SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy

SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY

Age Range: 15 - 18

KIRKUS REVIEW

A teen faces mortality—and then the possibility of life after all.

Alice has spent the last year convinced she will die of acute lymphocytic leukemia, but now she’s in an unexpected remission, and the fatalism that earlier freed her from any scruples she felt about completing the more extreme items on her Just Dying To-Do List won’t serve her well if she’s going to live. In chapters that alternate perspective between Alice and her steadfast, loving not-quite-boyfriend, Harvey, Alice exacts revenge on her ex-boyfriend, Luke, and her chief nemesis, Celeste. Her dramatic flair and creativity in these endeavors—including a re-enactment of the pig’s blood scene from Carrie—are as chilling as they are entertaining. Alice’s ballsy triumphs over the people who’ve caused her grief box her into an untenable cycle of revenge and payback. Were it not for Alice’s bracing honesty (if only with herself) about her crises of confidence and her devotion to Harvey, she might come across as only a rather unpleasant and manipulative girl obsessed with having the last word before she dies. Instead, readers will, like Harvey, see Alice in all her complexity. Unlike most teens-with-cancer novels, Alice’s story ends on a note of hard-won redemption and possibility.

Readers will turn the last page wanting to know where the next chapter leads. (Fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: March 18th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-224535-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014




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