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Side Effects

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  797 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
As if it isn't bad enough to have cancer, practically every time we pick up a book or hear about a character in a movie who gets sick, we know they'll be dead by the last scene. In reality, kids get all kinds of cancers, go through unspeakable torture and painful treatments, but walk away, fine in the end. Isabelle, not quite 15, is living a normal life of fighting with he ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Square Fish (first published October 3rd 2006)
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Mar 07, 2009 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readit, 2009
The only thing keeping this from a fifth star is that by the end, everything feels rushed, like reaching 144 pages would be too much and it had to end on magical #143 and it had to end painfully, fantastically happy.

I don't begrudge the happy, I do find the rushed bit a little vexing because the rest was so good.
Oct 15, 2010 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Side Effects By: Amy Goldman Koss

I recently finished reading the book Side Effects, by Amy Goldman Koss. It is an inspiring story about a teenage girl named Izzy. Izzy gets diagnosed with lymphoma. It was very surreal for her. This was her story.

What I liked most about this book was how Izzy stayed the same and didn’t let the cancer bring her down. She was a strong person. She made it seem like it was no big deal. She acted as though she was no different from anyone else in the world. She did n
Mar 28, 2011 Alandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can the horrific journey of cancer be uplifting and downright funny?

I don't know the scientific formula, but Amy Goldman Koss has done it.

This was a short read and I honestly couldn't put it down. It's amazing to me that a book pretty much solely about one girl's experience with CANCER could be a page-turner, but there it is!

It was as character-driven as a circumstance-plotted book could be. Izzy was sooo much fun to be around; satirical, sarcastic, funny, realistic, artistic. I felt--physic
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

Izzy wakes up one morning concerned because her glands are still swollen from a recent sickness--and she soon discovers that she has cancer. She's placed into a children's hospital where people come talk to her until she no longer hears what they're talking about. All she can do is concentrate on drawing.

Her mother is a basket case and Izzy is in shock.

Now her life has drastically changed. People who were her friends no longer talk to her and peo
Jun 21, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
In the dedication at the front of the book the author writes "And as if it doesn't suck enough to have cancer, practically every time you pick up a book of see movies where characters get sick you know they'll be dead by the last scene. In reality, kids get all kinds of cancers, go through unspeakable torture and painful treatments, but walk away fine in the the end. The book is about that descent into hell, with a safe return. I dedicate it to everyone who has been there and back."

It manages to
Jul 31, 2012 Kianah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Side effects by Amy Goldman Koss is about a girl named Isabelle who is diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. This book is almost like Isabelle's diary because it tells you how she is handling things, how she's feeling, and how her family is doing. Isabelle hides her fear by being disrespectful to the nurses, doctors, and her family. Isabelle makes a friend with the girl in the bed next to her. Her name is Carrie. Carrie was diagnosed with blood cancer. Carrie helped Isabelle go through her treatments ...more
May 05, 2015 Rita7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Izzy wakes up in the morning one day ready to go to school and crush on the boy of her dreams Jared when while she is combing her hair,she notices swollen glands in her neck.Izzy tells her mom and her mother said she will take her to the doctor at lunch time at school.But once they get to the doctor they do some scans and the doctor who was scanning her was no longer smiling as he usually did so they get sent to another doctor then something that wasn't ever expected came and hit Izzy's reality ...more
As a middle schooler, I was semi-obsessed with Lurlene McDaniel and her cancer characters. The triumphs when the patients made it, the tragedy when they didn't - I sucked it all up. This novel has a slightly different feel - a little more irreverent, maybe. The main character, Izzy, has a little more sass to her. I would have liked to know more about Izzy before she was diagnosed with lymphoma, just to know where she fit in at school, since a good part of the story focuses on the reactions of he ...more
This tearjerker is an outlier. One look at the cover art and you know you ought to feel inspired. There is a teen girl in cargo pants. She is going to be Real. The human spirit is destined to triumph.

Leave it to me to think this book is a chore.

Funny how this is the first cancer narrative I’ve read that describes in detail the process of chemotherapy. Other tearjerkers mention chemo in passing, skipping ahead to the angst of My First Wig. Other tearjerkers would like to bypass the sickness all
Laura Da Rosa
Oct 15, 2012 Laura Da Rosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book Side Effects written by Amy Goldman, teaches us how to deal with problems that occur in out lives. She shares with the readers the life of a teen and what problem occurs in her life. The author then explains to us ways to overcome the problem in your life.
In Side Effects Isabella is diagnosed with cancer, she is a teenage girl in middle school and had just found out she has cancer, what a shock! The author first tells readers she and her family deal with the news, her mother handling
Nov 09, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read quite a few "kid with cancer" books, so I wasn't expecting much, but this was different. I've never liked any protagonist in this genre of novel as much as I like Isabelle Miller. She's got this whimsically sarcastic spark about her that really makes her human and easy to relate to. She doesnt contemplate life and death or "what happens if..." she just goes about life as usual, plus the puking and lack of hair.She is not much worried about her own fate but rather works to make sure all ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Addy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Side Effects for a school project, and I loved it. Side Affects is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Izzy, who finds out she has cancer. Lymphoma, to be exact. She's rushed to the Children's hospital, where she starts taking medicine for the cancer, and has to get blood drawn, which, unfortuanly, the nurses always have a hard time finding. They suggest a PICC line, which would help, but Izzy said no, and her parents decided to side with her. The book basically takes the reader through the ca ...more
Side Effects takes you through the journey of Isabelle discovering she has cancer and then through her treatment. There is definite emotion, but it is not as overwhelming as it could have been. This is written well for middle school and high school kids. It deals less with the medical side and more with the real life concerns of kids that age such as whether her crush knows about her lymphoma, having to go to school and do homework, and dealing with people's stares. At some points it feels a lit ...more
Nov 02, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic, humor
Very sweet and affirming book about a teen girl suffering from lymphoma; no details are spared as she undergoes chemotherapy and has to deal with all of the crazy and horrible side effects of treatment and just being a person with cancer, period. She's got a wonderful sarcastic sense of humor, which helps her cope, plus drawing skills that keep her from going crazy. Great portraits of her parents and younger brother, and a good best friend who's there for her. A realistic look at surviving child ...more
Sophia Holbein
Jan 19, 2016 Sophia Holbein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review by Sophia Holbein
Side Effects
By Amy Goldman Koss 143 pp. Roaring Book Press $16.95
There are millions of people in our world that experience cancer and its many treatments. Those treatments can be extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss has created a narrative story of a fifteen year old girl’s battle with cancer, treatment, and emotions. Published in 2006, the book leads the reader through the ups and downs of her phases of cancer and chemotherapy
Amy Snyder
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Not-a-spoiler alert! Kid gets cancer and LIVES.

