Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Tags: YA, college, psychology, relationships, love

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


College freshman Leigh Nolan has happily escaped her psychic-loving parents for a psychology degree at a small liberal arts school. However, college life is not going the way she wants it to. Her boyfriend Andrew, whom Leigh’s been with since high school, does not seem to want to fit Leigh into his hectic academic schedule. Andrew and Leigh’s roommate, the artistic Ami, dislike one another. And Nathan, Andrew’s roommate, acts like he can’t stand even the sight of Leigh.

What’s a girl to do when her life’s a mess? As Leigh slowly navigates her various relationships, she begins to figure out who is worth it and who isn’t…and her realizations may surprise even her.


PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME is an absolutely winsome novel, easily one of the sweetest reads this year. It’s the literary equivalent of pictures of cute kittens and puppies, and will leave you sighing happily and “aww-ing” at the end.

The book crackles with humor, mostly the result of the stellar protagonist. Leigh has just the right balance of “intelligent college student” and “blind, drama-attracting girl” to win over both lovers of intelligent AND just-for-fun fiction. Leigh’s snarky and self-deprecating narration is charmingly funny, and there are enough hints of cultural references that will make even the most well-read reader smile indulgently. PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME takes the classic narrative formula—well-put-together main character realizes her non-debilitating blindness and overcomes that critical flaw to become a better and happier person—and rebuilds it again as something that will ring true for us. It’s tried-and-true, without making us sick of the “tried.”

PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME has more to do with a love story than psychology, and far from being disappointed that the title and synopsis were a bit misleading, I was absolutely delighted. Without giving anything away, I just want to say that if the love interest doesn’t make your list of Top 10 Swoon-Worthy YA Boys, then you either have a hard-to-win heart, or else you recognize the few flaws in this novel that make it not nearly as enjoyable as it could be: a rushed ending, not enough character development in the one character we’d like to see developed more, and a happy ending that’s so perfect as to be a little cringe-inducing.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of PSYCH MAJOR SYNDROME may depend on how much the conventions bother you. However, I absolutely loved this novel and would pick it up again at a moment’s notice to have more than my fair share of funny, sweet, and sigh-worthy romance. Readers who adored but have for the most part outgrown Meg Cabot’s books will find a fantastic alternative in Alicia Thompson’s debut novel.

Similar Authors
Meg Cabot
Diana Peterfreund (the Ivy League series)
Megan McCafferty
Robin Benway (Audrey, Wait!)

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I'm not sure what it has to do with the story, or even if that model is what I picture Leigh to look like, but it does give off this calming and cute vibe, perfect for the novel.

Hyperion / Aug. 11, 2009 / Hardcover / $16.99


  1. Great review, it really makes me want to read the book!

  2. I loved this book. So cute and adorable.

    But you're right about the cover -- it didn't make any sense to me. I wish they would have put her car on the cover, ha!

  3. Oh, I love the sound of this book! Thank you very much for the great review - I'm looking it up right now.

  4. I'm loving this book right now! :)

  5. Oooh great review. this is sitting pretty high in my tbr pile, can't wait to get to it!

  6. fab review steph! I wasnt planning on reading this since im not really into psychcology but i will have to check this one out

  7. Sounds cute! Love a good snarky heroine :)

  8. REALLY want to read this now--it piqued my interest to begin with cos I'm a psych major myself, and your review has clinched it. I doubt this one will be released here though, so it'll have to be a special order ... or I'll nag my library!

  9. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this but now I see that it's more of a romantic comedy, I definitely want to read it. I also love a swoonworthy boy so that will be just icing on the cake.

  10. I love this book. Leigh is so crazy that I want to befriend her right away. The humor is super and I love her overanalysis :)

  11. I stalled on this one at about chapter 3--not b/c I didn't like it, but b/c I got SO busy. I'm glad to see such a positive review, though. Now I'm more likely to pick it back up. :)

    I second the cover discussion--I don't picture Leigh as looking like that at all, but I still like the cover, despite that.

  12. Can`t wait to read this book! It`s in my TBR pile.

  13. I'm really interested in this one but haven't read a review of it.So this is the first and you make it sound so good it is going on my wishlist.
    Thanks for the review


  14. Totally going to read this one ;)

  15. Sounds like an awesome read - and exactly the type of YA I enjoy! Thanks for that awesome review, I'll make sure to read this soon!


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