Cover Image: We Made It All Up

We Made It All Up

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4/5 stars.  To be released July 2022.

I wasn't quite sure how to feel about this book when it started.  It started out with two girls, Celeste and Vivvy,  writing "fanfics" about two boys, Joss and Seth, at their school and that honestly gave me weird vibes.  Now that I've finished, those weird vibes were there on purpose as the novel delved into deeper and darker moments.  

The book is told in alternative chapters in the present and the past, centering around the death of a one of the boys the fanfics are about.   We find out Celeste has no recollection of the night the boy died, even though she was with him, and begins to question everyone around her, including herself.  Through the alternating chapters we learn about Celeste's past and her trauma that she uses the fanfics to essentially tell what happened to her through.  We also learn more a town secret and the impact it has had on all those involved. 

We Made It All Up is murder mystery whodunit layered with distrust and deception.  Be prepared to be unnerved and uncomfortable as you try to figure out who really did commit the crime.
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This book really burrows under your skin and lives there uncomfortably, but that's what makes it super impactful. 

Celeste and Vivvy are both reeling from trauma that they have no means of actually expressing in their lives, so the two bond together through fantasy and imaginings of two of their classmates' lives instead. This all blows up in their faces though when one of those classmates ends up dead after a night with the four of them goes awry. 

It's hard to distance yourself from how uncomfortable the fan fiction the two are writing about their classmates, Joss and Seth, but as the book goes on, it becomes clear that for Celeste, the fan fiction is her own way of expressing what she can't talk about to anyone else. Through this, the book becomes much more about Celeste dealing with her trauma and her own wondering if that same trauma could have caused her to do the unthinkable. It's rare that abuse is handled with such a deft hand in novels and I appreciated that the author didn't have to go into intense detail in order to convey the effect it had on Celeste's life and feelings of self-worth. It was nuanced and heart-breaking, and it stretches through every character. 

I highly recommend reading this and pushing past some of the initial discomfort of the premise because ultimately it is a story about trauma, healing, and how pain can bond and break people. 

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Normally YA thrillers/mysteries are my thing but for some reason I just couldn't get into this book. The book fell a bit flat to me which is not to say it was a horrible book just in my opinion I had a really hard time getting into it and finishing it. The premise was original and I liked the storytelling the past and present eventually converges so you can try and figure out the quote unquote mystery. I'd say a three out of five. Thank you to netgalley and the polisher for this ARC in exchange for a honest review.
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Thank you so much to Net Galley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

We Made it All Up is about Celeste, a girl who just moved from Montreal to Montana in order to escape her past. She meets Vivvy, and from there the two of them form a strong friendship centered around writing romance fanfic about the most popular guy in school, Joss, and the school’s stoner, Seth. These stories are all fun and games until Vivvy keeps trying to get Celeste to turn their stories into reality, and the night they try, Joss ends up dead with Celeste having no memories of what happened and potentially being the last person to see Joss alive. In trying to discover what really happened that night, Celeste realizes that everyone in town has dark secrets ready to come to light, including Joss and her new friend Vivvy. If you’re a fan of We We’re Liars and One of Us is Lying, you’ll love this book!

Things I liked:

I really enjoyed the Now/Then structure of the book. It avoided any large exposition dumps and made the story really compelling as you see the past and the present slowly come together. Also, the addition of the time stamps allowed for an extra sense of foreboding as the “Then” sections get closer and closer to the night Joss died. All-in-all, the book’s structure really aided in making this a book that I couldn’t put down.

I also thought the plot in general was just very well done. I predicted some aspects of the final picture, but I was not expecting how deep and complex it all was. Margot Harrison could’ve gone the cheap route with how everything the night Joss died happened, but what we got instead was something that was intricate and downright tragic in the end. The ending really blew away my expectations in every way possible.

I loved all the characters. They were all so interesting with flaws that felt very real, especially for teenagers, and it was so fun to see the juxtaposition of Joss and Seth in Celeste and Vivvy’s stories and the real Joss and Seth we meet in the book. At the end of the day, you just want to root for all of them because you’ve come to care about them in different ways.

Things I didn’t like:

