Thursday, 13 March 2014

Blog Tour: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my review of Side Effects May Vary! Thanks to TUABFC for letting me join this tour! I'm ecstatic to show you one of the books that showcase one of my favorite book boys. To check out the other stops, click here.

Author: Julie Murphy
Pages: 336
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

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, whom 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 arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). 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 done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

* I received an ARC for the blog tour*

Apart from reading Second Chance Summer, Julie Murphy's debut is the second book I read about cancer.
I don't usually read novels that contain cancer since I lost a family member that died from it, but this one is different.  Side Effects May Vary takes on a different route where the main character goes into remission.
 But, beware of our main character, Alice because she may not be such a likable one. There will be times where you just want to shake some sense into her or better yet, even want to smack her across the face for all the horrible things she has done, but she was an exceptionally well-done character.  

Alice is one of those characters where you can't decide if you loved or hated. When Alice had witnessed her mom cheating on her dad, I felt her pain. I sympathized for her, but I absolutely couldn't take it when she repeatedly used Harvey over and over again. And what hurts me the most is that Harvey knew he was being used. But he didn't have the heart to say no to her because he loved her so much. Alice pulled the strings and Harvey was willingly to be the puppet. But I guess that happens when you're so madly in love with someone, you end up doing everything for them even if they don't treat you fairly.  

Now onto our love interest, Harvey. His narration was an excellent addition to the novel. Not only that, but his and Alice's POV was told in "Then" and "Now." Some may have not enjoyed this writing style, but I personally think that the novel wouldn't have been complete without it. There are so many things I could say about Harvey. He's caring, sweet, and possibly one of the greatest boys I've ever read. This boy never thinks of himself when it comes to Alice. Harvey will literally do anything that will make Alice happy even if she  was rude and constantly demanded things to go her way.  If Alice was having a bad day, he would drop everything and visit her. If she needed help, Harvey was there to rescue her. Although Harvey's love for Alice may have been questionable, those two did connect well. 

Okay, maybe Alice wasn't exactly the nicest person, but she did redeem herself at the end. She did some pretty horrible things, but I still liked her. You may ask "didn't you say she was mean and manipulative?" Yeah, but Alice confessed her wrongs to Harvey, agreeing that she used him. And to me, that was very important because that was character growth. Everyone has flaws and I liked how the author made Alice admit to her mistakes. Sometimes, I get tired of reading perfect good girls with straight A's and good looking bodies because in reality, not everyone will be like that. When I dive into books, I want raw and realistic characters even if it means they are down-right horrible people, but I want to see those characters struggle through life and overcome their problems. I want to them reflect back on their mistakes and start all over again. And that was exactly what happened to Alice. She overcame her obstacles and wanted to have a second try.

With a bucket list thrown into this novel, Side Effects May Vary is filled with laughter, fun and a second chance to start living once and for all. 

About the Author:

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel.

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One lucky reader wins a finished copy of Side Effects May Vary (US Only)

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