7 June 2017

Review #613: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia



My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.”

----Jeanette Winterson



Francesca Zappia, an American bestselling author, has penned an extremely soul stirring, debut young adult contemporary fiction, Made You Up that revolves around a female high school teenager, suffering from acute mental illness, who manages to hide her hallucinations real well despite of the fact that she is reeling towards a bunch of teenagers who too are facing the wrath of their past and among that group, one boy surprisingly steals the heart of this mentally wrecked teenager, but she is anxious to lead a normal life, as crazy has been her middle name since her own inception.


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.



After getting expelled from her private school due to a serious mischief compelled due to her schizophrenic mind, Alex desperately wants that she doesn't mess it up in her new public high school where she will be a senior. She needs to keep her schizophrenia under check with her prescribed pills and get through just this one year of school before going for college. Although her plans seems to come undone when her crazy life begins to follow a normal teenage lifestyle, when she meets a group of misfits who too are suffering because of their past mistakes, and who saves her from the constant bullying. Among that group, there is another mentally wrecked guy with an Einstein-like brain named Miles, who makes Alex fall for her and takes her to the parties and tells her stories using big words. But can Alex save herself as well as Miles and keep calm without wrecking it up like the last time? And why the hell loving someone is making her so anxious?

This is a brilliant and eye-opening portrayal of a teenager suffering from mental diseases like schizophrenia , autism etc. Although the readers aren't actually aware how a schizophrenic human precepts the world through his/her mind's eyes, but the author has depicted the story line with a realistic flair. Even though the ending failed to intrigue me or made me feel like all those plot twists went to waste and all those time spent anticipating for the climax became good for nothing, yet somehow, the characters stole the show as well as my heart and mind, thereby making this book a truly captivating one.

The author's writing style is quite beautiful, laced perfectly not only with some deep, evocative emotions that will only make the readers feel but also with taught suspense that will keep the readers on their edges till the very climax. The narrative begins with an alluring way and sways smoothly with the course of the story line, yet eventually somewhere in the heart of this story, the dialogues fail to beguile anymore, finally falling flat, and that somehow made me distracted and restless to turn away from it, yet the characters simply held my gaze till the turn of the very last page. The pacing is bit slow, as there is so much happening around the story, an underlying mystery and with Alex constantly panicking to mess things up and with Miles' usage of bombastic words, this story has a lot of elements that ultimately making this one an intriguing contemporary read for many.

This is that rare kind of story where the fine line between reality and fantasy often overlaps and that will beg the readers to discover such a beautiful coalition despite of the confusion. Only because of Alex, who cannot perceive whether the things that she is seeing are real or not and that's the main reason behind carrying her camera to wherever she goes, and gradually with the help of Miles, she also finds out the mystery behind a childhood mischief. Alex is painted with flaws in big bold letters, yet her cheery side will keep the readers glued to the story line. Even though the readers learn to sympathize with the main characters, yet somehow, they are projected as someone who are brave enough to fight off the evils in this world despite of their mental illness. Alex's mind is beautiful and confusing and that will turn out to make the readers feel good about her demeanor. Yes Alex's psychological grip upon the readers' minds is the key that makes this story so brilliant.

Although the cliched cast of diverse characters make things a bit predictable in the end, yet if it is for Alex, then I would say that she has made this story amazing with her antisocial yet bright ways of perceiving the world.

Verdict: An uncommon plot with a realistic edge and with lots of emotions.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.
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Author Info:
YA writer represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. MADE YOU UP (2015), ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS (now available).
The Children of Hypnos serial on Tumblr (http://childrenofhypnos.com) and Wattpad (https://www.wattpad.com/story/9547883...) every Mon&Fri @ 1PM EST.
I like writing, reading, drawing, and scaring my friends.
Visit her here



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