[ARC Review] Side Effects May Vary

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC received by Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

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, whom 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 arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). 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 done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Books centred on Cancer are not books that I tend to be drawn to because they hit too close to home for me, but when HCCFrenzy told me to read Side Effects May Vary I knew that it must be good, and they were right!

What I loved most about this book was the way it was written. There are two perspectives, one is Alice a girl who is diagnosed with Leukemia and Harvey, the boy who is in love with her. Not only are there two perspective but they were also written in present and past tenses so you get to see the whole story of their relationship. This is something that is usually never done because it can get confusing and can be hard to write. But in this book it worked so well and gave many different perspectives to two very different characters.

This is not your ordinary cancer related story, Alice has Leukemia and has stopped treatment, she has resigned to the fact that she is going to die. but then she is told she is n remission and she has to deal with the fact that she now has a very long life to live and what that means for her, and those around her. I think this is why I loved this book because it wasn't about a girl trying to come to terms with dying, it was about coming to terms with how to live.

Alice was a very interesting character to read because she was not likable at all, she treated everyone around her like shit and the one person who loved her unconditionally, Harvey, she pushed him away too. I think that was the hardest part to read, Alice knowing what she wants but being too scared to take it.

Harvey was another character that was hard to read because he had no backbone. Throughout the whole book he followed Alice around like a lost puppy and didn't even realize that she was using him. but what I think was great to read was his character development and how by the end of the book he was stronger person and knew what he wanted without shame. That was great to read.

Overall this book was wholly original and a great read. If you want a different take on a cancer story this book is for you. I promise that it is not sad and will not make you cry. Its a character story that delved into the minds of those effected by cancer and how one deals with life after cancer.

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  1. Ah this sounds really good - I'm really intrigued by the idea of a cancer book that isn't actually a tear-jerker. Definitely checking this one out - thanks for the review :-D