Side Effects May Vary Side Effects May Vary by
Published by , on March 28, 2014
Genres: ,
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 336

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.

Narrators: Cassandra Campbell and Kirby Heyborne; Length: 9 hrs 16 min

Side Effects May Vary is an honest, messy, and complicated nonlinear story about a girl dealing with cancer, and the boy that loves her. I listened to the audiobook, and was immediately drawn into the story, finding excuses to listen whenever I could. Told in dual perspectives between Alice and Harvey it jumps between “then”, before and during Alice’s battle with cancer, and “now”, when Alice’s cancer surprisingly and miraculously goes into remission.

Julie Murphy’s pacing is great, and the characterizations are fantastic. Alice is flawed and admittedly, I had a hard time liking her for a large portion of the book. However, I enjoyed getting to know the good and bad, and seeing how she deals with going from facing death, to realizing she needs to start living again. By the end of the book, Alice managed to squeeze her way into my good graces. Harvey, I adored. He’s loyal, dependable, hard-working, and sweet. I dare any female to read this book and not fall for him. Though I didn’t like parts of Alice’s character, I couldn’t help but root for them to be together. I LOVED when Harvey finally called Alice out on her BS, I actually cheered out loud!

I recommend Side Effects May Vary to anyone that’s a fan of realistic fiction, in audio or print. The narrators, Cassandra Campbell and Kirby Heyborne, were excellent. I loved this story, and I can’t wait to read more from Julie Murphy.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

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5 Stars

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