Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Release Date: August 11, 2009
Published by: Disney Hyperion

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Using the skills you've learned so far in Introduction to Psychology, please write a brief self-assessment describing how things are going in your freshman year.
Presenting Concerns:
The Patient, Leigh Nolan (that would be me), has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards, not Rorschach blots).
Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much.
Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream?
Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who’s badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, naive.
Diagnosis:
Psych Major Syndrome

First off, credit must go to the Compulsive Reader for posting a list of YA books that go beyond high school, because without it, I wouldn't have read Psych Major Syndrome, which, despite its flaws, will probably remain on my all-time-favorites list.

You want something that could be considered New Adult but that does not only focus on sex? You want to read something in a college setting? You like Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door? You like Lauren Morrill's debut Meant To Be? You like psychology? This book is for you.

Briefly I'll discuss its flaws before listing the reasons why I loved PMS (lol! just realized that was its acronym. I'm sure Leigh would love to make something of that). There are three issues that had me hesitating to put the book on my all-time-favorites list.
  • One: the author has a major in psychology and the main character is majoring in psychology, so you'd think that the MC would be less cavalier about referring to people as "psycho" and being on verge of "madness." I had thought that the author would be more careful about these things, given the mental illness stigma that persists in society today. On the same level, Leigh calls a few girls sluts (in her thoughts) because she is jealous and at times, she can be a bit judgmental in that regard.
  • Two: the author created a stereotypical dumb Chinese guy who only cared about money and wrote a stupid poem but still won a contest. Seriously? Alicia Thompson managed to create a wonderful Nicaraguan best friend, yet chose to create a Chinese character just for the sake of humor. No.
  • Three: Eh, kind of insta!love. I'm hesitating to call it insta!love because the chemistry and the foundation were definitely set, but since the MC was pining after her boyfriend not that long ago and had a "sudden realization" that she loved the real romantic interest, it came off a little forced. In a way, it reminds me of the romance in Seraphina; if that didn't bother you too much, you're good to go.

Now, why you should read this book:
  • LEIGH!!! Such a wonderfully snarky, nice, smart, funny, NEUROTIC protagonist who was well-developed and reminded me of a lot of my friends, actually. Oh, Leigh, whose real name is Tuesday. I would say more, but you should discover her for yourself. (I think, if I'm not mistaken, that she would be an ISFJ in Myers-Briggs, on the off chance that someone reading this is as interested in personality psychology as I am lol.) It was absolutely wonderful to read about Leigh's growth in this novel.
  • The secondary characters!  I loved the interactions between Leigh and her roommate best friend Ami. Loved scared and curious Rebekah and Leigh's eccentric parents and cool Joanna. Hated Andrew because GODS that boy is a jerk but people like him SO exist. All the characters (minus Chinese dude)! *flails*! Even the nemesis characters felt real (though sometimes a bit cliched), one because I actually know people who are like that and two because Leigh, with her tendency to over analyze everything, helped bring them to life.
  • The romance. Both of them. This is why I said it reminds me of Lola, because you can see that Andrew, like Max, does do some nice things, though you can also see that he is also overwhelmingly a  jerk and that Leigh, like Lola, deserves better. It's great to see her grow from her relationship with Andrew, though I personally had hoped their break would come earlier. And NATHAN is just adorable. A guitar playing math major who had a crush on Leigh from the start and who really listens and pays attention and brings out the best in her, though through their interactions, he has seen the worst of her. His grief also felt very palpable and rounded out his character.
  • The college setting (okay, minus the part where people seem to keep asking Leigh about her thesis, because uh, no one does that in your first semester-- like Leigh, I go to a small liberal arts school, so I am justified in writing that.). Classes and class projects and worries about majors and your future life and dorm life awkwardness and the fact that I could easily envision all the characters = win!
  • THE HUMOR. THIS BOOK. It had me grinning from ear to ear for a majority of the time.
  • The psychology tidbits that are included at the beginning of each chapter. Because hey, I took intro psych and have taken other psych classes and I still didn't know about some of those concepts.

!! Okay, so I just realized the flaws section looks so much bigger than I thought it did. Believe me, though, those flaws were very minor, and even if the book has a bit of a cliche ending, check this one out if you can!

