Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy - ARC Review

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Published by: HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray on March 18th, 2014
Pages: 335
Format: ARC
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Won
Rating: 2.5/5
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FROM GOODREADS: 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 writing 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.


I was so so so so excited for this book. Actually, when I won a copy from Folio Books on twitter, I was ecstatic and running around my house screaming. Not really. I mean, mostly, but as soon as I received it in the mail, I sat down and prepared myself to be wowed. But I wasn't at all.

I actually had a love and hate relationship with Side Effects May Vary. I loved the idea of the book. It sounded so good! Revenge on ex-boyfriends and people have wronged you in the past sounds like something right up my alley. It was just the way Side Effects May Vary was delivered that I didn't like. First off, it is kind of confusing. Side Effects May Vary switches between Alice and her best friend, Harvey's, points of view, which wasn't a bad thing. The part that got confusing was when it not only switched between Alice and Harvey, it also switched between past and future Alice and Harvey as well. It was a little daunting keeping up with all the happenings to be honest.

My second problem with Side Effects May Vary was the main character, Alice. She was, I hate to say it, a total selfish b word, not just for a little while but for 98.9% of the entire novel. It was so frustrating, because Harvey is the sweetest of sweet when it comes to a boy. I adored him, and Alice just used him over and over for her own devices, with no regard to his feelings. I seriously would strangle Alice if I was standing in front of her.

The ending wrapped up in about ten pages, and everything was all happily ever after, but I felt it needed to happen a long time before the end of the book and it seemed as if it was just thrown in last minute. 

I don't know. Side Effects May Vary was interesting. Some people really loved it and some seem to have the same problems with it that I did. My suggestion is to read a few pages of it before you buy it to see if it's something you would enjoy. Side Effects May Vary was just meh to me, and for that reason, I'm giving it two hearts. 

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  1. I've already read this one and absolutely did not like it. Like you said, Alice was an absolute b**** to Harvey. I guess we differ because I wasn't a fan of Harvey. :( Anyway, lovely review, Becca!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

  2. Hmm... I don't know! I was never really excited to read this book and the whole switching between past and future plus 2 perspectives sounds really confusing. Don't think I'll be reading this!

  3. A lot of people have been disappointed with this read. I'm sorry that it didn't work for you. :(

  4. Hmmmm... I've really wanted to read this one since I first heard about it, too bad it sounds like it wasn't as good... :(


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