Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Publication Date: March 26th 2014
Kindle Edition: 330 Pages
My Rating: ★★★★★
Written from the perspectives of both Harvey and Alice, in Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy weaves a compelling story of friendship, relationships and love, with a little bit of death thrown in for good measure; at least for a while.
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend Harvey, who’s loved her forever, to help with compiling a crazy just-dying-to-do bucket list, that’s as much about revenge as it is about redemption. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done and discover just what happens when we say our ‘final’ words, only to find that life isn’t through with us yet.
Sharp, witty and poignant – this is a book written for all ages.
This is a Spoiler Free Review.
We meet Alice and Harvey, best friends since elementary school. We see them through their 10th and 11th year of school. Alice is sporadically diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, her whole life changes very quickly.
“What should’ve been our end had become our beginning”
“That’s what that moment was for me, my last memory of Alice pre-cancer.”
“And today was my seventeenth birthday, a day I had never imagined to see.”
Everything changes when Alice is told she is in remission, some kind of miracle. This book is divided into then and now. Through the thens and nows we get to know our characters and their lives. We get to know Alice and Harvey very well. Along with their family members. Harvey’s mother *is precious* runs a dance studio and Alice’s mother is a lawyer, hiding a secret.
“Your life changes sometimes and it only takes a few words to bridge the gap between now and then.”
“Money was the cure to cancer.”
Alice compiles a list, the Dying-To-Do List and suckers Harvey into helping her. The most important part of this list is revenge. Alice wants revenge on her ex-boyfriend, Luke when she hears a nasty thing he did to a fellow classmate.
Harvey is the fictional guy that you’re going to fall in love with, (I DID!). His dedication to Alice is outstanding. You can really feel the love he has for her. He stays with her during her good times and her bad times with movies. He always has a movie for them to watch, curiosity of his friend Dennis. Harvey does whatever he can to cherish the time he has with Alice. He cuts his shift at work (the local grocery store, his friend Dennis also works at).
“But, really I loved her, and that hurt the worst of all because I was tired of being her debris.”
“Sometimes love is so intense that it turns into this gray area that you that borders on hate.”
Alice is a very hard character to like. But, her character is very realistic. She’s very moody and bitchy half of the time which is what makes this story so relatable. She treats Harvey pretty poorly because she doesn’t want to feel the way she does. You may stick with hating her or growing to like her.
This story focuses on losing things such as friends, passion and hope or faith. I love when a book has other focuses. I really enjoyed this book, if you’re looking for a new cancer book to read I highly recommend this! Just get ready for some feels!!