The Symptoms of My Insanity

The Symptoms of My Insanity - Mindy Raf (Full review can be found on my blog, Paper Riot.)First thoughts:I liked the MC, but there was a lot going on. Too much? I haven't decided yet.More thoughts:I don't even know where to start. The Symptoms of my Insanity was a lot of things, and mainly - a lot to take in. The first pages made me smile of hilarity, the last made me smile of compassion, but there were some iffy moments in between.Let's start simple. I liked Izzy as a protagonist. I am a tad disappointed by the fact that her wit, which I loved in the early part of the story, somewhat disappeared as I read on. This might be understandable considering her home life, but I thought that she needed a little more spark. Still, as a fellow hypochondriac (though I'm not as extreme as Izzy by far) and somewhat artsy person, I really appreciated her as a character. Her struggles with wanting to help others but needing time for herself and her fear of letting people down made me both relate to her and root for her. I wanted to protect her from harm as if she were my friend.Another thing I really liked was the way women were portrayed in this book. Yes, Izzy's relationship with her mother, sister, best friend and ex-best friend were rocky and yes, I wish that girls in YA would just have each others backs instead of fighting all the time (what is up with that? Girls, you're supposed to be besties!). But these ladies all played a different and yet important part in Izzy's story. There was a moment in this book where the high school girls grouped together and stood up for each other that made me want to pump my fist and yell "girl power". (No, I didn't actually do that. I would have gotten some weird looks from the other people on the train, probably. I settled for smiling instead.)The only thing that bothered me was that, for me, it was too much. We have Izzy's mom's illness, Izzy's important art project, the sudden fight with her best friend, the weird thing with her best friend's brother, the somewhat iffy relationship with her sister, the teenage sexuality thing, the newfound friendship with her ex-best friend, the romance (or not?) with the most popular guy in school, the preparations for the play and the dance... I would have appreciated a simpler approach, one that was mostly about Izzy's family. I even could have accepted the girl drama, had that been the main focus, but the thing with Blake was just too much for me. Maybe it my wanting to protect Izzy, but this girl seriously didn't need any more drama in her life. I was willing to break some faces.Overall, I thought Izzy's voice was fresh and I love the way that art was such a big part of this story. I could really relate to her, and that's an important thing for me. The story of Izzy's mother made me sad and broke my heart a little. And I admired the way Raf took on such hard topics - illness and pressure are things that affect us all - but I wish the story would have focused more on some of these topics, instead of all of them. I think that by trying to tell all these different stories, the impact wasn't as big as it could have been. For me, that is.