Author: Alicia Thompson
Publication Date: 8/11/09
Blurb (GR): 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.
Psych Major Syndrome
In the movie So I Married An Axe Murderer, which is mega-quotable, Mike Myers’ dad (also played by Mike Myers, but with a Scottish accent) says that he believes there is a pentaverate of rich people that run everything in the world. My favorite member of the pentaverate is Colonel Sanders. (“because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly, smartass!”) Anyway, I’ve started my own collection of people—the hilarious YA authors. Remember that old show called “Celebrity Poker” where we’d just watch a bunch of random celebrities play poker and shoot the shit for an hour? (or at least I did that?) Well, I’d love to watch the hilarious YA authors do their thing in an enclosed space. Who’d be funnier? I really don’t know.
Let’s meet the lineup:
Well, since you are reading my Psych Major Syndrome review, I bet you know the first player: Alicia Thompson. Next up is Lish McBride, who rocked my funny bone in Hold Me Closer Necromancer. In corner number three, Leila Sales, who cracked me up twice, first in Past Perfect (which is actually her sophomore effort coming out in a few months) and then in Mostly Good Girls. The fourth corner is saved for Megan McCafferty and the first few Jessica Darling books. (don’t fault her too much for the later ones!) I haven’t read her books in a few years but I think 18-year-old Flann might come after me with a cleaver if I don’t include her since she was my original funny YA love. Oh, you thought we were in a four-cornered room? Well, the joke's on you because I’m also including Louise Rennison in our pentagonal room. Her Georgia Nicolson series, though I’ve only read a few of them, is pretty hilarious. Some might try to argue that John Green belongs in here. Shush your mouth because while he is funny, his books aren’t consistently hilarious—it’s just every once in a while. A special mention must be put in here, though, for the Aussies. Their sense of humor always gets me. I particularly enjoy Lili Wilkinson’s jokes as well as the queen’s (The double-M, as if you didn’t know) and Laura Buzo's. If I hadn’t decided before I wrote this paragraph that there would be 5 people, Wilkinson would be a shoo-in. I guess she’ll just have to guest star all the time. I’m only going to talk about Ms. Thompson from here on out but I’m really curious to know who you all think is the funniest YA author out there. Any of these ones? Someone totally different?
In Psych Major Syndrome, Leigh Nolan is attending a small college in California where they do a lot of hippie things like let you decide how you’ll be graded and invent your own everything. (I’m still bitter about taking Development of Western Civilization every day for two years) She quasi-followed her high school boyfriend, Andrew, there and the relationship is less than ideal. This book follows Leigh for a few months during her freshman year as she tries to adapt to all the personalities that surround her—the uptight studyhard in the psych department, her flighty and fun art major roommate, the sassy junior high girls she is mentoring, her boyfriend, who only seems to care about schoolwork and not her, and last but certainly not least, his roommate who has taken a particular interest in Leigh. (that sentence has too many commas but you’ll get over it) While I wanted to slap Leigh upside the head for staying with Andrew for even one minute after getting to school, I (sadly) know people in relationships just like Leigh and Andrew’s. Gross. The whole plot of this book is rather well-worn territory and just by introducing the cast in one sentence, I bet you can see where it goes... What makes this book so enjoyable is the narrator.
Everything I thought, Leigh thought. Everything I wanted a character to say (with limited exceptions), they said. Leigh is snarky, realistic, and hilarious. She’s definitely flawed but I found her immensely likeable. And Nathan? Swoonfest 2K11. Even though I kind of feel like a pedophile when YA guys are all over the place with no shirts on, at least this one was set at college so it wasn’t the worst of the worst. (He’ll definitely be joining the back of our Cougar Shirt—forgot about that thread, didn’t you? It WILL be happening, I just don’t know when) It felt like this book was written just for me. I love when psych majors overanalyze everything. I love Tom Waits and TMBG! I love when teenagers drive old cars in a non-hipster way, and I especially love pop culture references. (Hollaback Girl;-)) Oh, and I love reading about people being mortified in public speaking situations.
4.5 stars for the entertainment value and the laughs (and Nathan). Don't go thinking that I'm gushing all over this book and want YOU/EVERYONE to read it. I don't. It's YA contemporary romance with snark. If that's your bag, then I rec it to you.