We Made It All Up

We Made It All Up
Age Range
Release Date
July 12, 2022
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A contemporary, high-stakes thriller about how reality becomes more twisted than the fantasy novel two friends are writing when the real-life subject of their fiction turns up dead and they’re the suspects, for fans of Mare of Easttown and One of Us Is Lying.

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 founder and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fanfic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While her bond with Vivvy 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.

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intriguing YA suspense
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WE MADE IT ALL UP is an overall engaging YA mystery/suspense. Celeste is the new kid in town, having moved to this small town in Montana from Montreal. She is ever conscious of not fitting in and still coping with the things she physically but not emotionally left behind. Things change for her when she meets Vivvy, who is still coping with what happened to her when she was in the 8th grade. Vivvy is unusual and special in a way that appeals to Celeste, and they begin to put together fanfic about some classmates - one of whom is later found murdered.

The story takes place in the 2.5 months leading up to the night it all happened as well as in the present, after Celeste wakes up without any memory of the night before - the night when her classmate was with her and then found dead.

What I loved: The premise of this was intriguing, and the case was definitely one that was easy to become invested in. Celeste is an unreliable narrator, in part because she does not remember the night but also in part because she is carrying a lot of baggage from her past. The now and then pace works well to set up what had happened before and what is going on with the investigation now, as the high schoolers are searching for the murderer in their midst.

Themes around assault, drug/alcohol abuse, friendship, abuse of power, coping with trauma, bullying, hazing, and revenge make this a more potent read. As the book continues, Celeste begins to learn about the troubling past of many of the main characters and the motives people could have had. Many of them are coping with what had happened and still trying to heal - or wanting revenge.

What left me wanting more: I had some trouble connecting with the story early on, as much of it felt pretty peripheral, but the ending definitely picks up the pace. It felt pretty lengthy as it gets moving and the answers are slow to come, especially since I felt like I could guess it pretty early.

Final verdict: WE MADE IT ALL UP is an overall intriguing YA suspense/mystery that deals with some big themes.
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