“Made You Up” worth the struggle

Author Francesca Zappia’s debut novel has a rough start but redeems itself halfway through.



Hayley Langdon, Writer

I am a pretty faithful reader. Once I read a book all the way through, even though I did not like it. I did it simply because I felt the author deserved it. No matter how much of a struggle a story can be, I push through, hoping I will find a diamond in the rough when I get to the last page. This payed off while reading Francesca Zappia’s debut novel “Made You Up,” which redeemed itself as a worthy read in the second half.


“Made You Up” falls under the young adult genre and although it is geared for high school readers, all ages can appreciate the story. Told in the voice of Alex Ridgemont, a high school senior who is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, Zappia’s novel blurs the line between reality and perception.

I will not lie, after the prologue, I dreaded having to pick up Zappia’s book and spend time reading it. While the prologue was intriguing and captivating, the chapters afterward were a bear to read through. I often complained to my roommate how it felt like I had missed parts of the story due to the choppiness of the current scene’s setup. Although the book was published earlier this year, the birthdates Zappia gave to the main characters made them 22-year-old seniors in high school. Maybe it is simply because I am an English major, but those two situations made the setup of “Made You Up” come across as haphazard and not given the attention to detail it called for.


For whatever reason, I kept reading and at some point found I did not want to put the book down, but instead was eager to turn the page and read on.

Eventually, “Made You Up” tugged at my heart when Alex had a startling realization concerning one of her hallucinations. As a result of this happening multiple times in close succession, Alex noticed how quickly she was losing control over her delusions. I think it may have been here that Zappia finally had me hanging on her words. She had created a character that evoked understanding despite her commonly misunderstood mental illness.


Maybe Zappia intentionally wrote the beginning of her novel in a confusing way in order to reflect the confusion that Alex lived with on a daily basis. Maybe it had no purpose. Whatever the reason, “Made You Up” is worth it when you experience the growth of Alex Ridgemont.


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