SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY BY: JULIE MURPHY

side effects may vary 3 out of 5 stars

 

I’m a little conflicted about how I feel after reading this book. I really liked the plot. This kind of jaded teenage girl, finding out she has cancer and is going to die, which in turn leads her to choose to live the rest of her days doing the things she wants to do and throwing caution and consequence to the wind. The real kicker comes after she uses this time more for revenge purposes than anything else, and after engaging in all these dirty deeds finds out that she really isn’t going to die. So now she must face the things she has done and the very real consequences that come with them.

Sounds awesome huh?! I thought so too, unfortunately the characters leading this parade, Alice and Harvey (the boy who she drags through the trenches with her mercilessly) fell a little short for me. Alice can be a very hard person to sympathize with most of the time. You’d think it would be quite easy considering her tragic circumstances, but she ends up making it harder than you think. She comes off as pretty selfish, petty and shamelessly cruel at times. But there are also times when I thought Alice was very brave to actually act out things that most people only daydream of doing.

I found myself starting this book with excitement and intrigue, and then it lulled for me in the middle, and came back around to being engaging again in the end. I think the part in the middle was so hard for me to get into because Alice was so frustrating to me. I had a hard time understanding why she was so cold and detached from the few people that truly cared for her. It felt to me that she just used everyone to meet whatever ends were best for her with absolutely no regard for how her actions affected those people.  Harvey was a sweet guy, he really stood by Alice, even when I wanted to shake him for doing so! It was hard to watch the constant blows to him and he just stood there through the storm with little thought of his own well being. In the end though the story did come back around and come to a very fitting resolution. I did appreciate the growth of the characters and the ending which I found perfectly fitting to this story. All in all it was an interesting story, but it wasn’t exactly on par with my higher expectations of it.

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