Side Effects May Vary

Paperback | July 14, 2015

byJulie Murphy

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 he...

From the Jacket

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 (hu...

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.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.79 inPublished:July 14, 2015Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062245376

ISBN - 13:9780062245373

Customer Reviews of Side Effects May Vary

Reviews

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

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“An unexpected twist on the typical cancer story.”