Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
Publication Date: March 18th, 2014
My Rating: 3 Crazy Stars
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.
Upon reading the synopsis of Side Effects May Vary, I was immediately drawn in. Doing a bucket list with a guy just screams romance and feels, and knowing that Alice went into remission (from the synopsis), I thought that the romance would continue, creating a cute read. I'm a sucker for romance, and I felt like I would love the story because of my assumptions.
So then I started reading immediately, but boy was I proven wrong in a lot of things! First of all, Alice's bucket list is entirely different from the norm. Normal bucket lists - at least those that are in romance novels - would contain things like falling in love, reconciling with enemies, doing good deeds and visiting several places. Alice's bucket list? It had none of these. Instead, she wanted to have revenge on all those who have harmed her. The cutesy romance I was expecting? Not there at all, because Alice was this bitch who didn't know how to value all the things that Harvey did for her.
Though I hated Alice for those, I do admire her as well for being her own person. I realized that Alice truly is a brave person, despite her cowardliness when it comes to love. She endured her mother's cheating on her father, went her own way when it came to the bucket list, and most of all, stood for what she did. Do not be mistaken, I thought she was mean and all that, but the point is that Alice never tried to deny her wrongdoings. She never used excuses to justify her revenge. She was just her own person throughout, which is really just hard to find in people nowadays. Even I find it hard at times.
Harvey. At first I admired him because he stood by Alice - through her sickness and through her crazy bucket list. He went with Alice's bucket list even though he didn't know the full details, he stayed with her through her weakness. But soon, my admiration for him turned to irritation because while Alice was her own self throughout, Harvey, on the other hand, was like a dog following his master's commands. He does everything and didn't know how to stand up for himself, though that was remedied near the end, so my image for him was saved.
Side Effects May Vary is a really really crazy read - thus the really really crazy review. I couldn't find the right words to truly describe what I felt when reading this book, but this one's close: I hated it, but I loved it. It was really a tug of was throughout, and even after weeks of reading the novel, I still found it hard to rate it or write a review, until I forced myself today for the blog tour. I knew that I cannot give it less than 3 stars, but I couldn't give it more than 3 stars either.
No words can describe the feeling of reading this book. You'll be mad, sad, happy, and you'll have all these crazy emotions that you won't be able to express when you finish the book. It's really hard to explain. You have no idea how hard this is to write. This is probably the hardest review I've ever written yet!
I suggest you give this a go to experience this. I can't promise you that you'll love, I can't tell you that you'll hate it either. You'll just have to find out by yourself, because it was a crazy roller coaster ride, and I can say that it was worth my time.
Win (1) finished copy of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (US Only)
Labels: 3 Stars, ARC Review, Blog Tour, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult