Book Review: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Posted January 24, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 15 Comments

Psych Major Syndrome

by Alicia Thompson

Pysch Major Syndrome

Original Publication: August 11, 2009
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Obtained Via: Purchased
Format Read In: Hardback
Purchase at Amazon:Psych Major Syndrome
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the story morning glory

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.


Psych Major Syndrome


A few things to note about Psych Major Syndrome: Leigh, the main character, is charmingly awkward, there’s a fantastic love interest, and the book is overall just hilarious. Psych Major Syndrome definitely gets bonus points for the college setting as well. If you’re one of those readers who likes the idea of the new adult genre but want more than the focus on the physical romance, I would totally recommend Psych Major Syndrome. It’s more in the vein of books like Just One Day by Gayle Foreman(though less serious than that one), and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Leigh struggles with her classes and assignments, taking the next step with her boyfriend, and dealing with frustrations like parking tickets. I think perhaps part of why this book has flown under the radar is that it was published before this push for college-aged stories–otherwise, I think it would be much better known than it currently is.

Leigh is. . . well, I can’t say she’s exactly a girl after my own heart, but she is adorkable and smart but also dumb at times and just a really well-rounded main character. Some of the things she says are so painfully awkward I couldn’t help but to feel for her, but she also has a great sense of humor(most of the time–there was a time or too when I thought the humor in this book was too mean, so it does lose a point for that). She makes great decisions at time, but is also completely unaware of problems at others, especially in her relationship with her high school boyfriend, Andrew. They’re at the same college, and a big focus of the book is the strain on their relationship, and how it manifest itself physically. I really loved this storyline. I loved how Leigh and Andrew had frank talks about intimacy, and how many issues that come along with that were addressed subtly over the over the course of the book.

But now only was Leigh great, most of the secondary characters in Psych Major Syndrome were wonderful as well. I loved Rebekah, the girl that Leigh ends up mentoring, and their discussions about life and boys and everything else. They warm up to each other and end up having a give-and-take relationship for sure. But one of my favorite characters in the book was Ami, Leigh’s roommate. Ami is an art major, and on paper it’s not an ideal roommate situation at all. But somehow, Ami and Leigh become great friends. It just reminded me so much of how I went into my freshman year of college totally blind to who my roommate would be, but all the adventures that ensued that year. Having a good roommate really can make all the difference, and while I loved the romantic storyline, I thought the roommate dynamic was the best in the entire book.

There were only two things that kept this from being a 5 star read for me(not that a 4 star rating is bad at all!). One, during the middle of the book, there’s a Chinese character who is heavily stereotyped and played for laughs. In a book full of actual hilarious moments, it falls sadly short. The second minor issue was that while I did like the actual ending, the few chapters leading up to the end seemed to be there only to exaggerate the problem. I feel the resolution could have happened a chapter or two earlier than it did. Still, these complaints only slightly lessened my enjoyment of Psych Major Syndrome. After Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, it’s probably my favorite book with a college setting.


Psych Major Syndrome was a hilarious and witty read that dealt incredibly well with the normal problems a freshman in college might experience. Leigh was a completely likable protagonist, if not a little obtuse and awkward at times. I laughed out loud several times while reading. I’d say it’s a cute book, but it also manages to deal with some pretty serious decisions as well without ever feeling heavy.  4/5 cupcakes.




4 Stars

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15 responses to “Book Review: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

  1. […] On Monday I busted a book blogging myth that Pinterest is of no use to book bloggers. Tuesday I shared what’s on my reading wishlist!  Wednesday I reviewed Cruel Beauty. Thursday I shared what you can do with books you don’t want anymore. Friday I reviewed Psych Major Syndrome. […]

    • stormydawnc

      I really *do* think you would like it, Brittany! It felt very much fresh & original but with a great setting.

  2. Ooooh a college setting book I haven’t heard of yet! Great review, though I’m on the fence about whether this is up my alley or not. For whatever reason, I like my college-based books a bit more serious in nature…perhaps I put too much importance on the emotional struggles of the college experience. Haha.

    • stormydawnc

      Hmm, yeah, it’s definitely more funny than serious, even though Leigh does work through some real issues. There’s not a *ton* of emotional depth, but I definitely felt for the characters!

  3. oh gosh a new adult book that hits closer to home… wow I am impressed. Going to have to look this one up, have actually not heard of it till today but it’s refreshing that she is dealing with problems that are actual real in a college freshman.

    • stormydawnc

      I’m so sad this one has flown under the radar, because it’s quite good! I hope you enjoy if you pick it up.

  4. New Adult that’s not just romance?! I’ve barely begun reading the full review and I already want it!

    PS: I voted for Book of Broken Hearts in the poll because I’ve been curious about that. Basically, I’ll wait til you read it and use you as a bookish screen. 😉

    • stormydawnc

      Oh, I think you’d like it! Leigh is adorably awkward and the book is quite hilarious at times. I felt for her for sure.

  5. Oooo. I tend to love books like this. I should definitely read this one. And you made me really interested in Leigh. I don’t normally find a lot of likable female characters. I feel a little like I’d be able to relate to her in terms of awkward. 😛

    • stormydawnc

      Haha, she’s really quite awkward at times, but in a very relatable way! It definitely made me relive some embarrassing freshman year moments(though none quite as bad as one of hers, I think).

  6. Erin D.

    Hi Stormy, I read this a couple years ago and I remember thinking cool a book set in college and I loved the premise. I feel pretty much the same way you do about this one, but I just wanted to say that I am glad you reviewed it. I hope it inspires a couple others to pick it up and read it. 🙂

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