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Side Effects May Vary

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I absolutely love this book. This book can bring anyone to tears

I absolutely love this book. This book can bring anyone to tears! This book is about choosing between life and death and how to deal with it. This book is about a girl named Alice that is diagnosed with leukemia and her world is crashing down around her, but the year sh...
I absolutely love this book. This book can bring anyone to tears! This book is about choosing between life and death and how to deal with it. This book is about a girl named Alice that is diagnosed with leukemia and her world is crashing down around her, but the year she was supposed to die was the year she finally lived. I think that this book is a different version of The Fault in our Stars but, a better one. I think this because this book has a touch of revenge and remission. The author of this book, Julie Murphy, keeps the story and plot real. What I mean by that is that she keeps it true and relatable. It shows the struggle of teenagers that are in high school. All I can say about this book is to expect the unexpected. I did not expect for this book to have such a heart filled story.


posted by MaryW01 on November 6, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Could Be Better

I was really excited to start this book because the summary made it sound very interesting and feel-good. However the summary did not include how much you will hate the main character. I get that it was not the authors intention for the reader to relate to and like Alic...
I was really excited to start this book because the summary made it sound very interesting and feel-good. However the summary did not include how much you will hate the main character. I get that it was not the authors intention for the reader to relate to and like Alice but she did not have to make her a cold-hearted reptile who disregarded anyones feelings that weren't her own. For me, it's hard to like a book if I don't like the main character so I tried to separate my feelings of dislike for Alice and that of the actual novel in order to write a fair review. The plot and other character development was superb. So if you can ignore an obnoxious main character, go ahead and read this book, you'll probably love it.

posted by Anonymous on July 17, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    Could Be Better

    I was really excited to start this book because the summary made it sound very interesting and feel-good. However the summary did not include how much you will hate the main character. I get that it was not the authors intention for the reader to relate to and like Alice but she did not have to make her a cold-hearted reptile who disregarded anyones feelings that weren't her own. For me, it's hard to like a book if I don't like the main character so I tried to separate my feelings of dislike for Alice and that of the actual novel in order to write a fair review. The plot and other character development was superb. So if you can ignore an obnoxious main character, go ahead and read this book, you'll probably love it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    This is an okay book. I first wanted to read it because I though

    This is an okay book. I first wanted to read it because I thought I would relate to the main character with cancer, being a young adult cancer survivor myself. Even though the story touch on that part of her journey of before, going through and after being diagnosed and in remission, I feel like the story is more focus on her relationship with the boy next door, aka her male best friend, who is like forever being friendzoned lol Making you want to like Harvey and less of Alice. I do like how the story is played through flashbacks "Then" and "Now" chapters to give you that background and how their past events shaped how they are today.Though that can get a big confusing making you feel like when are they ever going to get together? because it constantly seem like she wants him but then dont , then do again. It was a decent book, pretty brief when I think more about it after I finished it. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2014

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
    Alice has been living life without worrying about consequences, because she knows that her leukaemia will soon kill her. Then she goes into remission.
    What will Alice do now? And how many people has she used and alienated while she thought it didn’t matter?


    This started off good, but I lost interest half way through, and the ending was a bit of a let-down.

    Alice was an okay character, and I liked how she wanted to live her life without restraints because she had an expiry date. I didn’t like the way that she treated Harvey though, all she did was mess with his feelings, without admitting any of her own, which I thought was really bad. She never seemed to consider how he would feel when she died, or how he’d feel when she went into remission, she just thought about how she felt.