Side Effects is a zero-glossed over journey with Izzy through her treatment for cancer/lymphoma. Scary at times, frustrating and annoying at others, having a book where cancer is *beat* I think would be a very nice change of pace for many readers.

The reading level is pretty easy, and likely would be handled well by middle schoolers. Parents might take issue with Izzy's continual swearing and seemingly tough relationship with her mother. It isn't tha
Janelle S
May 13, 2014 Janelle S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“As if it doesn’t suck enough to have cancer, practically every time you pick up books or see movies where characters get sick, you know they’ll be dead by the last scene. In reality, kids get all kinds of cancers, go through unspeakable torture and painful treatments, but walk away fine in the end.” This quote is from the inside cover of “Side effects” by Amy Goldman Koss.

Izzy Miller is your average 15-year old girl. One day before school she notices swollen glands on her throat. Her mother di
Faith Andreasen
Have you ever had a day that just changed your life forever? Very few of you would have had the kind of life changing news that Izzy got in the book “Side Effects” by Amy Koss. She was minding her business the morning she saw her glands were quite larger than normal. She called to her mother, when her mom was near her she said, “Look at my neck, my glands are still sticking out. That flu was ages ago.”(Page 10) Her mother told Izzy she would call the doctor and try to get an appointment. In sec ...more
Feb 13, 2015 Meg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Izzy is the most unsympathetic teenage cancer patient I have ever read about. She is a foul mouthed sarcastic brat, which wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't for the fact that she was that way before the cancer. The cancer didn't change her into this rude and brooding teen and it didn't change her during or after... Just add in a little depression although she doesn't cry once about her diagnosis. What kind of 14 year old girl is that hardened and mean to the constantly crying and doting mother th ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
IT WAS AWFUL! The main character finds out that she has cancer and doesn't even get upset. Her mom freaks out more than she does. Honestly, how realistic is that? Also, Izzy is a jerk! She constantly tries to freak her parents out with the "I might be dead tomorrow, you guys better give me anything I want" routine. Izzy was a sorry excuse for both a person and a character. I would have jumped for joy if she had actually died, but alas... No such luck.
Neida Mejia
Oct 06, 2014 Neida Mejia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very cute. Especially for a cancer book! Oh, you guys. You know I like my disease books. It was really refreshing to read one that still had all the gruesome medical stuff you could dream of (if you're into that) and yet no angels or inspirational crap.

(You probably guessed that a page into the book I was checking my glands. But they're fine.)

(read: 44)
Apr 24, 2010 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without much depth, it's a realistic and short description of what it's like for a teenager to battle cancer, lose her hair, want to die, and come back, while having to support her family who seems to be struggling to cope with the issues that arise.

Heartwarming and funny, but also realistic.
Dec 28, 2009 Romie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in one setting. It was painful, sad, touching, funny, and sweet all at the same time. Being a mother myself, I traveled on Isabelle's journey both through her mother's eyes, as well as her own.
Jennifer (Teen Librarian) Beiermann
When Izzy goes to the doctor to check her swollen glands, she thinks he'll give her some medicine and that's it. Well, it's not that simple. She has cancer and must undergo chemotherapy.
Nov 13, 2015 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this after I found out my dad was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. Was a scary descriptive picture of chemo. A little outdated now as so many of the problems with chemo can be dealt with. Was a refreshing read not about the fear of the patient but the reactions of those around you. What do you say? How do you act? How to deal with all the changes. A VERY quick read. I do recommend it. Three stars only because the character was a little 2 dimensional and crass for me and it was little ou ...more
Dec 03, 2008 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cancer patients, and caregivers
Great book about a teen faced with cancer. Any person that has gone through cancer can appreciate this book.
Jan 29, 2014 Cori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic, hated-it
SIDE EFFECTS had no plot. No conflict. Isabelle is our narrator, a bland teenage girl diagnosed with cancer. She dutifully reports her treatments and side effects through the duration of her chemotherapy, and...that's it. She doesn't get upset, she doesn't express her emotions, she just reports and occasionally whines. There is potential here for a story -- possible conflict with Kay, her best friend, or a romance with Andy, a boy she only briefly talks to but "likes" -- but nothing legitimately ...more
Jan 28, 2010 Marissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was also very good!
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