Side Effects May Vary, by Julie Murphy
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 2/5 stars
Goodreads Summary: 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 leukaemia, 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.
So I really expected 'Side Effects May Vary' to be the bomb, the amazing book that we all remember for centuries because of its awesomeness. Um, nope.
This is one of those books that some people will enjoy, and others will hate. Most books are like that, if you read mixed reviews, but I find that this one really has that aspect. But, if you find that you indulge yourselves in similar books like I do, and enjoy them, then you will really hate this book, I'm sorry to say.
During the whole book, I was just like meh.
So here's my mini-summary so you get the main idea of the book: Alice is just your average girl who dances ballet and has a boy best friend, Harvey. When she is diagnosed with tragic leukaemia, she doesn't know what to do anymore, and she believes that her life is over and is about to die. She creates a wicked bucket list that she wants Harvey to help her with to complete. She is about to create revenge on people who almost ruined her life and crazy things that you never expected. What she doesn't know is that all that she wants is right in front of her, and that there are people who love her.
I just find this idea to be... bland. Yeah, yeah, you want to do things before you die, and you create a bucket list and you get a guy who you secretly love to help you complete it when you're already such a bitchy person and not a person who does nice things. The main idea in my eyes was really about a young girl who got cancer and just wanted to do stuff that she'll regret in the end, ahah.
The characters were awful, at least Alice was. She was such a bitch, just like everyone else says in their reviews. It's the truth! She takes everything for granted and she isn't thankful for everything people do for her. All she wants is more, more and more. It's the same thing every chapter, and I found no character development in her at all. She was a brat who wanted everyone to feel sorry for her and who acts like her parents are the worst people in the world and are complete liars (because her mom didn't tell her that she was having an affair) when they did so much for her and love her so much. Ugh, it just makes me SICK to read her POV and all of her complaining.
Some people found that they disliked Harvey, but I found him a good character. He didn't have the best development throughout the story, and made a dumb choice of loving Alice, but I liked him. He was sweet and approachable and just likeable, if you know what I mean.
So what I liked about this book? Almost nothing, but there were a few tweaks that I guess you could say "pulled me in." Harvey, his mom and Alice's parents were great characters who somewhat made a difference in this book, and the writing style was absolutely gorgeous. I love the idea of switching POVs from Alice to Harvey, and including the past and the present. The ending wasn't too bad either, and kind of surprising, in my eyes, because the book was going so slow, and then BOOM! just like that, a shocker came onto us and everything changed.
So here you are, wondering if you wasted your time reading this dull review, and wondering, "Do I read this, or not?" and the truth is, don't, unless you're looking for a good setup of POVs? which almost nobody is looking for. You're probably going to hate this novel anyways. So good luck on finding this good.