Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Posted by Caitie F on March 13, 2014

Title: Side Effects May Vary side effects
Author: Julie Murphy
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Mar 18, 2014
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Rating: ++

Summary from pub:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Sarah Dessen in this lyrical novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she’s gone into remission.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend 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.


When I read the description of the book, I was really excited. It sounded like a unique story with a fresh voice. Yet I was also wary because there was a comparison to John Green and when books get compared to my favorites, they rarely live up to it.

This one wasn’t even close. I didn’t care about any of the characters at all. Frankly, Alice was a bitch. She was one before she got cancer and she was one after too. Does she change throughout the book? Yes, but she always goes back to just being nasty and she constantly blames other people for it. She is so self-centered and is the perfect example of how you shouldn’t act.

Harvey was a good person, but he was so dense and naive that I didn’t care about his chapters either. I loved that he cares about people, but his entire world revolved around one person who treated him like shit. That made the caring about others seem so fake and ingenuine. I hate the term “friendzone” but that is what it felt like he thought he was in. If only he could do more, then she would finally love him. It is just not my kind of character.

I don’t have to like characters to like a story, in fact I enjoy stories with unlikable characters. I have to care about something in it and I just didn’t. The only reason I even finished the book is that I thought it might have an awesome ending. The ending was just okay.

While the premise was cool and the writing was fine, this book was a big miss for me. Have you read any books lately that you thought you would love and didn’t? I think a big reason I didn’t like it is the phrase “The Fault in Our Stars meets Sarah Dessen”. Those are two of my favorites and it put my expectations way too high going into this book.



One Response to “Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy”

  1. Ah, too bad. I love the title and the premise.

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