Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Hyperion Books, 336 pages
Leigh Nolan 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). Although she has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, when it comes to solving her own…not so much. Leigh 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?
In a trying year that will have her questioning herself, her relationships, pretty much EVERYTHING, she may just find a few answers.
When I was applying for admission to different colleges ten (!!!) years ago, my top 3 courses were Computer Science, Journalism/English-related course and one fall back course that seemed pretty interesting. One of them was Electronics and Communications Engineering which was crazy because I don’t know how I would survive college with all the math if I got into that course. In another college, I remember choosing Behavorial Science, which was the closest I could get to a Psychology degree. When I finally got into college (Computer Science, my first choice) and took my one and only Psychology subject, I remember thinking that if ever I do decide to shift out of my course for reasons that I do not want to think about, I will probably take Psych. I don’t know why, but I guess I found it fascinating to study about human personalities and everything related to it. Color me naive, but back then I thought that if you want to read a person more than you normally can, take Psychology.
I remembered all those course picking things while I was reading Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson, and quite honestly, I think I saw myself in Leigh. Leigh Nolan is a college freshman in Stiles College majoring in Psychology — she has a good knack in helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to her own? Well, she isn’t so good. But what’s to be worried about, anyway? Leigh likes what she’s taking (albeit her teachers seem to be bent in making her take more responsibilities and her arch-nemesis Ellen is always waiting for a way to bring her down), and she has a steady boyfriend, Andrew, that she has been with since high school (never mind that he has never invited her to spend the night, and that her boyfriend’s roommate, Nathan, seemed to hate her guts and that Nathan was the star of a recent dream that left her feeling a bit confused about her feelings). What’s to be worried about? Leigh’s tendency to over analyze things gets her to start questioning everything, and she’s not quite sure if she will ever find any of the answers. Shouldn’t Psych majors be able to figure that out?
From the first page, I recognized Leigh as a girl after my own heart. I feel like I will be like her if I did take up Psychology, sans the arch-nemesis and the high school sweetheart. :p Leigh was such a fun character that being in her head was so entertaining — she’s nice and snarky and her affection for nice pens and her tendency to over-analyze was really just a bit too familiar that I can’t help but laugh. Leigh’s problems, while quite typical, come off as legitimate things that girls her age go through. Come on girls, tell me: who doesn’t over-analyze things? At one point in our life, we have over-analyzed a situation to death, and Leigh is a character who sympathizes with that.
I liked that every chapter of the book has some sort of psych concept that describes the chapter. There were several scenes that got me laughing out loud, as well as some scenes that made me feel warm and fuzzy all over. However, if you’re looking for a different kind of romance here, there’s really nothing to find. Come on, we all know who Leigh is going to end up with from the blurb alone. How she ends up with him is another question, but there really was no surprise there, right? There’s the love triangle, the loyal friend and the one who didn’t seem like a friend but turned out okay at the end. There were also some stereotypical characters that kind of made me raise an eyebrow, and I understand how other readers got kind of miffed with that.
Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson is a very entertaining contemporary YA read, even if there’s really nothing surprising about it. There was enough sass and sweetness in it that it was really just the right fluff that my brain needed back when I was reading it (I was in the middle of some serious books back then). I read this in a day, and it was a pleasure to get lost in a world that didn’t have magic, zombies or foreign lands that do not exist. :) If you’re in the mood for good and funny fluff or if you’re even the least bit interested in Psychology, you’ll probably like this.
Oh, and if I were to have a do-over for what college course I’ll choose? As much as Psychology feels exciting, I will still go for Computer Science. I have a feeling that if I was actually allowed to over-analyze things and situations for school, I would’ve gone crazy with that opportunity. And over thinking is really not something I should allow myself to indulge in. :P
My copy: hardbound from Fully Booked