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April 13, 2013

Review: The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

The Symptoms of My Insanity

Title: The Symptoms of My Insanity
Author: Mindy Raf
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Publication date: April 18, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
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.
The Symptoms of My Insanity is a laugh out loud novel with a girl who is a hypochondriac. If you don't know what that is here is the definition: 
A Hypochondriac is someone with an excessive preoccupation with and worry about one's health. 
Basically Izzy is a girl who is so obsessive about her health that it preoccupies all her time and everything she does. This is mainly because her mother actually suffers from a rare illness and it seems like the only way she is able to cope with it is by submerging herself in medical forums and searching up every tiny and even imaginative symptom she thinks she has. I found that to be quite funny. One time she would be talking to the guy she likes sitting on a sofa but she would also be thinking of how dirty that pillow is and maybe she shouldn't lean too far back because she might contract a rare fungus that would make her drop dead or something. I really enjoyed these scenes. However I didn't enjoy the whole romantic plot in this novel. It felt a bit too predictable and forced at times. This is a book where I feel that the omission of the romance actually benefits the novel. 
I did enjoy some of the characters in The Symptoms of My Insanity, specifically Izzy's mom's Yiddish talk as well as Pam, who is Izzy's mom's best friend. I loved how caring Pam was and wished I got to see more of her. Izzy's best friend was a bit annoying at times, especially when she kept on piling work on Izzy even though she knows she's already preoccupied with her mother's sickness as well as getting ready to complete her art portfolio that is due. There is also Marcus, who is Jenna's brother and potential love interest. He was very charming in a goofy kind of way. At times I also didn't like Izzy's monologues. 
I have to say that The Symptoms of My Insanity was a bit too long for such a plot and I hoped some parts were omitted. All in all it was enjoyable, especially the humorous parts of the novel. It was also heartwarming, especially the hospital scenes between Izzy, her sister, and her mom. I did have some issues with it, but it was a great contemporary novel.


  1. I have this on my reader but haven't seen any reviews, yet. It sounds interesting, but that's too bad about the plot being drawn out. Great review!

  2. Sounds like it will be interesting. Great review. I will be keeping an eye out for it.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. I didn't think the romance was needed either. I wasn't a fan of this book but I liked her moms Yiddish. That was fun.

  4. Sounds like it had a lot of humour throughout the story, even though it was dealing with illness. Izzy sounds like a lot of fun to read about!

  5. Great review! The concept of this book sounds so interesting. I love contemporary but I don't read enough of it, so this one sounds good to read. It is a shame that it had a few issues though. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Good review. I like the humor aspect of the story, and that title is interesting. I'll give it a go :)

  7. LOL! That does sound pretty funny. ;) but I get what you mean about maybe being too long. There are tons of books out there that could've been better edited. lovely review!

  8. It's too bad the book is too long for the plot. I'm not sure if I'll pick up this book yet. Great review!

  9. This sounds great and really funny :) Even if the romance isn't too great, I still will definitely be checking this out. Amazing review!

  10. Although some parts felt unnecessary, I'm glad you liked this one overall! I think it's pretty interesting that the main character is a hypochondriac. I always considered myself one, but I'm not, not really. ;) Great review as always!

  11. Never heard of this and I love the concept! I'm going to check it out.

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

  12. I have heard mixed reviews of this book, but I was still very excited to read it! And I actually didn't know she is a hypochondriac( I just loved the cover :D). Yeah, I judged it from the cover! Great review of pointing out the negatives and positives! I'm still going to look out for it, because it sounds like a cute read.

  13. 384 pages is sort of long for a contemporary. I like the idea of the humor but the constant irrational fears that come with be a hypochondriac might get on my nerves. Good to see you enjoyed this overall, Juhina. Great review. :)

  14. I also think a lot could have been cut from Symptoms, allowing for a strengthening of the other plots. I feel like a lot of what was covered didn't get resolved or didn't get resolved well.

    One point you mentioned that I totally forgot to write about is how awesome Pam is. She was probably my favorite character, which is a bit odd, but whatever. She amused me.

  15. I had almost the exact same feelings when I read this book, but I thought it was dragged out a bit. And you're right, the length was quite unnecessary. I didn't laugh much but I like how author Mindi Raf tries to tell us that anyone can be a victim of anything at anytime! Awesome review, Juhina! :D

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  16. This book was definitely heart-warming, but I had some issues with the AMOUNT of issues tackled in this story. To me, it just felt like the author was taking too much on for such a short novel. But I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I did too, even though it didn't blow my mind like I thought it would.

  17. This sounds interesting. I'm not really sure what I'd think of this book. But it does sound a bit long which can drag down a novel. I'm getting frustrated with the books lately putting too many issues in them. I might have to stay away from this one.