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The Symptoms of My Insanity Hardcover – 18 Apr 2013


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Review

Rave Reviews for The Symptoms of My Insanity! It's a generous book, overstocked with characters and dialogue, and it should succeed in putting any reader's problem into a wider, and funnier, perspective.--Booklist [A] realistic debut . . . What could be tragic events for Izzy are tempered by her self-deprecating humor, plenty of female support and a chance for real romance.--Kirkus Reviews Raf's writing style is light and funny yet grounded in the often painful sensibilities of teenagers.--VOYA Readers will likely appreciate a refreshing upheaval of mean-girl stereotypes.-Publishers Weekly Run like the dickens . . . and order this bad boy right now! --MTV's Hollywood Crush Blog --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Mindy Raf ( www.mindyraf.com) is a writer, comedienne, and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. She has written for CollegeHumor, VH1, TNT, The Daily Comedy Network, and was a contributor to the My Parents Were Awesome anthology. She has been invited to perform at the Women in Comedy Festival, SketchFestNYC, and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, where she was named a stellar surprise by The Portland Mercury. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Debut Full of Wit and Laugh-Out-Loud Moments 18 April 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ok from page one, I was laughing out loud. In fact, I was laughing so hard that I had to read the first couple of pages to my mom, who was also began laughing out loud. Possibly, many people wouldn't enjoy the book half as much as I do *I have seen a lot of 3-Star reviews*. Still, I found the book to be one of the funniest books I have read so far this year.

Izzy is a sorta-hypochondriac, not that she recognizes it. She is constantly worrying about what is wrong with her. She is probably trying to avoid the fact that her mother has a rare form of cancer. Plus she is running out of time to create a kick-butt art portfolio. Her best friend really wants a huge chunk of her free time for the school musical. And as always, there is a boy, though all may not be what it seems.

Maybe I am just a fan of snarky humor. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed the book as much as I did. I understand what it means to be clueless. I got Izzy. I really understood her crazy which is probably why I loved the book. Now granted, I'm not a hypochondriac. I probably don't worry enough about what's wrong with me. Still, when I've had people I loved get really sick, I wanted to do anything to make them better. And I definitely wasn't always able to see things right in front of my face during high school. Izzy may be quite the naive character, but it works.

I will say that I kind of knew where some things were going, and it was like watching an upcoming train wreck. I wanted to scream at Izzy, but still I loved her. A lot of girls will understand what it's like to be Izzy when it comes to her new-found love life. And so many of us can relate to the high school issues she faces. The book is a bit overwhelming because Izzy is facing so much. I can understand who it may be too much for some people, but I just rolled with it. The Symptoms of My Insanity is full of laugh-out-loud moments, clever wit, and relatable characters that are easy to love.

I sincerely recommend this book to any book lover who really enjoys contemporary and snarky humor and can handle the book drama. It's a pretty fabulous read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very Realistic...and Funny! 19 April 2013
By TDR85 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
YA fiction is attracting some very good new talent and Mindy Raf is among the best based on her debut novel. The writing is sharp and witty but what's really outstanding are the realistically drawn characters who inhabit Ms. Raf's world starting with Izzy herself. Izzy always reacts like I think a teenager would and though dealing with a seemingly overwhelming number of issues, both minor and major, she manages to land on her feet, though it gets very rough at moments and understandably so.

The novel starts with Izzy convincing herself she may have cancer and throughout the course of the book a number of other self-diagnoses are made - Izzy is a hyperchondriac. Perhaps she has become one because her Mom is suffering from a longterm debilitating disease that appears to be in remission. But then her Mom seems to be keeping things from her. Izzy's parents are divorced and her Dad is barely mentioned in the story, indeed there are hardly any adult males in this book. A boy she has a crush on seems to be interested in her, but maybe he's moving too fast? Her best friend gives her the cold shoulder. And there are looming deadlines for important school and outside projects. Or maybe Izzy is just a bit distracted? As the pressures mount, Izzy struggles through, with the help (at times) of both her family and friends. The situations she faces are serious but there is a steady droll humor that suits the story wonderfully.

Topical issues are dealt with - possibly fatal illness, hazing, sexual assault, illicit photos gone viral - but all within the context of a well told story. There is also friendship, family and even some romance.
A review from Bookworm1858 17 Nov. 2013
By bookworm1858 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
Hilarious and full of heart 20 May 2013
By K. Sowa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
3.5 Stars

You get right away that Izzy is dealing with a lot in her life. Her hypochondria is clearly a coping mechanism for an absent father and a mom who shields her daughters from the severity of her illness. Pair that with a body that she clearly isn't comfortable with and Izzy's ability to keep everyone happy becomes more and more difficult. Something that really struck me about this book was how funny the writing was. Even though the subject matter was very serious, Izzy's voice is laugh-out-loud funny. The smart and snarky dialogue was an excellent contrast to the heavy things that Izzy was dealing with. Her mom's attempts to be involved in her life were sweet but also supplied a lot of the humor. Overall, I thought the supporting characters in this story were all interesting and fun to read.

Izzy's hilarious inner voice almost made me forget how confused and in pain she was for a lot of this story, which is how the people around her were also distracted. As long as she could convince people that she was still amiable and funny, they wouldn't look too closely. Her apparent need to please everyone and make things as smooth as possible for everyone else was at a great personal sacrifice for her. She was, for lack of a better word, a pushover for much of the book. I found that frustrating, but only because I really liked her and I wanted her to stand up and demand some things for herself, as well. It was through her friends that she finally found the courage to do that. When something totally humiliating happened, it made her realize that living in her own tightly controlled world didn't work as well as reaching out and being present for herself and for her friends. The ending was just bittersweet enough to give me hope, but not so sugary sweet that is was unrealistic. The Symptoms Of My Insanity was not exactly what I expected, but it was definitely a book with a lot of wit, humor, and heart.
A fantastic debut. 14 May 2013
By E. Kristin Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found myself describing this book to friends while I was reading it. Conversations went like this:

Me: I'm reading this super fun book!
Friend: Oooooh!
Me: It's this book about this girl who is an artist and there's a boy she likes and he seems too good to be true and then there's the fact that she has pretty intense hypochondria and her mom has this really weird cancer and --
Friend: I thought you said it was fun?
Me: Oh, yeah, I know all this serious stuff is, like, tragic, but, I swear, it's HILARIOUS.

So that's the lowdown. THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf is sneaky. With all the awful stuff going on in the protagonist, Izzy's, life, she has this fantastic, snarky attitude that manages to find these sweet silver linings. I loved hearing about her art portfolio. I loved watching her confront the issues in her relationship with her sister. I loved her reactions to her overbearing BFF who signed her up to be an assistant director of the musical, even though she's on superdeadline with her art AND taking care of her sick mom. And I loved how much Izzy knows she's got a problem with this hypochondria thing and manages to make fun of herself even though she's seriously concerned she's probably dying of who knows what.

There's also some serious high school issues going on that are SUPER relevant to these oh-so-digital times we're living in, but I can hardly reveal those without spoiling. So, you know, read the book and find out! You'll be glad you did.

I highly recommend THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY to fans of John Green, David Levithan's humorous work (like his collaborations with Rachel Cohn), and Lauren Myracle. It's a fantastic debut, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work.
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