Review: Side Effects May Vary

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary

Publication date: March 18th 2014

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Number of pages: 336

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: From the publisher for review. This is my honest opinion.


 Goodreads synopsis:

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.



I don’t know what to say. I was so excited when I received this book but I really didn’t like it. *slump*

Major issue number 1: Alice
I hate her. She’s mean, rude, self-centred and is fine to just use people. That is not okay! I get what the author was trying to do, but I really don’t want a character like her to be a protagonist. While I felt sorry for her, there were so many situations that could have been handled a million times better.
Then there was nice, sweet, forgiving Harvey. Saying I felt terrible for him every time Alice USED him, just doesn’t cut it. He didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

Then there was the plot. The plot was a little slow, which is a notorious problem for contemporaries.

While understood most of it, I just didn’t get why Alice did or said some of the things she did.

But I am still giving it two stars because it was still ok and my dislike for Alice kind of took over my opinion of the book. I like the cover and Harvey deserves a star all of his own.

 2/5 comets
Minor indent. Could have been a bigger hit.

Add to Goodreads


Goodreads author bio:

Julie    MurphyJulie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie’s debut novel.


2 thoughts on “Review: Side Effects May Vary

  1. HOLLY says:

    This sounds like it would be such a good book! Too bad it wasn’t executed well. Still, I may read it just to see.

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