Review: Side Affects May Vary

Jan •  15 •  2014

I received this book for free from FTC: Exchange for honest opinion, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Side Affects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on March 18, 2014
Genres: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: FTC: Exchange for honest opinion, Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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?

2014 is a year to read new and exciting novels. A year that I hope to read books that will only leave me wanting more. Side Effects May Vary is the perfect book for me to stop off the new year with.

Side Effects May Vary is a book that comes with originality, new ideas in these pages. I liked how the book went back and forth from the past to present. I felt that the reader is able to connect more with the story when they are able to see what was happening with the characters in the present. The story flowed perfectly together leaving me wanting only more.

Alice and Harvey are the weirdest by far characters I have read. I wanted to connect with Alice and feel her pain but when we saw her giving up it was hard. She started making these choices that, yes I guess she has the right to do, however, it totally went away from the person she really was. In the story, the reader sees everything build up inside of her and you are wondering when she will blow. With Harvey on the other hand, someone needed to slap him. I felt like he was so in love with Alice that nothing she did bothered him. By the end of the book, I felt like things were finally clicking in his head that he did realize what he was doing was wrong.

The romance in this book goes back to the characters. I have to say that I was not sure after reading a little into the book if Alice really did love Harvey or was she just using him to enact her revenge. Harvey, truly never stopped loving Alice even when he thought he left her for good. In the end, I feel that we are able to see the true love that Alice has for Harvey.

In the end, secrets are revealed, the idea of doing something good is enacted, and this book becomes a 2014 favorite. Julie Murphy is truly an author of prestige as she takes the reader on a journey one would not expect to see, especially with a character who might die. Amazing. Worthwhile. Stunning. Original. Side Effects May Vary is a must read for the new year.

I give this book 5 bites!





  1. Kate @ Ex Libris
    Jan 15, 2014

    I loved Alice’s flaws. I felt it really made her a whole person, eve if I didn’t agree with her choices, at times.

    • Chayse Sundt
      Jan 15, 2014

      I agree with you..I felt like sometimes screaming at her and ask her what she was doing.

  2. Jenny
    Jan 15, 2014

    Hm. I worry about my reaction to Alice in this one Chayse since you mention she makes choices that seem to go against who she is. I think that would drive me crazy. Glad that despite that, this book ended up being a favorite for you, and that Alice does finally show her love for Harvey:)

    • Chayse Sundt
      Jan 15, 2014

      Hey Jenny, I do have to think why Alice is making the choices she makes even though I understand on some sort of level, but overall I still thinks that she is making bad choices and she does not realize the effect until the end.

  3. Hm… I do think that some of the characters would make me want to throw the book a time or two, but since you enjoyed it so much I really need to give this book a chance. Great review.

  4. Candace
    Jan 15, 2014

    I love the cover, but I’m a bit unsure about those characters!

  5. Amy
    Jan 17, 2014

    Great review, I really want to read this.

  6. I enjoyed this book but struggled with the formatting. I liked that we get both a past and present view but I didn’t like how it switched inconsistently and I didn’t like how the POV changes were inconsistently switching too. It made it hard for me to keep up with what was going on. Great review!