Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Side Effects May Vary’.

Well, this is a bittersweet moment. It’s official: I’ve read all of Julie Murphy’s books. I’m happy, I’m sad… I want to know when her next book will be released. Ha!

The latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “Side Effects May Vary” by Julie Murphy. Here is the book’s description from Murphy’s website:

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.

This was actually Murphy’s debut novel, but I picked it up last because… I’m very touchy about cancer and anything cancer-related, and I was honestly scared to read this book. I was afraid it would make me too emotional.

But, it was not really about leukemia, and instead it was more about social and emotional battles for the main character.

I have to admit, parts of it were difficult for me to place. Each chapter moves forward or backward in time — it would say “Then” or “Now” and I swear, no matter how many books I read, my brain struggles with these types of things…. that, and anything more than three or four characters.

But I do think this story was a unique spin on a plot line we are seeing more and more of. This one is different from Murphy’s other books, but I definitely think it’s worth picking up!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer — which won a Pulitzer Prize and was on the library’s LGBTQ authors list.

Speaking of the library, the summer reading program is OVER at the end of next week! I’m trying so hard to get some reading done every day so I can rack up my hours. Wish me luck!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Instagram @Orangejulius7 – where I share more of my daily life. Need help with your blog? I’m hosting a Blogging Bootcamp in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in September — get info and register today!

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