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The Symptoms of My Insanity Hardcover – April 18, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (April 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732414
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,362,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Michigan teen Izzy has a lot going on: the deadline for her art portfolio is looming, her best friend has stopped talking to her, her breasts are drawing unwanted attention, her crush might (or might not) be interested in her, she can't stop her hypochondriac ways-and, oh yeah, her mom's cancer might not be in remission after all. It's no wonder she's not sure if she can keep it together. Raf's debut is a mix of true-to-life and the unbelievable. With so much happening for Izzy, the story feels crowded, which lessens the impact of her real crises and makes the resolution feel a little underdeveloped, especially the lack of consequences for a pack of sexting students. Every adult in the book condemns even a hint of teenage sexuality-even something as mild as wearing scoop-neck tops. Raf's dialogue is unusually halting and full of ellipses, which mirrors real-life conversations but makes exchanges between the characters drag. While the plot is predictable (Izzy and her mother eventually come to understand each other better, the popular boy who shows a sudden interest is really operating under a dare, another love interest is hiding in plain sight), Izzy's self-deprecating humor and wry observations bring fresh air to tired tropes. Raf's background in comedy serves her well and gives her protagonist an authenticity that will make readers feel invested in her story. A fairly standard contribution to the genre, but a solid one.-Gretchen Kolderup, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Izzy, 15, isn’t your typical anxious teen. She is a straight-up “cyberchondriac”—her sister dubs her Disease Louise—who scours the Internet to find horrid diagnoses to explain her every little ache and pain. It’s somewhat understandable, given her mom’s recovery from (and possible relapse of?) a rare stomach cancer. As if this stress isn’t enough, Izzy has a play to assistant direct, three paintings to finish for a shot at an art scholarship, and oh yeah, you know, boys. Handsome Blake is finally paying attention to her—an attention that leads to a circulated snapshot of her breast that lends her the moniker Boobgirl. Isn’t there a sweet, cute guy who would treat her right? (Romance readers know the answer: he has been right there all along!) Raf’s welcome debut alternates between hilarious neuroticism (hyperaware make-out session play-by-plays) and effective scenes of panic attacks as Izzy tries to deal with her mom’s worsening condition. 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. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

Mindy Raf is a writer, comedy performer, and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and grew up in a suburb of Detroit right around here (visualize the bottom of your left thumb. Mindy has written for CollegeHumor, VH1, TNT, The Daily Comedy Network, and was a contributor to the My Parents Were Awesome anthology. She continues to perform stand-up and music across the country.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I teach high school and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Lynnie
Still, when I've had people I loved get really sick, I wanted to do anything to make them better.
Kindle Customer
The story was humorous and the characters were real and engaging.
Joe Pletcher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on April 18, 2013
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TDR85 on April 18, 2013
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book deserve a 5 star rating, why? The author managed to get me all riled up that's why!
This story revisited such antics one had seen or experience during those teen years. Either good or bad experiences it was, "Ugh!" Idiots galore, why they exist, who knows? Poor Izzy, she was a mixed of frazzle hypochondriac emotions. I felt she needed a hug then she goes and do something to make you want to, "love tap her upside her head" (sorry no violence here), "Hey Wake Up Izzy!" or "Don't do it!" or "What just happened?"
Her body, let's talk chest size enlarges, now she is self conscious about it and those idiot boys in her school just alleviated her downward spiraling self esteem to a level of zero. Her mother dealing with cancer, you would think will help her daughter Izzy with her self esteem, but no:( Now there's an attempt of a cover up by the girls in her school either tell the school authorities who the victim of a viral picture that is rampantly exposed on the internet highway or else no school dance. The culprit who took the picture made a bet with those idiot boys in Izzy's school and well you get the jest of things. Why people do the things they do to gain notoriety? Don't know, it's still happening. There's more to this book and I enjoyed every word. This book is well written and easy to follow, the flow of the story was exceptional and like I said, the author wrote this story so well I got all riled up reading it. So with that I gave a 5-star rating. Won this book on Goodreads, First Read Giveaway. Thank you, Darlene Cruz
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the father of teenage daughters, I really enjoyed this book. Raf is funny and clever, and the story has a lot of heart.
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