Review: Psych Major Syndrome

January 28, 2014 book review 9

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Released: August 11, 2009
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 330
Format: hardcover

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

After seeing a raving review from my soulmate Angie at Disquietus Reads, I just knew that this book was going to be something that I needed to read, and stat. Her raving and my impeccable sense of what I will and will not like proved to be correct: I really liked this book!

Leigh is starting her freshman year of college and is studying to become a Psychology major. She, like everyone who has ever taken a Psychology class, is taking everything she is learning in class and is applying it to her real life and those around her. Andrew, her high school boyfriend of over a year is a Philosophy major and he is seeming to have fewer and fewer patience with Leigh or their relationship in general. PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME follows Leigh during her first semester of school, her relationship, friendships, and just trying to figure out life along the way.

I immediately liked Leigh. She deals with the very common issues that happen when you first start out college: figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, stressing over grad school decisions that don’t matter until your senior year, what to do about your slowly dying high school relationship, the delicate balance between school and your social life, etc. She is also addicted to Dunkin Donuts coffee just like me. She was an incredibly likable and relatable character. She had a fresh personality with a witty humor and wasn’t afraid to go against the typical grain. There were moments when I thought she was being a bit dumb but could understand her motives, especially in regards to her dud of a boyfriend, Andrew. She had some great character growth, learned from her mistakes, and made things right.

Thompson’s secondary characters were just as interesting and well-developed. Andrew was a jerk, to put simply. I could not for the life of me understand what Leigh saw in him and why she continued to stay with him. It was probably the whole “he’s safe” thing but still! Nathan, Andrew’s roommate on the other hand, was awesome. He was the complete opposite of Andrew in every way. He was kinder, wasn’t too preoccupied with his studies to notice things, and was easily my favorite guy in the whole book. I loved Leigh’s roommate, Ami, and thought she brought a great dynamic to the table. She was an art major and was quirky and complemented Leigh in the best way.

One of my favorite subplots in the book was the mentoring program that Leigh volunteered in. She went to a middle school with a group of other psych majors and helped mentor “at risk” adolescents. Leigh had a tendency to stick her foot in her mouth about some issues but wasn’t afraid to expose these girls to the cold hard facts about life. I loved watching her make an impact on these girls and let them be themselves around her, and she them. I really appreciated the fact that Thompson let the readers get a glimpse into one girl’s life in particular, Rebekah. She was 15 and was spunky as hell. Her story line intrigued me and the friendship she built with Leigh was perfect.

PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME is about growing up, not settling for something you think you deserve when clearly, you deserve better. It’s about not competing with others. It’s about following your heart and trusting your instincts and not being afraid to take a leap, even if you might fall. With extremely enjoyable characters, a well-drawn out plot, and real world issues, PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME is a great contemporary to pick up.

4.5 Thought Clouds

Christine

9 Responses to “Review: Psych Major Syndrome”

  1. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    I’ve seen this around for years, but have never picked it up. It sounds pretty fun, but also realistic. I was a psych major for the first 3 years of college, so I could probably definitely relate to her. I’ll have to give this a try. Great review!

    • Christine P

      Yes! You would definitely be able to relate to her then! Instead of chapter numbers or titles, each chapter has a psych term and its definition at the top. That chapter somehow related to that term. It was fun!

  2. Cait

    This sounds like a book I NEED (but I almost always say that…gaaah, you’re good at selling books XD). I love it when there are character-friends of different ages too. The dynamics are always different and so interesting. 🙂

    • Christine P

      Haha well thank you, I will definitely take that comment, although I’m completely unapologetic about making your TBR list extremely long 😉 I loved Rebekah and Leigh’s friendship. You can tell that they both feed off each other and teach other important lessons about life. It was awesome!

  3. Summer McDaniel

    Yay! A great college book! I know I have to read this now after your review. I get annoyed at the “he’s safe” kind of jerky boyfriends, but at least there’s a roommate to fix that 😉 The subplots sound great as well as the developed secondary characters (a must!). I definitely need this.

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