Cover Image: We Made It All Up

We Made It All Up

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I have been craving a YA Mystery / Thriller lately and since this one needed to be read I figured why not give it a go! Although there were some cool elements to this plot, I didn’t like it as much as I had wanted to. It covered some pretty dark topics and one in particular, although minor, is one that makes me uncomfortable. What I disliked may not be an issue for others so take this review as you will.

The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Celeste. Even though there is only one point-of-view the book keeps it interesting by adding a dual timeline. It does help fill in the gaps from the moment something goes wrong until the end where everything starts coming together once again. I am a fan of dual timelines so this was something I liked to see.

Celeste is the new girl in this small town and it’s always hard trying to find friends. Luckily, it doesn’t take long and her life gets interesting from that point on, especially when they start writing fan-fic about two students at their school. This was a unique concept and one that I haven’t seen before. I wouldn’t say that it added anything extra to the mystery plot and could have been a story all on its own.

I wouldn’t say that I liked any of the characters. If I had to pick one it would probably be Seth since he seemed like he had a good head about everything going on. Every one had a meanness to them and were just a bunch of dillweeds. It felt like mean girls but with the dudes acting crazy too.

There are a lot of things going on in the plot that had my attention more than the mystery itself. It didn’t have any thrilling moments and kind of left me just wanting more. It also didn’t help that the ending felt fast and kind of a convenient wrap-up. Not really my thing but at least we got closure.

Talks of sexual assault come up and even feeling loved by a teacher/adult. Even though they don’t go into full details it still made me feel uneasy and are both topics that I like warning beforehand about.

Overall, it was okay. It had interesting concepts but just not enough to sway me to like it.
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A unique and exhilarating mystery that asks, "Who killed the town's golden boy?"

"We Made It All Up" was unputdownable! This new YA thriller by Margot Harrison grabbed me from the start with its dual timeline of "Then" and "Now," told in alternating chapters. Harrison's writing style was easy to read, and the action and dialogue felt true to life. I could easily picture the characters and see the plotline's events as they played out as if I were watching them. 

The five main characters – Celeste, Vivvy, Bram, Seth, and Joss – seemed genuine. I was drawn to each of them over the course of the book. Each was vulnerable in their own ways, all having experienced traumatic events in their pasts, and this informed their states of mind and actions in the story. However, the story unfolds from Celeste's point of view, and I found her backstory intriguing and the book's climax harrowing and exciting.

The book's setting is a small town in Montana where everyone knows everyone else and all their business. It is situated near a mountain riddled with an extensive system of caves. I loved that the mountain and caves played such an important role in the plot and they became almost characters themselves in the drama. I really liked the vivid place descriptions that once again put me right there in the story with the characters.

If you don't like figuring out "who done it" too fast, this book is for you; the plot had me guessing to the very end. So often, I thought I knew what had happened up on the mountain, only for the author to twist the story and change my mind. But in the end, the answer is plausible and was looking me in the face the entire time. I found the wrap-up immensely satisfying.

I highly recommend WE MADE IT ALL UP to readers who enjoy YA thrillers and mysteries.
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“All things are possible,” Vivvy said. “But you don’t know small towns, Celeste. You don’t understand what the sheer depth of boredom will drive people to.”

Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours for the chance to read and review We made it all up by Margot Harrison.

We Made it All Up is a YA thriller that was published by Little, Brown and Company on the 12th of July, 2022. It’s 343 pages long and already in the top 100 in two different Teen and YA fiction categories on amazon.

As Celeste moves to a small town in the US from Canada, she tries to just blend in. That’s really hard when no one new seems to have moved there for a hundred years (a girl is cheating on her boyfriend with her cousin of all things). She makes a friend in Vivvy, and the two of them write a fan fiction of two dudes in their grade, who seem to hate each other. As Celeste learns more about small town secrets and Joss ends up dead, she has to find out what’s really been going on or she might be in jail next.

As a whole, We Made it all Up is a good addition to the YA thriller/mystery genre. The way Celeste took the characters (in her story), Joss and Seth and spoke about her own trauma through those was really interesting. I loved Vivvy; she was my favourite. I totally called who the killer was 20% in. I felt so annoyed at Celeste’s parents, and in general, most adults in the town for just turning a blind eye to things for so long. The book was a little slow at the start, but when it picked up, it picked up. 