    The storyline in this was okay, but I lost interest half-way through. I thought that some of Alice’s little revenge tactics were interesting, but I hated all the dilly-dallying around, and wanted the story to move on a bit quicker.
    The romance in this was a bit odd. It seemed obvious that Harvey loved Alice, and Alice seemed to love Harvey in return, but then didn’t want to admit it for all sorts of reasons. The way she used him time and time again, never told him her real feelings, and then ignored him was just awful, and I really didn’t like that about her. I wanted her to just man up, and admit her feelings, especially considering the number of times he told her he loved her, but she just carried on being horrible to him.
    The ending of this was disappointing for me. It just didn’t feel like an end, and even though Alice did eventually do something nice for someone, based on her previous actions, I could just see her turning around and being nasty again in the next breath, and things just weren’t solid enough for me to finish this thinking that anything had changed.
    Overall; okay story, but the ending was disappointing.
    6.75 out of 10.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    When I began reading Side Effects May Vary, I geared myself up f

    When I began reading Side Effects May Vary, I geared myself up for another book along the lines of The Fault in Our Stars or The F– It List. The book was neither. I wouldn’t even describe it as a combination of the two. It was entirely its own story and, while I found flaws, I also ultimately appreciated it for what it was. I wouldn’t classify this is a cancer book or a romance. Yes, it contains both, but neither truly pull the focus from the character development of what I would classify as a coming of age tale.

    If you aren’t capable of enjoying a book with a frustrating protagonist, a sweet love interest who is missing more than bit of his backbone and a storyline that might make you want to yell at the characters and rip your hair out, you might want to move along. But if you are willing to give some deeply flawed characters a chance and allow the author to make you truly detest them before coming to appreciate them as they are, you’ll want to give this one a try. Just don’t expect to find unicorns, rainbows and flowers here. You’ll find gorgeous writing, complex characters, a plot that will keep you hooked… but it’s not all happy and warm and fuzzy.

    Alice isn’t a very nice girl. I tried to put myself in her shoes, but I failed to ever truly understand why she acted as she did. I would expect someone given a second chance at life would embrace it and the people who were there for her while she was at her lowest. She did welcome the possibilities that remission brought, but she pushed away Harvey, her best friend, the boy she loved and the one who remained by her side as she battled cancer. Her family life was less than perfect and she pushed her mom and dad away as well, but that wasn’t as devastating to me as how she treated Harvey. She was manipulative. She knew how to play Harvey and didn’t hesitate to do it. It was difficult to like or relate to someone who willingly treated people she loved so badly. I know she had been through hell on Earth, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but it still didn’t fully excuse her actions.

    Oh, Harvey. How I loved thee. But how I wanted him to get a backbone. His feelings for Alice were obvious. He never hid them. Her leukemia diagnosis was devastating to him. He was in love with her and didn’t know how to deal with the fact that she wouldn’t be around for the life he wanted with her. But, as sad as he was, he was there for her every step of the way, no matter how ugly it all got. He was a fantastic guy, a great friend and the boyfriend any girl would want to have. To see him so hopeful at Alice’s second chance, only to have those hopes squashed by Alice’s actions broke my heart. He really did deserve better than Alice was capable of giving him. He tried to move on, but it’s difficult to do so when the person you love keeps pushing your buttons and then, just as quickly, pushing you away.

    Side Effects May Vary was told from both Alice’s and Harvey’s POV. It was also told in both past and present tense. This setup could have been tremendously confusing, but I never got bogged down in it. As a matter of fact, I appreciated learning the whole picture. Each character had a clear voice. The multiple POVs allowed me to get inside each character’s head and try to understand their motivations. I truly felt for both of them. Their pain and confusion came through on every page. I found myself entirely invested in their story and was all but yelling at them through the course of the book. Any time an author can make me feel this much – good, bad and everything in between – I have to give them credit. I’m a feeler when I read, so it’s not uncommon for me to cry when reading, but it’s a little more uncommon for me to seriously dislike a character, but still be so very invested in them. I was, without a doubt, invested in Alice. I loved Harvey. That was never a question. Together they were complicated. Sometimes frustrating, often sweet and their interactions made me feel. A lot.

    Ultimately, I just wanted Alice and Harvey to find happiness, regardless of whether it was together or not. I wanted them each to admit to their faults and grow. I wanted this to be a story that left me with a sense of hope. By the end, each of my wishes were granted, but boy, it was a bumpy ride.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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