A Reader Opines: The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

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The Symptoms of My Insanity
Publication: April 18th 2013 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult | Realistic Fiction | Contemporary
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I like book covers, but don’t usually choose to read a book just because the cover looks cool. I’m a title person. A book’s title is the first thing I notice when looking for my next read. You gotta admit The Symptoms of My Insanity is a very intriguing title.

Summary taken from Goodreads:
A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet debut full of wit, wisdom, heart, and a hilarious, unforgettable heroine.

When you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really wrong.

I almost raised my hand, but what would I say? “Mr. Bayer, may I please be excused? I’m not totally positive, but I think I might have cancer.” No way. Then everyone at school would know, and they would treat me differently, and I would be known as “Izzy, that poor girl who diagnosed herself with breast cancer during biology.”

But Izzy’s sense of humor can only get her so far when suddenly her best friend appears to have undergone a personality transplant, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her beautiful maybe-boyfriend is going all hot and cold. Izzy thinks she’s preparing for the worst-case scenario, but when the worst-case scenario actually hits, it’s a different story altogether—and there’s no tidy list of symptoms to help her through the insanity.

Author Mindy Raf tackles multiple issues with finesse: negative self-image, the illness of a parent, art as therapy and peer to peer problems. She shuttles the subplots of conflict and crisis throughout the story like a weaver wefts threads through the warp ends. The result is a beautifully woven tapestry of the symptoms of living.

Izzy is a fantastic character and it was a pleasure to get to know her. Although first person point of view isn’t my favorite, I admit this story couldn’t have been told any other way. The supporting characters are multi-dimensional, lending authenticity to Izzy’s plight. At the heart of the story is Izzy’s own coping skills and how they affect everyone around her, both negatively and positively.

This book will make you laugh out loud and cry. It will anger and exasperate you. Prepare to ride an emotional roller coaster, but know when the ride is over you’ll realize it was worth your time.

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