I do wonder though, if had the genders of all the characters been changed, would the story have gone down as well? Two girls writing fanfiction about their male classmates is less sinister than two boys writing it about their female classmates.
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We Made It All Up tells a story in several parts: Present, Past, and through a story that Celeste and Vivvy alternated writing about a guy from school, Joss, who has been found dead. I really enjoyed the mystery part of the story, and Celeste's backstory. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing bits, but we'll get to all that.

Celeste is new in town, and she's not having a particularly great time making friends. She ends up becoming friends with Vivvy, and they begin writing a... well, I guess it is referred to as a "fanfic" but can it actually be a fanfic if it is about real people in their school? I mean ,to each their own I guess, but it seems a little squicky that they are writing romances about a real human being who they see every day? Honestly, it weirded me out a little, and I don't think I fully understood the motivation behind it. Why not write actual fanfic about something else you could both enjoy? I digress. I just didn't love those chapters, personally.

But I did enjoy the actual mystery/story, both past and present! I was eager to learn what secrets Celeste was keeping, and also, what the heck (or who the heck) happened to Joss. Obviously I can't get too into that part, for spoiler reasons, but Celeste has no idea what might have happened to Joss, even though she does know that she must be one of the last people to see him alive. Also, this Montana town is... well, there's more to the whole town than meets the eye, which of course will be a problem for Celeste, because who can she trust? Can she even trust herself, since she has no recollection of the events? Makes for quite an interesting mystery, and one I was eager to find out about.

Bottom Line: While I didn't fully love the "fanfic", the mystery parts of the story were definitely on point and worth the read!
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This was the perfect kind of abstract bizarre that I love.

Celeste has just moved to Montana from Canada and immediately makes friends with Vivvy. Their friendship is fast and strong, bonding over these stories they write together; this sort of fanfiction about people in the town.

Over the course of a couple of months, we get a back and forth timeline, starting with present day when golden boy, Joss is found dead… where he, Celeste, Vivvy and another boy were all hanging out the night before. Though Celeste cannot remember what happened and struggles to piece together the events of the night. And we get a view into the two and a half months from her arriving to current day, never knowing what to think.

This was a story filled with a bunch of teenagers who all had their own demons haunting them. There is such a push and pull of who, what, when, where and why that kept me completely on edge. This book had a unique way of telling you the story while not giving you all the pieces at once, allowing you time to let them settle in such a pace that is simply so satisfying.
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DNF.

This is a hard one, because it’s super well written and it was very easy for me to get invested in the plot. I almost didn’t want to DNF. The problem is that this book makes me feel pretty uncomfortable, but not in the way it intends to. Shipping real people and writing fanfiction about people you know is obviously pretty gross just generally, but I thought in context it wouldn’t squick me out as much, but it absolutely did. Added to the fact that pedophilia and sexual assault play pretty significant roles, this book just isn’t for me.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 /4.5 stars
Thank you to the author for providing me with an eARC of this book via TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review!

We Made It All Up is a mystery thriller, in which Celeste kisses Joss one drunken night. The next day she can’t remember anything and Joss ends up dead.  

“Send me a story, and I’ll write one back.” 

I love a good mystery thriller and am always excited to discover new books in the genre. Having read the synopsis, it immediately intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to start reading this book. 

The plot was very well done. It became more predictable towards the end, but still the complexity of it surprised me when reading this book. The same with the ending, it really blew me away and I hadn’t really guessed it would take that route until a few sentences before the reveal. 

The book is written in an interesting way. The chapters alternate between “then” and “now”, going from what is happening at the moment to what happened in the past to lead up to all that happened. It was a clever way to lure the reader in and not letting them go, with giving them hints in the lead-up and clues in the aftermath. Chapters often ended on little cliffhangers, but with the chapters constantly switching from past to present, you had to keep on reading to find out what would happen next. It made the book really grabbing and hard to put down once you start. 

I loved the characters; all were very interesting and felt very realistic for teenagers. I found it also really interesting to see the contrast between the real Joss and Seth and the one from Celeste’s and Vivvy’s stories. I also really liked how every character is suspicious in their own way, it made me want to figure them all out. 

The stories written by Celeste and Vivvy were also a really nice touch added to this story. I liked how there was a story within a story. I also really liked how the written stories connect to real events that happened in their lives and how there is much more dept to the thoughts behind the writing than it seems at first. 

While this book had me by the throat from beginning to end, I did feel like some parts were rushed or solved as an afterthought. Some very big parts of the story were suddenly solved at the end and it felt a bit underwhelming like that. I would’ve liked if those parts had gotten more explanation. 

