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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Reality Bites

Made You Up - Francesca Zappia

I have a lot of nice things to say about this book.  For one thing, I felt like it dealt with mental illness on a level that isn’t often done in YA.


There’s often a talk about diversity in YA, but I often think that focus on diversity on race, culture,  and sexual orientation and has neglect other types of diversity-i.e. characters that suffer from mental or physical adversity.  Sure, there are a few books that do look at different obstacles that a character might suffer, but as a whole there aren’t a lot books focusing on physical of mental impairments which is a shame because a lot of people do suffer from various impairments.


Paranoid schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is horrifying and fascinating.   To not have a grip on reality is a terrifying and often some of the things that people who suffer from the disease perceive can be puzzling  if not horrifying.


People often have a distorted view of what suffers of schizophrenia are like, and I liked how relatable Alex was in this book.  She could’ve been anyone’s sister.  Anyone’s friend.  She didn’t spend the entire book discussing her disease, but it was a part of her life.  Zappia made the reader see how the delusions that Alex occasionally sees and hears affects her life.



That was the best part of the novel.


Sometimes I did feel like the disease might’ve been going into cliche territory, but then Zappia would do a twist that would surprise me.  I think one thing that I wanted to see, but we didn’t see in this book was Alex’s relationship with her shrink.


Like them or not, a person suffering from a psychiatric disorder is going to have some sort of relationship with their mental health professional.  While I didn’t expect Zappia to write every session between Alex and Leeann, I wanted some clue into what was going on in those therapy sessions.


I thought like I was missing time because those sections weren’t put in the book.

To be honest, while the first third to first half of the book was compellingly readable, the book’s pacing got odd as the book progressed. At times I almost felt like there was no clear direction that the story was trying to go towards.  Was it trying to be like Veronica Mars or something?  That mystery with the scoreboard and the principal really didn’t work for me.


And then there was the love story in the book.  At it’s core, it was the strongest thing about the book.  I loved how this relationship isn’t instant and there are so many layers to both Alex and Miles in the book.  Both characters have their own quirks and demons to deal with and both of them are devastating characters.


Although it had flaws, I really did enjoy Made You Up, I liked that it looked at how a character lived with mental illness.  Although, some of the pacing was messed up.  I will am definitely recommending this one.


Source: http://howdyyal.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/reality-bites-made-you-up-by-francesca-zappia