Post Script: Side Effects May Vary – Julie Murphy

Side Effects May Vary

Julie Murphy

Penguin Books Australia


ISBN: 9780143571711



Written from the perspectives of both Harvey and Alice, in Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy weaves a compelling story of friendship, relationships and love, with a little bit of death thrown in for good measure; at least for a while.

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend Harvey, who’s loved her forever, to help with compiling a crazy ‘just-dying-to-do’ bucket list, that’s as much about revenge as it is about redemption. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done and discover just what happens when we say our ‘final’ words, only to find that life isn’t through with us yet.

Sharp, witty and poignant – this is a book written for all ages.


My View:

A warm and moving read about growing up, understanding what real love (not infatuation) is and facing a death sentence. This is a very readable story full of real characters and real emotions. A coming of age story with a difference – Alice thinks she has only a short while to live and therefore risks everything to boost the numbers on her score card; she becomes selfish, hard and cruel and when the death is  sentence is removed she is lost and drifts like flotsam in the real world.

This narrative is every parent’s worst nightmare – I am really pleased it had a happy and redemptive ending. This story told from the two teenager’s perspectives, it flows freely and realistically. The language and conversations are engaging without being self-conscious. A delight to read.

2 thoughts on “Post Script: Side Effects May Vary – Julie Murphy

  1. Sometimes YA novels really explore such important issues and are compelling enough that you really can’t classify them as YA, strictly speaking. This sounds like one of them.

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