23 comments:

  1. I'll definitely add this to my wishlist, it looks great! I've been trying to find YA books that aren't set in high school lately, so this is perfect. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my God! You read this book! It's one of my favorite books I read in 2012. Nathan was so adorable. It's nice to read about hot guys who know can count. Haha

    Hope Thompson writes something new soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oooh, I've never heard of this one, but I'm adding it on GR RIGHT NOW. You had me at humor!

    ReplyDelete
  4. AHH!! I have had this one sitting on my shelf and I keep putting it off even though it has intrigued me since I first read the synopsis.

    The psychology aspect is the part I liked the idea of most. I love trying to figure people out. And it's funny you mention Myers-Briggs because I was JUST looking different personality types up on Wikipedia. I was actually trying to figure out what type a friend of mine is, lol.

    Your review is awesome, I love how you touched on everything! I think this one is getting a bump up my current to-read list. ;) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds really good! I love NA so will have to read this, i have always been interested in psychology aswell so that should be a cool part of the book.

    Laura @Bookish Treasures blog

    ReplyDelete
  6. You had me at the mention of Lola and the Boy Next Door. I loved that book, and I can tell this will be something I will enjoy too. Plus, there's HUMOUR? Count me in! :)

    Brilliant review, Christina.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Why haven't I heard of this book before Christina?! It sounds like something I would love:) The almost instalove sounds like something I'll be able to get over despite my general dislike for it, mostly because I absolutely adore the sound of Leigh and the cast of secondary characters. If the characters are brilliant, I can overlook a lot of things:) Thanks for putting this one on my radar!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How have I not heard of this book before?! I loved Lola & the Boy Next Door and Meant to Be, so this sounds like the perfect book for me. Even the downsides don't seem that bad (I wasn't put off by the romance in Seraphina, so I'm good to go). So excited to read this! Wonderful review :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I heard about this book before but I didnt pay that much attention. All the things you wrote about it got me more interested and I cant Wait to read about Leigh and Nathan

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was getting more and more disappointed over the points on what you didn't like and while that would annoy me, I cannot wait to read this because of the rest of the review! Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Taylor - Me too! Let me know if you find others :).

    @Zemira - NATHAN IS SO ADORABLE. And me too. I would love to read from her.

    @Christina - Yay!! Humor is always a great element in books.

    @Jessica S. - Don't put it off any longer ;). LOL I am ALWAYS trying to do that with my friends too!! (Psst - what type are you :D?)

    @Laura - NA fans will definitely enjoy this one too!

    @Sam - I agree; LOLA + humor = a great combo, and I hope you enjoy PMS :D.

    @Jenny & Lauren - I hadn't heard about it either before! But I'm so glad I got to read it, and I hope you lovely ladies get a chance to as well :).

    @Lea - Leigh/Nathan = ADORABLE.

    @Sunny - Ahhh, I made the list of negatives too long... So much easier to write about the things that bother me than that I enjoy. Clearly something I need to change.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ahhh, I made the list of negatives too long... So much easier to write about the things that bother me than that I enjoy. Clearly something I need to change.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I hadn't heard about it either before! But I'm so glad I got to read it, and I hope you get a chance to as well :). SERAPHINA's romance didn't bother me much either and i loved loved loved MTB and LOLA!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I hadn't heard about it either before! But I'm so glad I got to read it, and I hope you get a chance to too :D :D. The characters are indeed brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree; LOLA + humor = a great combo, and I hope you enjoy PMS :D.

    ReplyDelete
  16. NA fans will definitely enjoy this one too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Don't put it off any longer ;). LOL I am ALWAYS trying to do that with my friends too!! (Psst - what type are you :D?)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yay!! Humor is always a great element in books.

    ReplyDelete
  19. NATHAN IS SO ADORABLE. And me too. I would love to read from her.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Me too! Let me know if you find others :).

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm a psych grad student. People definitely aren't more careful about calling people "psycho", even the PhDs. Sad fact. But anyway, so happy that you introduced me to this book! I'd love to read NA but everyone keeps saying they're all just sex and romance, which is not my thing. So it's nice to know there's some fun and humor out there too.

    C.J.

    Sarcasm & Lemons

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yes, although this book, I don't think, was created with NA in mind, it is the perfect example of what NA *could* be if there was less focus on sex and romance. (That still plays a role here but a lot less than in the other typical NA books.)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting my blog! Please make sure to indicate your blog name so that I can return the favor later :).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...