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?

I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Mainly because Dumplin’ was just so damn good! This one was…alright.

The premise itself was actually really good. A girl who thought she was going to die any minute going through with the epic ‘to-do’ list with that special person in their life, finding out she’s actually okay and having to return to her old life.

The protagonist, Alice, just wasn’t a sympathetic character for me. We are suppose to empathise with Alice, I mean she has cancer after all! But for me, she just wasn’t a very nice person. The ‘cancer card’ (shout out to TFIOS!) just didn’t work here. To put it plainly I thought she was a massive bitch and an extremely hypocritical one as well. She did have some redeeming moments, all involving Harvey A.K.A. the one amazing thing about this book, the thing was though, that after every ‘redeeming’ moment she goes and screws it up! I had had enough of Alice within the first few chapters.

Lets talk about Harvey. Ignoring the huge Sabrina the Teenage Witch flashbacks, Harvey was the BEST character and thing about this book. He was just so nice! and way too good for Alice! He was THE redeeming feature of this book. I’ll admit though, he was occasionally irritating especially when it came to Alice. He was such a push over! He would do anything and everything she asked of him even when he knew it was wrong! He occasionally stood his ground but ultimately he was her little play thing.

The book was structured with periodic flashbacks that fill in all the blanks as we go, which I found to be really enjoyable to read. It was also an easy read, as in I finished it within a matter of hours.

If you Love Murphy’s writing style, like I do, then I would give it a go, maybe you’ll have a better reaction to Alice than I did!



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