Wednesday, June 3, 2015

{BLOG TOUR} Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Publication: May 19th 2015, Greenwillow Books
Format: ARC
Source: Pinoy Book Tours! (Thank you soooo much, Dianne! <3)        

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.

Misfit Review:

Here I am, somehow contemplating how I can actually talk about this novel and then halfway into it, I’ll be talking and talking and somehow I’ll surprise myself. Anyway, what I’m saying is, Made You Up left me speechless, wishing for more, and believing more in what is real.

So the story starts with Alex, a young girl in high school who has schizophrenia. As a kid, she never actually saw it as an illness, but somehow a friend as her imagination was the only thing that could suffice her loneliness, having kids call her weird for having unnaturally red hair. She meets a kid she dubs as Blue Eyes, a young boy who was the first person to ever take Alex seriously. But she never saw him again.  This then leads her to believe she made him up. Jump to the present and Alex still has her illness but somehow manages to live a normal life, working in a diner, but having an unbelievable sense of paranoia. With her camera, she takes photos of things she finds unusual or out of the ordinary, to somehow filter them from reality. She is positive she can get through high school without another hitch, when she meets the young boy she thought was only her delusion, Miles. She then starts to be more involved with people, make friends and somehow start a relationship. But when things go array around the school, mysteries trigger her delusions and it might cost her her friends 
and family, most especially her life.

When I first found out that there’s an opportunity for me to review Made You Up, courtesy of my affiliated book tour, I immediately signed up for it and luckily got the chance, and boy did I make the right decision. The novel is funny without being overbearing. It has the right amount of humor, drama and conflict wrapped into this package of amazingness.

Characters are well diverse, of course, there’s Alex, who has schizophrenia. If you don’t know what schizophrenia is, I’d rather link you to a much needed reference. But basically, it’s a mental  illness/disorder in which the person suffers from delusions, of things unknown to people or seeing double or just the idea of a person existing who never actually did, is most likely what schizophrenia is. I did study psychology in my first and third year of uni, but I never exactly had the chance to dive into the concept of it completely.

But the depiction of schizophrenia for this novel seems accurate enough and definitely draws you in. I have a high level of respect for people who can describe situations with such beauty and power, like when Alex started seeing a bloodied Miles and so many others. As a character, Alex is much more than her illness. She is spunky, honest, kind and a loving sister and daughter. Though she does worry that her illness is what will define her, she does try to make connections with people and that’s what I love about Alex. I wish she didn’t worry about her hair that much. I personally loooove her hair.

Miles is a character who from the very moment that he was mentioned, I flipped, gasped for air and knew that he was gonna be special to my heart. I know YA novels make their way to attract readers, most especially if they are inclined to charismatic guys, and Miles definitely has the hook on me, centered out. He’s charming though ruthless. He’s not afraid to speak his thoughts and isn’t worried about what other people think of him. He’s feared by people because of his no nonsense attitude and possibly of his German roots, but to me Miles is just one epic sweetheart. Though he won’t admit that he actually possesses friends, deep down he cares for them. Also, the love that he has for his mother is beyond words. He’d do anything, even do dirty business just to save up to bail his Mom out from the mental hospital. And the way that he initially teased Alex in the beginning was already superb chemistry. And please, blue eyes, glasses, lanky guy. Give me a break. I think I need a cold, cold drink.

And the rest of their pals in the novel aren’t left out. I loved that each character was filled with personality, though could’ve been more utilized, they were still adorable and used to their potential for this novel. Oh yes, I would like some more Jetta, please?

Not just a barrel of laughs, Made You Up had a side dish of grit and mystery. It was gripping and did a good job in reeling me till the end, rather than just taken with the romance and friendship parts. I liked that the conflicts are intertwined to one another and that somehow, Alex’s delusions became an integral part of finding out truths towards these problems.

I love the fact that Francesca Zappia gave a fresh zing to a roster of YA novels talking about mental disorders and it is actually my first time to read one about schizophrenia... (except Paulo Coelho’s Veronika Decides To Die. We all know what that’s about) There’s lots of attitude and modernity to it all and she wasn’t afraid to go far and beyond for this novel. It was brave to talk about something like schizo in a novel, and that’s why to me, Francesca is a now a new favourite.

Made You Up is not one without flaws but it works its way to making the novel far more interesting. And that ending to the epilogue was truly nice. It’s definitely an eye opener. And I tell you what, my love for it, is not made up. 


Prologue: The Freeing of the Lobsters

If I was good at the grocery store, I got a Yoo-hoo. If I was really good, I got to see the lobsters.

Today, I was really good.

My mother left me at the lobster tank in the middle of the main aisle while she went to get Dad's pork chops from the deli counter. Lobsters fascinated me. Everything from their name to their claws to their magnificent red had me hooked.

My hair was that red, the kind of red that looks okay on everything but people, because a person's hair is not supposed to be red. Orange, yes. Auburn, sure.

But not lobster red.

I took my pigtails, pressed them against the glass, and stared the nearest lobster straight in the eye.

Dad said my hair was lobster red. My mother said it was Communist red. I didn't know what a Communist was, but it didn't sound good. Even pressing my hair flat against the glass, I couldn't tell if my dad was right. Part of me didn't want either of them to be right.

"Let me out," said the lobster.

He always said that. I rubbed my hair against the glass like the thank was a genie's lamp and the action would stir up some magic. Maybe, somehow, I could get those lobsters out. They looked so sad, all huddled on top of one another, antennae twitching, claws rubber-banded together.

"Are you buying one?"

I saw Blue Eyes's reflection in the glass of the lobster tank before he spoke. big blue eyes. Blueberry blue. No, that was too dark. ocean blue. Too green. Blue like all the blue crayons I had, all melted into one.

The straw I'd jammed down the neck of my Yoo-hoo bottle dangled from my lips.

"Are you buying one?" he said again. I shook my head. He pushed his glasses up his nose, back into place on his own golden-freckled cheeks. The dirty collar of his shirt slipped down to reveal a freckled shoulder. The stench of fish and pond scum cling to him.


About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

YA writer represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. My debut, MADE YOU UP, will be out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins on May 19th, 2015. I like writing, reading, drawing, anime, playing way too much Pokemon, and other things.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...