Made You Up

First Lines: 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.

There was something about this book that grabbed me the moment I saw the cover.  Look at the artistry here!  And then the synopsis clinched it.  I was so going to read this.

Life is hard for Alex, besides the usual pressures of being a high school senior.  Alex can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction because of her schizophrenia.  Every day is a struggle to determine what everyone else is seeing and what only she sees.  Armed with a magic 8 ball, her camera, and her little sister, Alex makes the best of life and stays sane.  Then she runs into Miles, the class jerk that looks incredibly familiar from a childhood “episode” she had.  …Didn’t she make him up?  Soon Alex is making friends, going to parties, and falling in love like everyone else.  Alex has always been crazy…she’s not prepared for normal.

YOU. GUYS.  This book rocked it out of the park.  Everything about it was superb.  I don’t read much that has to do with mental illness, but this was excellent.  Alex’s schizophrenia is slowly laid out and, since she’s telling the story, we can’t tell what’s real and what’s not either.  It’s the coolest mind game.  You honestly can’t trust what Alex says and hears because just when you think something’s real (or fiction), something shifts and suddenly it’s not what you thought.  I loved this unreliable narration.

And because of that, there are some incredible twists and turns in this story that you will never see coming.  There was one in particular I just looked up from the book and went, “Whoa.”

The characters are definitely interesting.  Alex is a sympathetic character.  Behind her schizophrenia, she’s a normal girl.  She doesn’t want people to know about her illness because she doesn’t want people to treat her differently.  She’s clever and she has a bit of a vindictive side, which is hilarious in an evil mad scientist kind of way that just makes me giggle.

Her friends are no angels either, but they’re all sweet in their own ways.  I really liked Tucker and Miles, who are both there for Alex in different ways.  And they each have their quirks, especially Miles.  I so wish I could tell you more about him, but I can’t.

You know what the most amazing part is?  This is a debut novel.  And, if I’m not mistaken, the author is about 20.  (Her bio says she’s in college.)  So…yeah, what was I doing with my life at that age?  Not writing and publishing a book, that’s for sure.

This was an unexpectedly sweet read that is also more complex and emotional than you’d originally think.  I loved it.

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