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Side Effects May Vary

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  13,593 ratings  ·  1,974 reviews
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.
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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 ·  13,593 ratings  ·  1,974 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
I’d always heard that when you truly love someone, you’re happy for them as long they’re happy. But that’s a lie. That’s higher-road bullshit. If you love someone so much, why the hell would you be happy to see them with anyone else? I didn’t want the easy kind of love. I wanted the crazy love, the kind of love that created and destroyed all at the same time.
They say it takes a bitch to know one, and it will come as no surprise to many people that I found myself loving this book.

I love the l
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
I loved parts of this book, while others irritated me. Or I should say Alice irritated me. However, the angle of getting a second chance at a life you were done and over with does give you food for thought for which I applaud. Cancer books are not stories I go into lightly; there's so much cancer in real life already, why would I want to read about yet another victim of this monster? Still, there's something about this one that called to me and I'm glad I read it. It brings up a different, highl ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“I knew how to die. It was the living that scared me.”

At a time when cancer has become nearly cliché in young adult romance stories, Julie Murphy comes up with a new spin on things. Everything was going great for Alice. She was surviving her freshman year in high school, was the best ballet student in her class, had landed a popular boyfriend . . . but then she saw something that she couldn’t unsee, found out Mr. Perfect was cheati
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
The book is essentially about a girl named Alice who is revealed to have leukemia. She creates a bucket list of things she needs to complete before her death. Forming a close relationship with Harvey is one of them. They were buddies during their younger years before fate took them to different directions

“Then we’d drifted. High school did that to you, turned you into pieces of driftwood. And the parts of you that you’d tried to keep in one piece became the property of the wind and wate
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing

All mixed reviews made me read it. Jasprit gave up on 50%, Alise and Giselle were annoyed by main character, but Brandi and Christy gave me hope that it might not be that bad. Where does that leave me?

Better than that other popular book about cancer. Earlier this year I read the famous The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and I failed to find it appealing as many other readers. There was "something" that felt off and I couldn't buy the whole "we are dying and everything is rainbows and unicorn
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Julie Murphy, she has ruined me.

People, this book is the type of book that makes you question your enthusiasm for the other books you've read, because this book is everything - voice, pacing, wit, characterizations, the infinite moments of memories, the ending.

This non-linear book reminds me one of my favorite reads, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Not that the story is the same, it's that the feel of the story is the same. That both Alice and Arnold Spirit are learning to live
Chelsea ✨Arielle’s Nebular Ally and Team Acrux✨

Karma was a bitch, but so was I.

Once upon a time, there was a girl. This girl grew up with her best friend, her partner in crime, and they were inseparable. She was the ring-leader, and he'd follow her anywhere. He'd do anything for her, because he had fallen madly in love with her. They got to high school. They drifted apart. Then one day, her world shattered with the uttering of three simple words: You have cancer. And with the proclamation of these words, the world became clearer.
Whitney Atkinson
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
It literally took me like 3 minutes to snap out of this book's setting once i finished it

*hand gestures*
*lays down*

I met the author at a book signing and she was completely awesome- I can't wait until this comes out!
Harvy = 5 Stars
Alice = 0 Stars
Rating Clarification = 2.5 Stars

Wow! What a tough book to warm up to! I haven’t struggled with a protag this much in a long time. There were many moments in the story that I just about threw in the towel, so I surprise myself that I saw it all the way through.

Side Effects May Vary balances a potentially touching story between two very different protagonists. First you have sixteen year old Alice that is diagnosed with cancer. From one day to the next, she sees her l
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, e-arc
Nose Graze — Book reviews & blogging tips

2.5 Stars

=== My review may contain some MINOR spoilers. They're super minor and vague though and won't ruin the book for you. I just vaguely highlight how long the MC is a bitch for and at what percentage she starts trying to not be a bitch. ===

I was disappointed in Side Effects May Vary :( There were two main problems for me: I didn't like the "then" and "now" style of narration (I don't think it worked well here), and the main character quickly beca
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Where I expected a deep and meaningful plot there was a bland storyline mostly based on the petty revenge of a young girl. Where I expected a mature, old-soul type main character there was a shallow teen who recovered from cancer and hates the world for it.

Characters in a Gif: Alice

I’m going to get right into this with Alice. This girl. This girl literally has a personal grudge against what seems like everyone on Earth. She’s a total bitch to her best friend Harvey, who has done nothing but
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
I don't know how I feel about this one. You can definitely tell it's a debut so I do want to put a disclaimer out there. If this is your first Julie Murphy novel, read more. I personally feel Julie Murphy is an amazing author and you can see her development and progression as a writer in her subsequent novels (Dumplin' and Ramona Blue). I am not saying this is a terrible novel but everything about her as an author gets better in the following novels.

The story actually is a unique and admittedly
Jeramey Kraatz
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful. Really, just beautiful.

Side Effects May Vary is witty and raw and heartfelt, and above all, brutally, wonderfully honest. It's one of those books that creates a world and characters so engrossing that you feel like they become a part of you, and that you have a vested interest in their lives. You fall into the world of Alice and Harvey so completely that when you come up for air you realize it's 3am and you only meant to read a chapter or two before going to sleep. It'll leave you th
Jessica Taylor
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
I was lucky enough to read Side Effects early on and watch it grow, evolve, and basically burrow itself inside my heart.

With subtle yet haunting prose, Julie Murphy weaves a non-linear tale about a dying girl named Alice and her childhood friend, Harvey, who can’t seem to let her go.

