness as well.

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  14. Schizophrenia is something that fascinates me, the hazy line between the real and illusion. It's scary too. I love reading books dealing with it and this one sounds like an amazing one. And the author is just 22?! That is awesome.

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    1. It really is an interesting mental illness and I would love to read more about it. Yes, a young author!

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  15. Yes, I completely agree about the cover. It is definitely a piece of art! And I enjoyed this story as well, it was very unique :)

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    1. I am glad you were able to love this one too! That cover though DD: <3

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  16. Great review! I'm definitely looking forward for this book since it got so many good reviews :D Can't wait to read it myself!

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    1. I hope you love it when you try it as well! The hype is completely worth it :D

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  17. This is the first 5 stars I've seen from you in a while, I think. I've being seeing this one a lot and it's been on my lookout list. Glad that you enjoyed it!!

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    1. *scratches head* Yes... this has been the first five stars in a while. Maybe I am just fussy :3 But it's worth every star!

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  18. This sounds like such an interesting read! I recently read Trust No One by Paul Cleave. While it was a mystery, it also featured an unreliable narrator due to mental illness (Alzheimer's in this case).

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    1. That sounds like an interesting book -- although unique in its own way. I see you have a review up of it so I will go check that out!

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  19. I want to read this book; it seems interesting. I agree that it is a beautiful cover.

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    1. I think you would really like it, knowing your reading taste ;)

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  20. Okay now I want to read this book and have participated in the giveaway, as usual wonderful review Olivia :-)

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    1. I think you would like it if you read it! Thanks for joining the giveaway :D

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  21. This sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it myself :)

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  22. Totally agree with your review! It was perfect because it wasn't just about schizophrenia, it was about LIVING and having schizophrenia- it was part of Alex's story, but not her WHOLE story! (Incidentally, I have an interview with Francesca scheduled for tomorrow- because I thought this book was SO perfect to feature in our mental health event!) I am so glad you enjoyed it so much too! Fabulous review :)
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Yes, it would be perfect for the event so I will keep an eye out for the interview! I am going to be interested to read it. And the way it was part of her life but not the whole plot was just brilliant. Couldn't have loved this book more <3

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  23. AAH! I’m so incredibly excited to read this. And sad I missed out on your giveaway! I have incredibly vivid dreams and can sometimes be aware that I’m dreaming- it’s called lucid dreaming and I had it quite a lot when I was a child. I’d wake myself form nightmares and such. And having such vivid dreams, sometimes when I wake it can be really hard to work out what is real and what happened in the dream. It makes me terrified to imagine how horrible it is for people with schizophrenia who can’t always distinguish between reality and fiction. I cannot imagine how horrible and difficult it would be.
    I’m really happy that a book dealing with a protagonist who has schizophrenia is now in the YA market. That’s so important. Mental health is getting a much bigger spotlight and I’m so proud. x

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    1. I HOPE YOU WILL LOVE IT LIKE I DID! I have heard of Lucid dreaming and it seems like a pretty cool thing to experience. Some people even try to force it as well, just to know how it feels. But of course, it does have some downsides as well. I know what you mean - it's a whole different life none of us can truly picture having, and must be so different. I liked this book and how well it handled the subject. I hope you can read it soon, Romi <3

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