Saturday, May 9, 2015

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Knowing I was going in for knee surgery and that I would have a lot of time to read, I ordered several books from Chapters a few weeks ago. Side Effects May Vary is one of those books. One of the blogs I follow had a list of best YA books and this one caught my eye. Side Effects May Vary is about sixteen year old Alice who is diagnosed with leukaemia and is given a very short time to live. Alice decides to use the time she has left to right some wrongs that she feels are necessary. In order to accomplish this, she asks her childhood friend, and the boy she knows is in love with her to help her with her tasks. Harvey is reluctant to go along with Alice, but he is has never been able to say no to her, and he ends up going along with her. Once Alice has set things straight and is prepared to die, she is given the good news that she is in remission and is expected to live. This ends up confusing Alice- she knew how to die, but she had no idea how to live. One of the things I loved about this story was that it was told not only through two voices: Harvey and Alice, but also in two different times. The story flipped between the present and the past and so the reader has to be very aware of not only who is talking, but when it is happening. I really enjoyed the challenge of reading this book. To be honest, I felt very sorry for Harvey and found Alice to be quite cruel at times to the people who loved her. As much as I loved this story, it is too mature for my grade 7's. I might give it to some mature grade 8's, but I would suggest reading it first if you are concerned about the content.

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