My Rating: 1.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: When I saw the synopsis for Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy, I immediately wanted to get my hands on a copy of the book because I thought it sounded like a fun read, with a girl trying to right her mistakes and falling in love with her best friend. I wasn’t even close!
Instead, Side Effects May Vary features one of the meanest, bitchiest characters I’ve ever encountered! One character in the novel accurately describes Alice as “… hollow on the inside … Rotten too. (88% on my Kindle)” At no point in the book does it say that the chance for remission isn’t high, but Alice accepts the news that she has cancer like a death sentence and takes full advantage of it to do whatever the hell she wants. This makes it hard to sympathize with her, particularly since she shows little growth throughout the novel and continues to manipulate her best friend, Harvey, even after remission.
The alternating narrations are provided by Harvey, who I pitied. He’s very aware that Alice is using him, but still helps her with her revenge schemes because he loves her. Since I loathed Alice, I needed Harvey to explain how and why he has been in love with her for years. Unfortunately, a concrete explanation never materialized. Harvey does eventually stand up to Alice, but it takes way too long for him to develop a backbone!
A novel that ended very abruptly – I would have thought there were pages missing if I wasn’t reading it on my Kindle – and left me in an angry mood, Side Effects May Vary was released by Balzer + Bray on March 18, 2014.
Comments About the Cover: It’s simple but unique, and stands out easily.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.