Julie Murphy's "Side Effects May Vary"
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, who 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 archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). 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 caused 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.
The book sat on my shelf for a week or two before I finally picked it up, and when I did, the only thing stopping me from finishing in one sitting (lie down) was that it was 11:45pm and I really love and need sleep. Start to finish, I tore through this book in 24 hours - I just had to know how it ended!
I described Harvey as "steadfast perfection." He's there for Alice, always there, and when she doesn't let him in, he's in the background, always ready to jump when she needs him.
Alice is deeply screwed up and kind of a jerk, but she has her reasons, and she's likable nonetheless.
I really recommend this book.
But when the girl you loved was dying, it was hard not to let yourself go with her.
This part of dying felt good, the letting go. It made everything easier.