We Made It All Up
Little, Brown Books
Published July 12, 2022
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About We Made It All Up
Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.
Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.
The opening pages of WE MADE IT ALL UP hooked me in immediately. Right away, I loved Vivvy and all of her glorious strangeness. It took me longer to figure out Celeste, I think because she felt very much like a person caught in their fight or flight instinct. Once I understood what was going on and why she acted that way, I found it much easier to connect with her.
In the book, Celeste and Vivvy write a love story about two boys in their town who appear to hate each other. I don’t know how I felt about that story. Like, was I supposed to judge the writing? Because it felt like something two high school kids could have written, which seems appropriate, since that is what it is? But also, it felt like… fetishizing? I’m not the right person to make that judgment call, I think. But it did give me some pause.
Beyond that, I think the focus on some of the heavier sexual content could be challenging for some readers. The story definitely gets dark in some parts.
I liked that the story has so many layers, though. It also has this winding feeling to it, where things tend to loop back around and add new information that changes what you think is happening. I love that. It reminded me a bit of WE WERE LIARS in that way.
On the whole, I liked the part of the story in which Celeste dealt with what had happened to her before she moved to her dad’s. I also thought the characters were really well developed and consistent.
Content warning for mentions of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse, violence, smoking, drinking alcohol and mentions of drug use.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white. One minor character is gay.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. Kissing between two boys.
See violent content for sexual violence.
One of Celeste’s teachers stalked and eventually raped her. No graphic description of the rape, but her trauma is evident.
Teens drink alcohol. Mentions of smoking marijuana. One character sells marijuana, too.
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