Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Symptoms of My Insanity

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf
4/5 stars
Dial Books, 2013
374 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Library

I hadn't seen much about this book around the blogosphere but I read a really funny interview with the author at Badass Bookie, which made me think this might be a good book for me as I'm always up for comedy especially over the drama and serious books that sometimes seem to get coverage around the blogosphere. That impression was right as this book definitely had its humorous moments albeit balanced against serious moments as well.

The basic plot centers on Izzy whose life is chaos-she's a hypochondriac, her mother is recovering from a rare cancer, her best friend seems to have changed personalities, her ex-best friend is all of a sudden friendly again, and her long-time crush actually seems to be interested in her. Not too mention her older sister's nitpicking, her best friend's suddenly cute older brother, and her extracurricular commitments like an art portfolio for a trip to Italy. Not so basic after all, I guess and that was my big complaint about this book. There's just so much stuffed in here and I wish a few subplots had been taken out as I felt overwhelmed. I know it's fitting for the book because that's what Izzy comes to realize but I don't think it's the best feeling for a reader to have.

However within that multitude of subplots are some real winners. Of particular interest to me were two. One was the relationships between women. Izzy has many important women in her life: her mother, her older sister, her best friend, her ex-best friend, her mom's best friend, and her art teacher being some of the most important. These relationships have their ups and downs but they do show the wonderful world of female friendship and family that I feel is sometimes missing from YA. Nobody is perfect or always right, mistakes are sadly made that fray the bonds, but in the end, they are there for each other. Relatedly is my second point of interest: a bit of an "I am Spartacus" moment when the girls at school bond together to protect Izzy against a potential punishment. Now I'm a bit upset that the boy who is actually responsible received no explicit punishment; rather it is implied that the poor company he keeps and the bad decisions he makes will earn him his just reward.

Overall: A pretty funny and moving story-I hope it starts to get more attention among contemporary fans! It just felt very smart and down to earth, real and touching in the best ways.

Other Opinions:
Badass Bookie
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
Ex Libris
Paper Riot

16 comments:

  1. This sounds like something that is really different than what I normally find in YA. What you said about it exploring the relationships between females is what really makes me want to read it. Wonderful review. Thanks for making me aware of this book!

    I also really like that you link to other reviews for another perspective. I sometimes do that when writing a review for a book I didn't care for.

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    1. Yes, I really appreciated the relationships between women and I think a lot of other readers too so I made sure to highlight that. Hope you decide to check it out!

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  2. Sounds awesome! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. We had maybe seen the cover (gorgeous) or heard the title (hehe) awhile ago, but like you said, this seems to have slipped under most people's radar, so we kind of forgot about it. Now we plan to check it out, though!

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    1. I think the ARC had a different (more colorful) cover but its official release had this simpler one and it didn't seem to get much attention unfortunately.

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  3. I think sounds great. I don't mind the subplot, but might get lost a time or too if there is too many. I like that the family is present in it too. Great review.

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    1. The subplots were pretty well-integrated; there were just SO many!

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  4. Sounds like a few too many subplots to me but the overall premise is definitely intriguing! I do like when the focus is on one main plot with maybe one or two subs at the most.

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    1. Definitely packed but still worth a read!

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  5. The women relationships sound great, I need to pick this up.

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  6. Sounds interesting -- and I probably would have completely overlooked this if not for your review!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. I am sad it didn't get much buzz but then I feel like contemporaries rarely do so it's unfortunate but not surprising. Hope you do decide to pick it up (and enjoy it!)

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  7. I hadn't seen this one at all! It has a very catching title. I might, just might...

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    1. Yes, give it a try (especially if your library has it ;)

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  8. I do like contemporary, so I think I would like this one. I love the sound of the friendships in this one.

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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    1. Yes, it's a pretty good contemporary and a bit on the unique side (says the girl who has read a lot of YA contemporary).

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