Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The New Adult Project: "Psych Major Syndrome" by Alicia Thompson



Goodreads Summary:

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

The summary is kind of catchy, and the book is very readable. Unfortunately, "readable" is probably one of the only good things I can say about Psych Major Syndrome.

I suppose the author was trying to be funny when she created such a huge cast of caricatures. And that's what most of them are--caricatures. And not even good caricatures (as in Soulless--looking back, I think I might have been a little harsh on reviewing that one). No, in Psych Major Syndrome, the sheer ridiculousness of all of the secondary characters served as nothing more than a poor attempt to trick the readers into liking the main character more.

It didn't work. Leigh was a huge flake. Wait, correction--Leigh was stupid. Stupid in a way where she's lucky this is a light-hearted contemporary novel, because otherwise she would have been dispatched by pages 20. I'm all for flawed characters, but unfailingly stupid ones piss me off.

And the other characters? The only ones I actually liked were Leigh's roommate and the teenager Leigh was mentoring. The love interest bored me. (Also, having a sexy dream about a boy is NOT romantic development.) And everyone else? Well, let's just say there was a healthy dose of slut-shaming and probably the most offensive portrayal of an Asian character I've ever seen.

Oh, and what's the deal with defining everyone by their college major? In the real world, people choose a major because they like that subject, not because they're obsessed with it.

I'm sorry to say that if you're looking for a great New Adult read, this isn't it.


Full list of "New Adult" Project reviews

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