Side Effects May Vary by Julie MurphySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary

byJulie Murphy

Hardcover | March 18, 2014

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The first book from Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'—now a Netflix feature film starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston, with a soundtrack by Dolly Parton!

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she's gone into remission.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done.

Contemporary realistic fiction readers who love romantic stories featuring strong heroines will find much to savor in this standout debut.

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk.
Title:Side Effects May VaryFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.09 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1.09 inPublished:March 18, 2014Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006224535X

ISBN - 13:9780062245359


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent An emotional read with lessons that everyone should learn.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A good intro A good intro to Julie Murphy, but not my fave of her works. Still great, she captures something real about adolescence in that her characters are never cookie cutter perfect, but it can be hard to deal with this protagonist because she can be pretty harsh sometimes.
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Good Debut I don't know how I feel about this one. You can definitely tell it's a debut so I do want to put a disclaimer out there. If this is your first Julie Murphy novel, read more. I personally feel Julie Murphy is an amazing author and you can see her development and progression as a writer in her subsequent novels (Dumplin' and Ramona Blue). I am not saying this is a terrible novel but everything about her as an author gets better in the following novels. The story actually is a unique and admittedly terrifying idea. I don't think many people are comfortable with reading novels with a cancer component because it hits too close to home. It's reality. Additionally, it's even more difficult to read of characters who are younger facing this disease. Trust me, I work in the medical field where I see the harsh reality of cancer daily, these kind of novels still unsettle me. As for the characters, I really loved Harvey. He was my favourite character of the novel and I felt like my heart broke repeatedly for him. He just came across as being so selfless and truly portrayed having an unrelenting, unconditional love. As for Alice, I felt for her. She was very misunderstood and facing unimaginable things. I feel bad because she wasn't that likeable of a character but you can understand why. At times I felt like I was sitting there in shock with some of her actions but at the same time, I couldn't imagine being in her shoes so who would I be to make a judgement. Overall, it was a unique novel. It actually took me longer than I expected to read due to the heavy content. It wasn't something that I felt that I could rush through. I would recommend this novel with the caution that it does have a layer of depth that you may not expect in young adult fiction. If you are looking for a light read, this may not be the one to pick up.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The premise is better than the book I feel like the plot summary of this book is a bit misleading. I am a big fan of the plot, as I find the romanticization of cancer in YA hard to swallow. However, this ended up being an extremely forgettable story with even more forgettable characters. I had better hopes for this premise, but oh well.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I can not believe this is a debut.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book It was exactly what i wanted to read. I loved it!
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cute novel! Absolutely loved this book. A great light read that warms your heart and shows you the true meaning of friendship and love in times of need.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing At first I was intrigued. Society has a bad habit of romanticizing cancer patients, like somehow the fact that they're dying faster than us means that they're entirely good people without flaws and it's a cruel thing to say that they're a bad person. But I hated Alice. I didn't just see her as a flawed character, she was just unreasonably flawed. She was immature and she seemed to have to reason to act as she did. In my opinion her character wasn't believable and that ruined the experience for me a lot.
Date published: 2017-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from not a book for all. This book captures the cruelty of people and the reality of being sick in a place surrounded by cruel people so well. I wish I had a Harvey in my life though. Would I recommend this book? it depends.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not What I Expected I had fully expected to love this contemporary novel by Julie Murphy about a teenage girl who's been diagnosed with leukaemia. However, I just couldn't wrap my head around what a horrible person Alice was to everyone around her, and as such, I really didn't find myself enjoying this one at all.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from One of the worst books I have ever read When I bought this I expected so much more out of it; the title and description made it sound interesting but it was nothing that it promised to be. I can understand when an author makes a character intentionaly flawed but the character of Alice is impossible to like; the things she says, does and refuses to do make me wonder how anyone, let alone someone as kind as Harvey, could like her at all. I kept reading the book hoping it would get better and that Alice would right everything she had wronged but was once again disappointed. I regret spending any money on this book and wish I had borrowed it from a library and saw how awful it was before I wasted my money.
Date published: 2016-05-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Whether you love or hate something, when it drives you nuts while reading it, it must be a good read. Side Effects May Vary is written in third person and switches point of view between the two main characters, Alice & Charlie. In addition to this, it moves back and forth through time. Unlike many books that follow this model, I found that this was NOT at all confusing in this book. In fact, it worked! Even so this book was very difficult for me. I found the main character, Alice, extremely hard to like. It would not be an exaggeration to say I hated her. I didn't understand her motives or her goals. I didn't feel sympathy for her. I just didn't like her. Charlie, the main male character in the book, and Alice's steadfast friend despite the fact that, for the most part, she's a self-centered brat, is easier to like. But his devotion to Alice and his angst over her is equally as frustrating as Alice's personality. My big criticism of this book is Alice's inability to admit that she is in love with Charlie. While this is a believable plotline for some characters, for Alice there is absolutely no reason in her background that would suggest that she has been so traumatized as to be unable to love or to admit that she's in love. She is raised as a beloved only child, who seems to have fairly normal relationships with both her parents (there is tension between her mother and herself but not enough to warrant her being so broken when it comes to the romance department). With no understandable reason for not being a normal teenager (no horrible past relationships where she's been irrevocably hurt, no childhood traumas ... nothing) I struggled for most of this book to find something to like about Alice. In the end, this book evoked such strong emotions from me, I left with admitting that it had to be a good book. Whether you love or hate something, when it drives you nuts while reading it, it must be a good read.
Date published: 2015-01-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Almost Horrible. 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 brat, 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.
Date published: 2014-04-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, and the prognosis isn't good. She decides to use the time she has left to complete a bucket list, things she wants to do, revenge against people who hurt her, and she gets her friend Harvey to help her. Harvey's always had feelings for her, and Alice knows this, so it's easy to get him to help. Just as Alice completes her list, she goes into remission. I found it hard to get drawn into this book. Setting aside the characters and the plot, it was told in two POVs(Alice and Harvey) and each of them had a Now and a Then part that went back and forth so instead of getting right into the next chapter to keep a steady flow, I would have to check the heading to see where it was going. Alice is a very angry girl, and she definitely has reasons to be angry. But there's a difference between angry and being kind of a horrible person. Her revenge against two of her classmates made me extremely uncomfortable to read. I do think she got lucky that the harsh public humiliation and threat of secret exposure didn't leave one of them hurting themselves or more. And the way she treated Harvey was maddening, and it only got worse for most of the book which left barely time for any kind of redemption for her. I did like Harvey for the most part but it was hard to see or understand what he saw in Alice when she was so horrible to him. He at least had a conscience and I loved the rare bits we got to see between him and his mom. Things moved along pretty quickly. As mentioned, there was a lot of back and forth between the past and the present, which could get confusing. I never had the urge to root for Alice and Harvey to work out, moreso I wanted Harvey to find someone who wasn't going to keep jerking him around. I don't mind seeing the worst or darker sides of characters but there seemed to be so little good in Alice that it was really hard to enjoy her. Other than the confusing back and forth chapters, I did enjoy the writing style. It was full of some really good one-liners and quirky at times. This is an author I would pick up again based on that.
Date published: 2014-03-21

Editorial Reviews

"An unexpected twist on the typical cancer story."