Waiting On…Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine!

This week I’m waiting on…

Title Side Effects May Vary
Author Julie Murphy
Pages 304 Pages
Genre Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publisher HarperCollins, Balzer + Bray
To Be Published March 18th, 2014
Find It On Goodreads

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’ll admit that I was initially skeptical when I first heard about this book. While the contemporary genre is by far my favourite, years spent reading the soul-crushing novels of Lurlene McDaniel as an adolescent, most of which centred around cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, have left me a little wary when I encounter the word ‘leukemia’ in a book’s synopsis. But when Jessi Kirby, author of Moonglass, In Honor and Golden, and coincidentally one of my favourite authors of all time, recommended Side Effects May Vary (1, 2) in glowing, no uncertain terms, I knew I had to experience it for myself. I’ve always been drawn to stories which revolve around characters coming to terms with their own mortality (Six Feet Under comes immediately to mind) and I think this story will inspire a lot of reflection on what I would do if I learned I only had a certain amount of time left on this earth. Despite my initial reservations, this 2014 debut is at the very top of my to-be-read list!

Thankfully, Side Effects May Vary was recently made available on Edelweiss, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to download an advance reader copy. While the novel isn’t set to be released until March, I don’t know how long I’ll be able to wait until I read it, although the review won’t be posted until closer to the book’s publication date. It sounds too amazing for words and like something that’s right up my alley!

15 Responses

  1. Oh man… You are so bad for my reading schedule!! I was avoiding this book because it just didn’t scream “read me” at me, but to know that Jessi Kirby recommends it is a huge deal… I’ve only read Golden, but I’ve heard really good things about both Moonglass and In Honor… Dang it! I’m going to have to take a serious look at my reading schedule to see if I can make room for this one! =S Thanks a lot, Jen… 😉
    Nikki recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#34)My Profile

  2. I’m still on the fence about this one. It sounds and looks good, and it seems like it may be a lighter take on a morbid subject, but I’m still wary it might make me cry. And since 2013 had some soul-crushing, heart-wrenching books for me, I’m scared of reading them!
    Rachel Patrick recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (65)My Profile

  3. JEN!! I’m SO SO excited for this one as well! I think I might also have to read this one this month as well, since I just. Cannot. Wait! Thank goodness you got auto-approved recently. 😉 Wonderful pick!
    Jen recently posted…Epic Recs – January 2014My Profile

  4. That sounds interesting =)
    It reminds me of a German book in which the main character wants to commit suicide and writes letters to everyone she knows telling them what she really thinks about them. But then she is found and has to deal with the situation…

  5. I got to read an early copy of this one last year & after I finished, I felt the need to tell EVERYONE to put it on their TBR lists for 2014. Yes, it’s a tough emotional subject, but Julie gives it an honest spin with humor and wit. Her writing is beautiful and so easy to get lost in. It’s not “just another cancer book” either. The story is about a girl, a very cynical girl I might add, who thinks this is it, the end of her road. So she does things that have some major consequences, but she doesn’t care because she believes she won’t be there for the aftermath. But then… life has a funny way of turning the tables on her. I ADORED Harvey so, so much. I can’t wait for you to meet him!! Anyway.. let me know when you start this one 🙂 I highly recommend reading it sooner, rather than later.
    Ginger @ GReads! recently posted…Waiting On: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithMy Profile

  6. Waiting on the Side Effects sounds incredibly good, despite my initial skepticism towards the leukemia-centered plot. It sounds like a lighter take on an otherwise morbid tale and the Jessi Kirby recommendation doesn’t hurt either (Loved, loved Golden). Totally adding this to my TBR list!
    alice-jane recently posted…Review// Going Vintage + PrintableMy Profile

  7. This wasn’t really on my radar until recently, with everyone talking about it coming up on Edelweiss, but now I can’t wait to read it. I’m always a bit wary about books that tackle life-threatening illness like cancer, but after reading The Fault in Our Stars which focused more on life than death, I’m on the lookout for lighter takes on the topic, that might avoid the emotional manipulation of heavier books. I’ll look forward to your review, Jen! Congratulations on getting an ARC!
    Nikki @ The Paper Sea recently posted…Waiting on…Avalon by Mindee ArnettMy Profile

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!