I thought that there were some aspects of the plot that were underdeveloped and were made to seem like they would be bigger parts of the story when they just were resolved by one sentence in the last chapter or weren’t mentioned at all. I wish that there was a bit more explanation to those parts, but they weren’t enough to take me out of the story or make me enjoy it any less.
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This is probably just because YA thrillers aren't usually my thing... but I found this story lacking a bit. I really loved the premise. Fan fiction writers and a dead guy. Sounds thrilling, even if it is YA. However, I felt like the mystery fell flat, the characters were flat, and the overall feel of the book... was flat. It's very possible that young adults will love this, but as an adult reader of YA literature... I didn't like it.
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“We Made It All Up” is similar in structure to “Gone Girl”, with chapters alternating between Celeste’s past and present until they converge and move forward.  This a dark YA thriller, and I kept reading to find out more about Celeste’s past and what exactly happened with the death of a classmate after Celeste was the last person with him but couldn’t remember.
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This one is definitely every bit of everything the blurb promises. Equal parts gothic, mystery, and thriller,  it's a YA narrative centered around two girls and the complex mix of emotions, loss, and uncertain angst both within them and the town of Kray's Defile, itself a mix of so many things. Celeste and Vyvie come together one day when they witness an intense scene between small town hockey hero Joss, and Seth, a disaffected outsider who clearly has some strong feelings about Joss. Engaged with a fantasy ideal of the two young men as forbidden lovers, Celeste and Vyvie begin exchanging stories about the way they see them in their minds, connecting with each other through their daily interactions and consumed by the intensity of their stories. All of this seems to be perfectly harmless until Joss turns up dead after they gather for a secret campfire- Celeste having been the last to have been with him and completely unable to remember her final moments with him. 

Told through a narrative that slips smoothly between the present and the months leading up to that night, there isn't a word or moment wasted as Celeste struggles to uncover what really happened. The mystery itself is complex and ends up revealing a great deal about both girls, the town, and the truths hidden behind the perceptions we have about others. I'd absolutely recommend this one to fans of dark YA, gothics, thrillers, and mysteries centered around younger female protagonists.
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I got this eARC off of NetGalley and these opinions are my own. I thought this book was thrilling from start o finish! Celeste just moved to a new town where she develops a crush on the star hockey player Joss, and with new friend Vivvy she begins to right fan fiction about him. One morning after drinking the night before with Joss, Vivvy, and there other friend Seth she wakes up and can’t remember anything past a certain point and Joss is dead. Did she do it? She’ll set out to answer that question but could the answer lead to more sinister revelations? The book is told in two different time lines, the events from when Celeste first moves to town up until the night they drink and the events after she wakes up from the night of drinking. It was full of twists and turns that kept me reading until late into the night! I enjoyed reading about Celeste and her friends and found it interesting how Celeste used her fan fiction to talk about trauma that had happened before she ever moved to town! This book kind of had three separate storylines and all of them were captivating and kept me want to read the book! If you enjoy mysteries you definitely want to check this one out, can’t wait to read it again when it comes out! Margot Harrison did a fantastic job!
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Shout out to netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

So I really liked how the story was told in alternating chapters of past and present, converging on the immediate action in the now. I thought this was a smart way to allude to [ the abuse that Celeste experiences and hides and the way that influences how she comes to learn about the hidden abuse that many of her classmates suffered through and still hide, like Seth's hatred of Joss and Halsey's bullying of Vivvy. (hide spoiler)] From a sensitivity standpoint, that's not something I've ever experienced, so I can't speak to the authenticity of it. However, my own [ abuse left me with similar ideas of trying to be invisible and questioning if I was the one who was wrong for not trying harder when I wanted to say no. (hide spoiler)] In my own small way I can relate to Celeste, especially in all of the ways she doubts herself. I'll admit that I'm usually quick to figure out the end of stories or shows, but the narrative kept me guessing between what was fact and what was fiction. Bravo on that! Were there things I would have changed? Sure, like [ including more context into Celeste's past relationship/abuse with her acting coach. I don't necessarily want the gorey details, but I want justice for her. The Defilers got a bit of their own justice, but Celeste's abuser is never brought in. (hide spoiler)] Still, in life not everyone gets what they deserve. Overall, I'd recommend this book. I do enjoy a good psychological whodunit.
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honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this one. I thought that the characters were very one-dimensional, and the plot lagged a lot. not to mention that the mystery wasn't all that mysterious.
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We Made It All Up was a wild ride! It was an incredibly fun and intriguing atmospheric novel. I enjoyed the characters, and it was a quick read. I found the writing to be engaging and entertaining; I had an enjoyable time reading this and it held my attention the entire way through that I finished it within the day! I enjoyed every page and thought that the plot/story was very unique. Would recommend to anyone!
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***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WE MADE IT ALL UP by Margot Harrison in exchange for my honest review.***

Two friends write “fan fiction” about their classmates. What’s the line between fantasy and reality.

Margot Harrison’s word building is in peak form in WE MADE IT ALL UP. Celeste’s narration was clever while also sounding authentic. She could make even the oddest plot line readable.

I had a hard time with the creep factor of two teens writing stories about their classmates which felt like a social suicide scenario waiting to happen, even for outcasts. I liked the idea of two writer friends collaborating, something I did with friends in middle school.

The plot of what was real and who could be trusted had me going back and forth with theories and held me interest well after I should have been asleep.
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This book is a story about friendship but also a Thriller in a mystery at the same time.  It’s a slow bill to get to the main plot but absolutely worth it.  I couldn’t wait to find out what happened!
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