Genres: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness, Realistic-Fiction
Format: Hardcover Source: Won My Rating: 5 Stars
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.
Love love love this book, guys! My expectations were really high for this one, and they were met tenfold. I can’t actually explain how much I love this book without coming off as a crazy person myself. So…. I’ll try to explain without spoiling this. If you’ve read this, can we talk about the moment I nearly dropped this book because my flesh crawled and I started twitching and scratching? Because, yeah, that about made me lose my head. I have a deep fear of snakes, let’s put it that way.
The freeing of the lobsters had me hooked from the very first page. I devoured this book within 2 sittings (would have been one had I not needed to sleep). What is the freeing of the lobsters? It’s Alex’s defining moment. And soon afterwards, she’s diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Fast forward some years, and Alex is a senior in high school. She’s had some pretty rough days where her mental illness rears it’s ugly head and she can barely tell what’s real. So, she takes pictures of things around her, and analyzes them later. Her job at the local diner brings back the one thing that she thought wasn’t real, the freeing of the lobsters. It’s brought back by one blue eyed boy named Miles. But… it can’t be. Miles and the whole lobster thing was all in her head. Right? Well, from there, things get more chaotic by the second.
I really love Alex. She’s this tough, yet also vulnerable, human being who has a mental illness that tries to upend her world. I loved her sarcastic side as well as her intellect. Girl’s got brains people! She’s also an unreliable narrator because of her mental disorder. And when I say I thought I was losing my mind reading this, I’m not lying. I love how she and Miles went from playful enemies to a deep friendship, and an even deeper relationship. I really love Alex’s dad. He really tried to be reasonable with her mom and doctor, but his love for Alex was undeniable. I can see her mom’s frustration, or rather her thoughts about sending Alex to a place that will help her.
Miles is not without his own mental quirks. He’s also the guy that students go to when they want revenge. He was paid to do odd jobs here and there in the form of pranks. He’s also really smart and sarcastic. Miles is in charge of the club that Alex just happens to have community service for, because of an incident at her former school. This is an interesting group of kids. I loved them all, especially Theo. And, hello! I must have Googled every German phrase in this book. I wanted to know what was being said to Alex, sue me.
The side story brought mystery to this already unbelievable story. The principle, the cheerleader, and the score board. It was totally weird for me to be reading it. I didn’t know what was real and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The plot twist….. WHOA! I did not see it coming, swear to God. That is what makes this book so great. All I can say is, don’t go into this thinking anything. JUST READ. There may be a moment where you think that you may be going bananas, but just keep reading. Mile’s side story was needed to make sense of the mystery behind the scoreboard. So, it all worked out in the end.
I thought that Mosquitoland was my favorite YA book involving mental illness this year. Made You Up shoved it out of the first place slot. I highly recommend this book!