Alice is the unlikable girl you can’t help but love. When Alice learns she has a second chance at life, she must confront those she wronged when it seemed her days were running out. As the novel progresses, we slowl
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First things first, I want to say that this book was very honest and real. It's very raw and very real, it doesn't gloss over anything or romanticize cancer or it's side effects. That being said, while I can appreciate that about the book, I did not like this book.

My main problem with this book was the main character Alice. I did not like her at all. She's so mean, such a bully and so manipulative. She was just cold and heartless, not to mention so freakin' moody. With Harvey, she'd be clinging
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this sucked. Ended up having to skim to the end because I hated the main characters with a passion and couldn't take their BS any longer. The story itself wasn't really worth putting up with these turds.

Alice is a demon spawn. Harvey is a limp noodle. I am not amused.

This didn't even feel like Julie Murphy wrote it.
Absolutely loved this! Harvey is the best book boyfriend I have read this year. Alice rips my heart out just as she ripped Harvey's to shreds. Beautiful writing (I seriously wanted to quote a line from every other page) with characters that jump off the page. A must read! ...more
Jay G
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

When 16 year old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she devises a plan to complete a list of things before she dies. Not thinking of the consequences of her actions, she enlists the help of her friend Harvey, in order to complete the list. After the list is complete, Alice is ready to let go, but then she is given the news that she is in remission and must now deal with the consequences
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read as digital ARC.

This book, man...You're going to have to surrender a small chunk of your life to reading it and then another chunk of your life to sorting out your feelings about it. Julie's captured something really authentic here, and it might rip you apart a little bit. Basically, Alice doesn't know what she's doing, and I think that's something all of us can relate to. Sometimes she makes bad decisions, and you'll want to grab her by the shoulders and give her a shake. Sometimes she's s
Jen  Bigheart
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
MYEYEBALLSAREBROKEN! Are there more than 5 stars to give? Loved loved loved.

(more thoughtful review with proper vocab tk)
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! I'm even more excited for Dumplin' after reading this. Weeeeee! ...more
This book kind of reminded me of other books like: Fault In Our Stars and A Walk To Remember.

However, it just wasn't good enough to compare it to the other books.

I don't really know why but it probably has to deal with the MC, Alice, and how I just didn't like her. It's like she was okay with dying but not happy that she was in remission BECAUSE she just had to be with the guy who was falling for her. Like really? Uh sorry back up. Because in A Walk To Remember we all know she wanted to end up
Cortney LaScola Hornyak -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach
I loved the idea behind this book more than the actual book.

The multiple POV's and multiple timelines took away from the story. If it all would have been in order, I think the book would have flowed much better.

I still think Julie Murphy is amazing, but you can tell this was her first book.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

For those of you that weren't exactly bowled over by John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (or if you were like me and enjoyed it but thought the dialogue was way too precious and unconvincingly age-appropriate), Julie Murphy's debut effort Side Effects May Vary just might provide a refreshing alternative.

Yeah, it's another YA cancer story; the afflictee in question, Alice, a sophomore at Hughley High, was for a time an aspiring ballet dancer before she got sick with leukemia. Her lovin
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This goes to show that authors can really surprise you.

I read that Side Effects May Vary was about cancer, romance, and revenge, and grabbed it as quickly as I could off the library shelf. Then I saw the author's name on the cover and thought, "Oh great." The only other book I've read by Julie Murphy was Dumplin', which was one of my least favorite reads of 2015. But holy guacamole - I'm so glad I gave this a try.

There's something I think people need to know about this book: it has an extremely
Zemira Warner
Alice, Alice, Alice... You stubborn, cold girl! I admire you. I really do. And I admire Julie Murphy for taking the biggest leap with Alice being Alice. You see, Alice is horrible to everyone and she has cancer. She uses her parents and her best friend, Harvey whenever she can, because she can. No one's going to say no to a dying girl, right?

Then something happens-her cancer's gone and now it's time to go back to school and start living. She left a trail of enemies in school and Harvey has expe
Lindsay Smith
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-ya, 2013
This broke my heart in all the right places. Here are three reasons why you NEED this book to break yours, too:

1. Side Effects May Vary is the morning after the storm. The sun is shining and the birds are singing, but Alice and Harvey are left standing in the doorway of a house that no longer exists, and they have to pick up the wreckage. Yeah. It's that kind of grueling.

2. Alice shoves your other cancer books' faces into the mashed potatoes and steals their lunch money. She is raw and brutal an
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is a book about cancer, but it's about a girl who goes into remission. She is so used to the idea of dying that she does not know how to deal with living.
This is a very raw and real book.
The main character, Alice, is so annoying, mean, and manipulative. I got very aggravated with her many times. She is such a flawed character, but it made this a very real story.
The other main character, Harvey, was annoying as well because he let Alice stomp all over him.
However, by the end the chara
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this so, so much. Harvey is absolutely amazing and Alice is so human and raw. Fabulous characters and beautiful writing. So excellent!
 Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)

I saw the blurb for this book on Goodreads about a year ago and thought that it sounded really interesting. Cancer books seemed to be all the rage but this one was stood apart from the rest.  Having now listened to this book a few times, I can say that it has really grown on me. I really liked this book, but Alice still isn't my favorite character.

This book was different than other cancer books in that the person with cancer doesn't die. The book isn't a huge emotional drama with imminent de
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Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.

When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure.

She is also the #1

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