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Traveling Through Pages


I am a 20 year-old college student majoring in Biochemistry, who loves to read and make book-related videos on my YouTube channel. :)

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary - Julie    Murphy

This is  a very unique book! 


It's essentially about a teen girl, Alice, who has cancer. She has made all of these plans for her death. She made a list of things she wanted to do, mostly getting revenge on people who wronged her, and enlisted her best friend, Harvey, to help her complete these tasks. However, once she is nearly done with the list, she discovers she is in remission.


Alice is so used to the idea of dying, that she cannot figure out how to deal with living.


First, I want to talk about how the story is told. It switches POVs between Harvey and Alice. It also switches time periods between "past" and "present." This did get confusing for me at times. I really had to pay attention to the chapter headings to figure out who was talking and where they were. However, I liked this method of story-telling because it kept me on my toes. I was more interested in the "present" story-line, but I think the switching POVs gave it more depth.


The characters are a BIG part of this book. Alice is an extremely flawed character. She is manipulative, annoying, and mean. Sometimes I got completely fed up with her, but the reader is supposed to. Alice is definitely strong-minded and determined, but also lost and unable to process her feelings in a positive way. She is really unlike any YA character I have ever read, which I think is great. Thankfully, she did have some redeeming qualities, but at times I felt her rough personality went a little overboard. There is growth and resolution by the end, but I wish it came a little sooner. I do admire her strength, and I admire the risk that Murphy took in writing such an unlikeable character. Someone who has been through Alice's situation may relate to her and I could see some people really loving how unique she is.


Harvey could also be aggravating as well. He would let Alice step all over him and still think she's amazing. The relationship between Harvey and Alice fascinated me. They went through some rough patches and seeing how they dealt with everything really interested me. 


Both of these characters are complex and definitely went through a lot of growth. I enjoyed this book because it had an easy writing style to it and the characters are unique and unlike any I have read. I also loved the ending and overall had a fun time reading it (except when Alice was being completely ridiculous and obnoxious)!


I would say this is definitely the kind of book you have to read for yourself. One person could hate it and one person could love it. I do recommend it, though.