Published by Balzer + Bray, HarperAudio on March 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.