Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mini-review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: March 18th 2014
My rating: DNF 


What if you'd been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she's said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Side Effects May Vary was my second book dealing with cancer in a row (I had read The Fault in our Stars just before). I’d also been on an emotional book binge, so was sort of expecting the same from this book. However this book mostly left me frustrated because of Alice’s character. I thought the then and now chapters may help to change my feelings towards her and actually understand the way she was. And yes I get that she had so much crap to deal with from Celeste and Luke and that they did deserve a lot of what she was planning coming their way, but her treatment of Harvey was too much for me. At the beginning we were treated to Alice’s pov when she’s with Luke, it’s clear that she has feelings for Harvey and I don’t know if it was the cancer which hardened her character and made her wanted to do just what she wanted as she didn’t know if she would to make it, but still that didn’t give her the right to string Harvey along. 

But what makes matters worse is that when she’s told she’s in remission, instead of actually thanking Harvey and sharing her appreciation for being there for her, she starts to ignore Harvey and latches on to another guy right in front of Harvey! And I really did feel for Harvey he was there for Alice when she was at her weakest, he was roped into doing things he wasn’t comfortable with and he’d put his feelings for Alice out there. For her to throw it in his face. But what made me madder was that Harvey still continued to try and do things for Alice in the now! I understood he couldn’t completely shut off his feelings, but I knew Harvey could do so much better. Alice and Harvey’s characters just eventually became too much for me that I couldn’t read anymore. I was curious to find out how things would end, but not enough to continue with this book.



18 comments:

  1. Ooh, I think I would DNF this one, too. I didn't pick it up because I couldn't handle another kid cancer story and you're making me feel good about that decision. Sounds like Alice turned into a bit of a user after getting her positive diagnosis.

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  2. The Fault in Our Stars would definitely be a hard book for any other book to have to follow Jasprit, but even with that in mind, this book still sounds like it would be a challenge. I'm already irritated with how Alice treats Harvey just from your review, so I think I'd like here even less if I actually read the book. I'm going to pass on this one, sorry it was such a disappointment or you!

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  3. I wanted to read this book when it first came out but the mixed reviews threw me off a little. This review of yours just confirmed that I wouldn't enjoy this book as much. Alice sounds like a terrible character. Her treatment of Harvey sounds horrid and I think I would want to slap her quite a bit while reading. I also think I would be angry at Harvey as well if he continued to associate with her!
    I'm sorry this was a disappointment, Jasprit.
    Lovely review!

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  4. I've seen lots of mixed reviews for this one. Hard-to-deal-with characters don't necessarily turn me off from a book though, so it's still in my maybe list. I'm just not sure whether or not i want to pick this one up.

    Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers

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  5. This sounds frustrating, or at least, Alice's character does. I'm so particular when it comes to character-driven stories like this, and I don't think I could deal with a situation like Harvey/Alice. I'm sorry you couldn't make it to the end, Jasprit. I hope your next book is more satisfying!

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  6. Oh, yeah. I've heard that she treats the guy horrible :( Sucks so bad that this is the case! Ahh, I really want to give this one a try, but then all of these reviews pop up saying the exact same thing that you just did: too. muc. drama. with Alice. She sounds like a biatch tbh and I don't know if I'd like to even see her grow :/ Sorry it wasn't for you, love!

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  7. I avoid issue books like these because I feel as if it's always a gamble with sick characters. Either it's going to be emotionally satisfying or the author is going to use the sickness as a method for the character to lash out in a lot of unforgivable ways which I don't find easy to cope with. It seems like that was the issue here, Jasprit, and I'm sorry this didn't work out at all. I really hope your next read is a looot better, dear! :)

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  8. I commented on this earlier but my comment totally disappeared. I don't know how that happened! Anyway, I was basically saying that while I got through this one OK and liked the writing style I thought Alice was a complete nightmare! Just an awful character!

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  9. Aaargh, Alice sounds like a very frustrating character I won't get along with. I wonder why she treats the guy so cruelly. Harvey sounds wonderful and very kind, but I might criticize him for being too kind to be real if I picked up this book haha. xD Thank you for the honest review, Jasprit! Hopefully you're reading something better now! :)

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  10. I could see why you found the characters frustrating!! I haven't read this one but I think I'd feel annoyed if a character didn't follow her heart when things seemed to be getting more hopeful in her life. Hope your next read will be a better one!

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  11. I DNF'ed this book as well.. because God the characters WERE SO FRUSTRATING! I just couldn't continue reading about Alice that I just had to stop reading the book.. Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  12. I completely agree with this review SO much. I liked the book a little more than you did, but I was definitely annoyed with the characters in this one, mainly Alice and her cruelty and Harvey's inability to stand up to Alice when he knows she's using him. Definitely had the potential to be something amazing, but it's a shame the majority of readers (both of us included!) were put off by Alice's character. Thanks for sharing though! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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  13. I'm sorry the MC's actions were so difficult for you to deal with. Given what you've shared, I completely understand.
    Thanks for the review, Jasprit!

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  14. Sorry this didn't work for you. The overall idea of being angry about cancer and thinking you are going to die, then finding our you aren't, is interesting. however, reviews i've seen have me thinking I wouldn't really enjoy this one because of the MC.

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  15. I thought this book was super great since everyone kept raving about it when it first came out, but I'm glad I know the truth now. I haven't read it yet, but I'm not sure I want to. The idea of the MC stringing and throwing a guy's feelings in his face kind of boggles my mind and pisses me off before I've even read the book. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion.

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  16. Sorry to hear that you didn't finish this one, I think its a love or NOT book.

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  17. Ugh. The main character sounds awful :( I'm so glad I don't own this book, lol. I will not buy it or read it either. Sigh. Amazing review, though. <3 But I'm sorry this book was so awful that you couldn't even finish it :( Thank you for sharing. <3

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  18. Cancer books are not usually for me and I don't like the whole moving on after someone helps you through a trying time, I will pass on this one.

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