Side Effects May Vary - Julie    Murphy

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she's gone into remission.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done. Contemporary realistic-fiction readers who love romantic stories featuring strong heroines will find much to savor in this standout debut.


This book provided an interesting variation on the terminal illness trend that's been taking over YA literature recently.


Alice was one of my favourite YA characters of recent novels. I found that, though she had fulfilled her bucket list, she had actually spent a lot of time keeping up a pretence for her family and certain people close to her. As such, when she learns that she's gone into remission, she has to reclaim her own life, and doing this isn't exactly pleasing to everyone.


The bucket list wasn't really as much of a topic as I thought it was going to be--it was more of an afterthought. The things she did do were relatively unoriginal and felt more like a high school revenge game than the final wishes of someone dying of cancer.

I loved the emphasis on music and dance. The contrast between an art form, a passion, and a career was palpable and as a former ballet dancer myself I really related to Alice's feelings in quitting.


The format of this book was unusual, with chapters told from both Harvey's and Alice's perspectives before and after. I found this to be more confusing than effective as it sometimes became hard to remember where I was and what was happening, but I did enjoy getting both the before and after contrast.


This was a solid book worth checking out for Alice's character, but it didn't stand out much to me.