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Side Effects May Vary

Side Effects May Vary 3

by Julie Murphy
Publication Date: 26/03/2014
4/5 Rating 3 Reviews
RRP  $17.99 $17.75
      Please Note: We will source your item through a special order. Generally sent within 120 days.
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 Alice is diagnosed with leukaemia and time is suddenly not a luxury, she convinces her friend Harvey to help her with a crazy bucket list. It's as much about revenge as redemption and warped or not, it gives Alice the focus she needs when everything else seems pointless.

Then she goes into remission.

Now faced with the consequences of her actions, can Alice repair the damage she's caused to those around her? And maybe, just maybe, show the one who loves her most how much she loves him in return?

'Side Effects May Vary explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.' John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back

'Julie Murphy's SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!' Siobhan Vivian, author of The List

'A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.' Jennifer Echols, author of Going Too Far

'Honest and unflinching, this is a compelling story of one teen's struggle with cancer, love, and living. A worthwhile addition.' School Library Journal

'Readers will turn the last page wanting to know where the next chapter leads.' Kirkus Review

'Alice and Harvey's relationship is raw, honest, moving, and unapologetic in its depiction of their individual, and collective, pain.' Booklist

'A tale of unlikely romance, impossible obstacles, and mortality, this book is a must-read.' Teen Vogue

'It's equal parts fun, cringe-worthy, and totally fearless!' Seventeen Magazine
General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
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Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband, who loves her; her dog, who adores her; and her cats, who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.

When she's not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, or planning her next great travel adventure.

She is also the author of the young adult novels, Puddin', Ramona Blue, Side Effects May Vary, and Dumplin' (now a Netflix original film). This is her first book for middle-grade readers.

Our Australian supplier has this title on order.  You can place a backorder for this title now and we will ship it to you when it becomes available. 

While we are unable to provide a delivery estimate, most backorders will be delivered within 120 days. If we are informed by our supplier that the title is no longer available during this time, we will cancel and refund you for this item.  Likewise, if no delivery estimate has been provided within 120 days, we will contact our supplier for an update.  If there is still no delivery estimate we will then cancel the item and provided you with a refund.

If we are able to secure you a copy of the title, our supplier will despatch it to our Sydney warehouse.  Once received we make sure it is in perfect condition and then despatch it to you via the Australia Post eParcel service, which includes online tracking.  You will receive a shipping notice from us when this occurs.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (3 Ratings)
5 stars (0)
4 stars (2)
3 stars (1)
2 stars (0)
1 stars (0)
  • Controversial but great!

    by on

    This is not a story about someone dealing with cancer sympathetically, and youll either love or hate it. When I first got told about it I thought I would hate it, but I loved it.

    The main character Alice is not an overly nice or sensitive person but she is very raw and honest. She seeks revenge on people that have hurt her and has difficulty seeing what affects her actions have on others, particularly the people that love her the most. Like Harvey, her best friend who is completely besotted with her and would do anything for her.

    When Alice finds out (quite suddenly) that she is in remission she has difficulty accepting a life that she thought was over. Her deteriorating health has significantly changed her priorities, plans and general outlook and she has no idea where to start on her future. Julie Murphy writes with a raw brutality that sucks you in and gets you thinking.

  • Side Effects Certainly Varied

    by on

    Writing Style/Format:
    The interwoven storylines of the past and present was well executed. It was an interesting way of conveying the character development. It was slightly confusing to begin with because it just seemed like a very big time jump, but that settled quickly after a few chapters and came together nicely. The Then storyline made the Now storyline much more meaningful. The writing itself was uncomplicated and easy to read, giving the story a good flow.

    The pacing and the plot was really steady and held my interest. It never felt boring, and I never felt the urge to put down the book. The only problem I had with the book at all was that I didnt really like the main character, Alice, and found it difficult to empathise with her, but at the same time Im fairly certain you arent supposed to like her. Shes mean, rude, and complicated, and going through remission.

    Alice believed she was going to die and made a point of getting back at the people who hate her and she hates back with a passion. It was interesting to read, but not involving, so I didnt really feel anything for Alice. But her attempt at redeeming herself at the end of the book was nice to read.

    On the other hand there was Harvey. His story wasnt involving either, but he was easier to like, which I suppose was the point. I appreciated his character development, and think its an arc many young people can learn from. Alice broke the both of them down emotionally, and that was important for them to find equal footing for a new beginning. They both had each other on particularly high pedestal, so of course everything had to crash to the ground before it could get better.

    General Comments:
    This book gave me very conflicting feelings, but overall I loved the story. I would recommend this to my friends if I thought they'd be interested in it, or would appreciate it as much as I do. The rating is what it is because I just couldnt connect to the characters.

    Overall Rating:


  • Not quite as powerful as expected, but still a decent read.

    by on

    "Cancer would take away plenty. My hair, my body, my life. What I'd never realised though, was that there was one privilege to dying: the right to live without consequence."

    While I'd still definitely say that it's a good book overall, I feel like Side Effects May Vary perhaps didn't meet my expectations, which, granted, were sky high. I just feel like on the whole, it wasn't quite the poignant, powerful book I expected it to be. I mean, the blurb says that Alice has done "irreparable damage" to people around her, and while the things she did were bad, they weren't as horrible as I thought they might have been. And therefore, the repercussions didn't seem like they'd be too bad. Really, the only thing that I really didn't like was the way Alice treated Harvey. Other than that, I mean, sure, the things Alice did were kind of bad, but I wouldn't say that they were absolutely terrible.

    I had some problems with the first 100 pages or so, but things definitely picked up as I read on. I think initially, the book doesn't quite have that "grab" factor and I found my mind wandering a fair bit- as the plot settles though, I went speeding through the second half.

    Side Effects May Vary is told in dual point of view (Alice and Harvey) and in two different timelines: then and now. I'm not sure whether it was just me, but for some reason, at times I found all of these different perspectives a bit confusing. Maybe because it jumps so quickly between them, or maybe I just wasn't concentrating hard enough on the book, but I found it confusing. There were a fair few time skips within each timeline, so that also added to the confuzzlement. And I feel like we didn't quite get enough time in one time period before we were whisked away to the other- it made connecting to the characters a bit difficult.

    "On that cold night in January it all slipped into place for me and she became my everything and my everyone. My music, my sun, my words, my hope, my logic, my confusion, my flaw.

    I was thirteen years old, and she was all these things to me. And I was her friend."

    The main focus of this book is probably on Alice and Harvey's relationship, and I'd say that the quote above pretty much summarises this relationship perfectly. Alice seriously doesn't deserve someone like Harvey. Part of me wanted them to end up together for Harvey's sake, but I feel like a bigger part of me didn't. Basically, I did not ship them. I suppose Alice does redeem herself by the end of the book, which obviously we are all expecting, but I still felt like perhaps Harvey let things slide a bit too easily. Also, let's be honest, Harvey was a bit of a doormat. Perhaps a justified doormat, but a doormat nonetheless.

    While this review sounds a bit negative haha, I did enjoy the book overall. Maybe it didn't quite meet my expectations, but it was definitely still a decent read.