The story is told in a then-and-now sequence by the two main characters - Alice, and Harvey her best friend since childhood, who loves her more than life itself.
A month after Alice catches her mother with a lover, Alice is diagnosed with cancer. She has to live with dying. With nothing left to lose, she creates a bucket list and manipulates Harvey into assisting her in its execution. Denying all things associated with love and Harvey, Alice learns how selfish, cruel and destructive love can become when its expression is suppressed.
But life has many surprises and remission is one of them. Can Alice repair the fragile web that still ties her and Harvey together? And will giving him what he wants more than anything else, be enough to win back his trust and love?
Powerful, lyrical, and deeply moving, I was totally disassociated with everything around me while reading this book. This is an author who confesses to doing poorly at school, but wants the reader to know ‘that the path of dreams is flawed, and it is the beauty of flaws that make you’.
Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Penguin, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: 26 March 2014
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction