Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’m always wary of reading books about mental health, because I’m the kind of person that gets triggered really easily. I decided to give Made You Up a try, though, because schizophrenia isn’t something that I’ve had a lot of dealings with.
Because of that, I can’t comment on his realistic Alex’s experiences are. So my review is going to be focused on the characters (minus their mental health difficulties), the writing and the plot.
Alex was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age thirteen. Since then, she has struggled on a daily basis with figuring out what in her world is real, and what isn’t. To help her with this, she carries around a camera; she’s found that if something isn’t real, it fades from the pictures over time.
I enjoyed reading about Alex’s attempts at making friends at her new school and being ‘normal’ (that fucking word haunts my dreams; it’s rammed down your throat all the time when you’re recovering from a mental illness…I digress). I didn’t entirely understand Miles and his reaction to Alex at first, but he definitely grew on me, and he was very sweet at the end.
There’s also little bits of mystery added throughout too, which was nice, but this book is definitely more character based than plot based. There also doesn’t really feel like there’s much focus on Alex’s schizophrenia throughout the book, and I feel like it’s only at the end when you really realise how much it affected her.
SPEAKING OF THE END, let’s just talk about that; so, just as a warning, there are minor spoilers from here onwards.
So at the end we see Alex being discharged from a psychiatric hospital, and the hospital is actually painted in a positive light! Like, Alex actually says the fellow patients were her friends! So many books paint psychiatric hospitals in a negative light and talk about them like they’re asylums. As someone who spent just under two years in a psychiatric hospital, I can honestly say that I would not be here if I hadn’t been admitted. The nurses and nursing assistants saved my life, and my fellow patients were some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I’m so pleased that Francesca included Alex being discharged at the end; the ending is hopeful, and Alex, while not miraculously recovered, is feeling better. Which would not have happened had she not gone into hospital.
I would definitely read another one of Francesca’s books, as they’re both emotional and uplifting.