Overall, it was a super intriguing book that I absolutely loved! If you are a fan of mystery thrillers, definitely check this one out!
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Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison is a YA thriller with an intriguing premise. The story revolves around two friends who bond over writing "friend fiction" a la Tina from Bob's Burgers. Celeste and Vivvy write about two boys in school, two boys that they seem to like and want to interact with in real life. But what will happen when one of the boys turns up dead? Is one of the two amateur writers responsible?

Here is a captivating excerpt from the opening chapter:

"Joss Thorssen spins the bottle, and then we persuade him to kiss each of us. “Okay,” he says. “Okay.”
It shouldn’t be okay, but here on the dark mountainside, with the lights of town winking far in the distance, maybe it is.
He starts with Vivvy, because she’s the closest. When his head dips toward her, a fist clenches in my chest—envy or excitement, I don’t even know. Though I’ve never kissed Joss, barely touched Joss, in some strange way I still feel like he’s mine and she’s mine, too. We’re coconspirators, Vivvy and I. He’s what we conspire about."

Overall, We Made It All Up is a YA thriller that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl or Francesca Zappia's Eliza and Her Monsters. One highlight of this book is the exciting climax and the twist that I never saw coming. Another highlight of this book is how it brings to the forefront a recent phenomenon that is rarely talked about: two straight girls writing about boys being gay. It's a weird and complicated dynamic. Is it exploitative or is it just girls having a bit of fun? If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of YA thrillers in general, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in July!
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I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I finished this book on vacation so my thoughts are a bit scattered. Celeste moved from the big city of Montreal to a small town in Montana with her dad, after something happened with her acting coach / teacher. Celeste was taking college level acting course at 15 years old and it seems there was some grooming and sexual coercion or misconduct. We don't ever find out exactly what happened except through the stories she writes with her new friend Vivvy, about their classmates Joss and Seth. Basically they write fan fiction and it gets out of hand when they try to manipulate events in real life. There's also hazing and a secret society and creepy cave meet ups. The writing was very strong and I enjoyed the story progression even though there should be trigger warnings for having, sexual misconduct, grooming, etc. I would read this author again.
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Absolutely obsessed with this book and I can’t wait to get my physical copy. It gave me chills that I can’t even explain and I was anxious but ready for more. I have a feeling this will be a book I’ll be rereading - it’s that good!
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Rating: 2.5 
I don't really know how I feel about this one. I loved the writing and it was easy to get through. But I don't think I liked the characters and the story made me uncomfortable. Maybe that was intentional, but I don't know. I'd be interested in reading another book by this author though.
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I really enjoyed it in the first 2/3rds, but the ending fell a little flat for me, but I think it's because the story was so wrapped in headspace stuff, I still don't feel like I knew what was real and what was pretend. Definitely a trip, that's for sure.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc!

I really loved this story.  Told in a "then" and "now" storyline it created a unique way to pull everything together at the end while being incredibly mysterious throughout its entirety.  

 Celeste moved from Montreal to a small town in Montana.  She comes with a loaded past and finds herself in a new friendship with the quirky Vivvy.  They begin creating fanfic about a couple of boys at their school and somehow the lines blur between fiction and reality.   When one of the boys is found dead, fingers start to point, rumors are made, and everyone is looking at Celeste... the new girl.  

I really loved this read and recommend it as a dark thriller. 

TW: violence, alcohol use, sexual assault, stalking.

Out July 12, 2022!
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This is exactly they type of read I needed to chuck me headlong out of my reading slump, so thanks for that. 

When things happen in the dark, it can be hard to trust your own memory. Even more so when you black-out, and a boy ends up murdered. Celeste had just moved to small-town Montana after a traumatizing experience in her old city, and the only friend she happens to make has a weird obsession with two boys in their school. Celeste, trying to impress her friend, starts writing fan-fiction about the boys, but Vivvy doesn't want to keep it inside their own fantasy world. When reality and fiction start to blur, Celeste doesn't know what to do, and when the stakes reach their peak, can't trust her friend or her own mind. Such an intense read that kept me pinned to the page, 8/10.

--- SPOILERS AHEAD---
 
The part of me that is morally against people writing fan-fiction about real people was dying inside as I read this. It was definitely a really cool writing technique, having Celeste's traumas explored and processed through Joss and Seth. It was just such a disturbing thought. Especially when Vivvy tried to make it a reality by breaking joss and Halsey up inviting him to things. She was processing trauma too, but it was still funky to read. 

