April 4, 2014

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release date: March 18th 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC

Rating: 3/5

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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 really thought that I would enjoy more this book and I was eager to read it for a while, but it really disappointed me a bit, although I'm still not sure about the rating 2.5/5 or 3/5 (maybe), there were parts I liked, ...like Harvey and his POVs, but I didn´t like Alice, she´s so frustrating.

The story is told from Alice´s and Harvey´s POV, and some chapters are in the NOW and others in the THEN, so we can see a little bit of time when Alice was sick, but the story isn´t focused on her illness, convalescence and treatments, but we get to see Alice making a bucket list of things she wants to do before she dies, which includes including to have revenge on her ex-boyfriend and a rival, but it's not just a list that only focuses on revenge, but also includes other things that Alice wants to do before she dies and for doing this she needs Harvey´s help, a guy who has always had feelings for her and she knows it, so she takes advantage of those feelings to recruit his help.

I really hate the character of Alice, she´s selfish, petty, obnoxious and all the adjectives you can imagine for someone that isn´t a good person, and while she was sick in the THEN I let it pass because I thought it was a cause of her anger due to her illness and because she was dying, but once she´s in remission, in the NOW, her personality doesn´t change, and what I hate about her is how badly she use and manipulate Harvey. Something that I didn´t get is why Alice mistreats Harvey when is obvious (to the reader) that she also has romantic feelings for him.

Harvey meanwhile is a guy with good feelings that have always been in love with Alice, and when she comes to him for help for her bucket list, he´s more than willing because he´ll be able to be close to her and the worst is that he knows that she´s using him but still he is happy to spend that time with her ​​and be there for her when she needs him; but the truth is that he doesn´t agree with some of Alice´s decisions and actions, but she knows what to do to make him accept to help her.

Oh! something I liked (and because this is fiction and I thought it was sort of funny) was Alice reaction to the news that she´s in remission.....because she´s not happy...why? because she lived her life thinking that she was going to die, and now that she´s not dying, she must face the consequences of what she did.

Overall, this book is frustrating and exasperating because I never liked Alice, I simply hate her! But what I liked about Side Effects May Vary is Harvey, because he´s a nice, kind and caring guy and he´s willing to support her in all her craziness. And that ending ....... didn´t satisfy me, I don´t like open endings, and even though I´m learning to accept them......but the ending of this book ..... disappointed me. This book wasn´t for me.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


  1. Hm I wanted to read this one, but sorry it disappointed you in the end.

  2. Hmmm, I still have mixed opinions on this one.

  3. I have heard so many conflicting things about this book, and it makes me very sad because I have been looking forward to it. It just sounds soooo good! I think I will still read it, but I will definitely go in with lowered expectations. Thanks for your review!

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  4. Seems like this would be a hard book to get through given how unbearable Alice sounds!
    And since I'm a nurse and work in Oncology, I don't tend to be very keep on cancer books.
    I'm still on the fence on reading this one.

  5. Thank you so much for reviewing this book. I'm torn up between reading it and not reading it and your review helps a lot. :)

  6. This book has intrigued me, so I guess I'm a little disappointed to see you didn't enjoy it. Oh, well!

  7. Hmm I wanted to read this because it has such a good idea when you read the blurb! It looks so interesting, but maybe it isn't that amazing then... I'm not sure anymore :/ Having an annoying main character is definitely not the sort of thing I want to read, and also well, I don't like people who know they are being used but don't care. And Harvey fits that to the T.


  8. I still haven't had time to read this book.I do hope to like the main character more than you did, but only time and me reading the book will tell.

  9. This seems like an interesting book. I hope they have it at my library!

  10. I totally agree! I never liked Alice! She makes me angry! >.<