December 02, 2015

Review ~ Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy


What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

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 I liked the nastiness in this book. Does that make me a bad person?

Side Effects May Vary represented teenagers’ immaturity well enough. This book hit my opinion of ‘believable’ right in the nose. Alice is not a good person on a good day, but I liked how her character is portrayed. I can easily imagine her as a real person. She wants to come out on top of everything, always. She has to have the last word. She has to show everyone that she won, even when the victory cost her a part of herself. You know how people say if you hate a person, you hate something in him/her that’s part of yourself? Well, I guess I hated Alice’s attitude because it’s a part of me that I hated. I think that’s why I like her character. I can relate to her somehow.

I liked the angst in this book. I could almost feel every bitter, hateful word hitting me in the chest. I liked the portrayal of all the other characters, because they were all believable. I liked everyone’s interaction with each other. I wanted to cry for Alice, for her Mom, for her Dad, and even for Harvey. There were times when they all got so frustrating that I just wanted to cry in frustration, but in the end all was well.

This book is not about a bucket list. It’s not about Alice’s road to recovery. It’s not about her battle with cancer. Side Effects May Vary is about acceptance and redemption.

~ Zee


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