There were a lot of things that I think could've been explored more and better. Bram's character, for example, or the whole kidnapping thing. I am also partially opposed to the murder-but-everything-is-solved-in-the-end and they have that moment of peace and separation in the last chapter. Make them suffer more.
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This book was a 4.5 for me, it was very well written, much more depth than the average YA mystery and more originality.  multi-dimensional characters even within the stereotypes of popular kids, the cliques that rule and bully and the outsiders.  Past traumas and desires are under the surface of this mystery of the boy who was killed and the girl with the missing hours.  Slow at first but a surprising read.
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This was a very enjoyable book and was full of suspense and twists. Closer to the end I kind of guessed who the killer was but it could of been any of them throughout the story. If you enjoy books that go back and forth between different months than you will enjoy this book
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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this ARC!

We Made It All Up was an intense, fast paced read. Between present and past, Margot Harrison did an excellent job of adding a new twist of information to each chapter as well as keeping the killer well hidden. The twist on the dark secrets of a small town distinguishes it from other books in the same genre as well as on popular character tropes like the popular mean girl and jock.

One thing I wish there was a little more information on certain things like Celeste's past before moving to Kray's Defile. However, I understand that it was a choice to give readers the information through the stories Celeste wrote to Vivvy. We Made It All Up creates an interesting puzzle for reader to piece together.

Overall, it was an amazing read that kept me hooked until the last page.
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Thank you to Margot Harrison, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

We Made It All Up follows our protagonist, Celeste, as she struggles to remember a fateful night that resulted in the death of one of her peers--a peer that she just so happened to write fanfiction about with her best friend. Celeste is the new girl in town, with traumas of her own that get explored as the plot unfolds. The events of this novel kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

After blacking out the night of the "murder" Celeste finds herself playing detective in order to uncover who killed Joss, all while hoping to find proof that she did not harm him in the span of her lost time. I particularly liked the segments that included some passages of the fanfiction itself, as they provided parallels/a more in-depth look at Celeste as a character as she projects herself onto the characters of others. 

The chapters are structured in a way that shows alternating narratives. While every chapter follows Celeste, the chapters themselves depict flashbacks to "Then" as well as what is currently happening in "Now" chapters. The "Then" and "Now" chapters are quite distinct, yet I still found myself going back and forth through chapters just to refresh my mind on what has happened. 

It was around the 75% mark when the plot began to hit the ground running. While it was an interesting read prior to this point, I could not stop reading once everything started to fall into place. Overall, I would recommend this  to anyone looking for a great fast paced mystery.
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I stopped this 50% in. The writing was amazing just the characters didnt do anythinf for me. I just liked all of them the main ans secondary. And found it hard for me to place myself into the story i loved the cover
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It started off as just a fantasy story written between two girls who fantasized about the romance between two boys at their school... but one night after a drunken party one of those boys ends up dead and one of the girls who wrote the story has a blank memory of what happened that night... and she was the last one with him. Celeste  is the new girl in town, she has just moved to Montana from Montreal. She only makes one friend, Vivvy, the heir to the town’s founder and a social pariah. When an incident in school inspires both girls to begin writing a love-story fanfic between the popular guy and the school stoner, it gradually begins to reveal Celeste’s own past and her own traumas. Yet the more they write the more Vivvy keeps trying to make Celeste turn the fantasy into reality. Throw in dark small town initiation rites, a cave, teen drama, revenge, and trauma and you get a mystery. Celeste is trying to recall the events of the night that have left her with an empty blank, she knows she’s the last person to be the popular boy who died... and as the police begin to question everyone Celeste begins to question who actually killed him and if she did it. But the more she prods into who did it the more things begin to unravel around her and she will soon have to ask herself who she can truly trust and if she can even trust her own mind. The story moves between past and present to draw a picture of the main event, the main character Celeste made me cringe, I’m not going to lie, and so did Vivvy, its one thing to write fanfic about strangers or fictional characters its a whole different thing to do it with actual people and then try and make those things real. The trauma that is dealt with in this story was handled in an interesting way, especially with how Celeste used the make believe story to tell her own story. I found the format to be quite interesting but the overall mystery was lacking for me. The resolution to the mystery and the killer was okay and I definitely think it would be appealing to young adult readers. Overall, it was an okay read that did have suspenseful moments and I would definitely tell people to give it a try. 

*Thanks Netgalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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