Who among us hasn’t spent a Friday evening or twelve frantically researching symptoms on WebMD and diagnosing ourselves with various ailments? Personally, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. Light a candle, pour a glass of wine, become convinced I have smallpox (it could come back. You don’t know). Even if you usually just have a sinus infection or ate some bad sashimi, WebMD is always there to let you know about all the ways your body can possibly be revolting against you.
So when I started reading about The Symptoms of My Insanity‘s Izzy Skymen, a total hypochondriac, I was like, “Girl, I get you.” But Izzy’s fear of illness isn’t the only thing going on. She has enormous boobs that basically take over her life, a mother with a rare cancer, and an art portfolio she never seems to have enough time to work on.
But the biggest of Izzy’s concerns is a dude. Specifically, a dude named Blake Hangry, who just might have the funniest name I’ve ever heard. I mean, aside from John Boehner (you can pronounce it BONN-er all you want, Mister, I still choose to pronounce it Boner). Blake is a total dreamboat athlete and Izzy doesn’t think he could possibly be into her…until he invites her to go to an art show.
It’s hard for Izzy to focus on Blake, though, when everything else in her life starts to fall apart. She starts to suspect that her mom might be hiding how sick she really is. Jenna, Izzy’s best friend, is growing distant. She has no idea when she’ll find the time to finish her art portfolio. It’s enough to make anyone get stressed out.
Everything I’ve said about the TSOMI might make it sound like a romance, but the book’s about more than just Blake Hangry. Without giving too much away, TSOMI deals with the ways boys can take advantage of girls, and the way girls can blame themselves and shame each other. I couldn’t help but think of Steubenville and the dialogue about rape culture that the case ushered into the public eye. And then there was the more recent, completely heartbreaking story of Rehtaeh Parsons. While nothing that horrible happens in TSOMI, and the tone is much more light-hearted, the message is clear: it isn’t your fault if someone violates you, and women need to support each other and stick together. It makes me so happy to see the issue addressed here. Girls and women need to hear that when someone takes advantage of you (whether that means a touch or an unwanted picture or a sexual assault), that’s not okay. The more books, movies, stories, etc. we see that talk about this, the better off we’ll all be.
-Although the book deals with some tough topics, it’s also really funny. That’s no surprise, since Mindy Raf isn’t just a writer, she’s also a comedian/comedienne (feel free to pick whichever word you prefer). And she sings! So, you know, she’s one of those triple-threats who makes the rest of us look bad.
-If you’re itching to get your paws on a copy of The Symptoms of My Insanity, then first off, I’m very impressed you’ve learned to use a computer without opposable thumbs. Secondly, you’ll have to wait until April 18th when the book comes out. But that’s less than a week away! You can totally do it! You can preorder the book on Indiebound or Amazon.
-Visit Mindy’s website, where you can read all about the book and check out her blog.
What about you guys? Are you going to read The Symptoms of My Insanity? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.