ARC Review: Side Effects May Vary By Julie Murphy

Monday, 17 March 2014






Book: Side Effects May Vary

Author: Julie Murphy

Publisher: Baltzer and Bray

Pages: 336 Pages

Format: ARC courtesy of HCC Frenzy

Source: Requested from HCC Frenzy

Release Date: March 18th, 2014


Purchase: Chapters IndigoAmazonB&NBook Depository

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, @HCCFrenzy!


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 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.




Let me start off by saying that you would never know that this book was a debut, because Julie writes like a seasoned pro. The way that she crafted not only her plot lines, but her characters, weaving in past and present versions of them and really showing a sense of development was amazing. 

I'm usually not a huge fan of books that are written in 'then and now' styles (Like Pandamonium by Lauren Oliver and How to Love by Katie Cotugno), but this one felt extremely natural. I could see how much the characters had changed, especially Alice, due to their situations. I loved how natural the growth seemed, like if the characters had become anything else it would have been out of character. 


I've seen a lot of people come down hard on Alice's character, saying that she was irritating, but I saw the exact opposite. I found everything that Alice did was justifiable and understandable. I really loved the emotional growth that she went through in this novel. The way that she dealt with things really made sense to me and I felt like everything she did, whether or not it was a good idea, she did for a reason and I respected that. Alice is one of my favourite female protagonists that i've read as of late.


I also really liked the writing style. Julie wrote so honestly that sometimes I was thinking about how harsh it was, but then I realised; it fit the story. Nothing in Alice's life was every sugarcoated and the writing matched it. There was a line in the book that I think emulated the writing. Alice says, 'I wasn't charitable with my words.' In this book, what is left unsaid makes the writing even more impactful. 


I also really liked the relationship between Alice and Harvey. Their messed up love life was so interesting to read about. It seemed like two teenagers, impulsive and indecisive, dealt with their situation. It made the characters seem more real, in a way. I really loved it.


Overall, I loved this book. I loved the writing, and the characters so much and I remember tweeting about how I was crying about 30 pages in because it was so sad and yet so good. Julie Murphy is definitely an author you should watch out for. 5/5 stars. :)


-Indigo Wayworth

@indigowayworth

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