I refrain from writing negative reviews because who really wants to read my not-so-nice words? No one, and I certainly don’t like to write that way. Now, how do I write a review about a book that I love/notloved equally? How do I explain how much I disliked the main character and even though she is diagnosed with leukaemia, I had zero sympathy for her, and yet I cried many times throughout the novel?
Side Effects May Vary is very much The Fault in Our Stars meets something (not quite sure what) but it has more of an edge. It’s a “lyrical novel about a girl with cancer who creates a take-no-prisoners bucket list that sets off a war at school—only to discover she’s gone into remission”. The trouble I had with this novel was Alice, she hates the world too much, she too selfish and bitter, and although I understand why she feels that way, I feel like she’s a tad too cruel. What compensates for her is Harvey, the boy she’s known since forever. The boy who always looks for the good and who believes in life. The boy who does anything and everything for Alice, no questions asked. The boy who thinks Alice, with all of her many many faults, is the most beautiful girl in the world. He is quite literally the only thing that balances Alice and he helps the reader see Alice in a different light.
While I didn’t love how each chapter went from then to now and back to then and maybe back to then before going back to now, I did appreciate that you hear both Alice’s and Harvey’s side of the story. It made it easier to understand them both, to relate to them, and it made me want to keep reading. Obviously I have mixed feelings about this book, so I would LOVE to hear what you think about it. It comes out March 18, 2014 — let me know what you think in the comments.
For more information and pre-order details, visit HarperCollins Canada here!
Disclosure: I was sent an ARC of Side Effects May Vary in exchange for an honest review.
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