The Symptoms of My Insanity

Mindy Raf, Author
Mindy Raf. Dial, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3241-4
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 04/18/2013
Paperback - 374 pages - 978-0-14-242264-9
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Izzy struggles with boys who make rude comments about her curvy shape and a critical mother who tells her "your body delivers a very specific message, whether you want it to or not." She has other problems, too, including her mother's cancer, an important art scholarship deadline, and cute but confusing Blake, who makes her wonder if she's his "Art Friend or Girlfriend." Izzy's problems come to a head when Blake takes a revealing photo of her, which quickly goes viral at school; at the same time, Izzy's mother has to have emergency surgery and may die. Izzy finally expresses her feelings, both face-to-face and through her art. Despite Izzy's lovably neurotic nature, readers may tire of tracking the overwhelming number of problems in her life, especially when some of these problems, like her hypochondria, seem scripted to make a point ("If I was sick... Mom could concentrate on something about me that's potentially fixable"). Even so, readers will likely appreciate a refreshing upheaval of mean-girl stereotypes when the other girls at school come up with a creative solution to at least one of Izzy's problems. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)
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