Monday, March 17, 2014

Review-Side Effects May Vary

I first heard about this book several months ago, and my first reaction to it was "that sounds super cool!"  Then the cover came out and my response was "dude, that's SO COOL!"  Now that I've finished it my immediate thoughts on it are "hmm".  I went into this novel knowing that it was about a girl that was diagnosed with cancer who had miraculously recovered, so there were some things I expected, and a few things that caught me off guard.  The story is told in dual POV, told through both Alice's eyes (the main character who was diagnosed with cancer a year earlier) and her "best friend" Harvey, a boy her age.  That in and of itself isn't super different, but in both POVs she switches between past (starting right before Alice is diagnosed) and present time, revealing bits and pieces of the story slowly.  Both of these things worked really well, and with the plot I feel like it enhanced the overall feel of the book and that it was a natural progression.  The plot itself was fresh and, as a whole the book had an interesting "lesson".  To me it asked the questions "if you were going to die how would you spend the rest of your life?" and "if you then got to stay what would you change?"  Kind of deep topics there if you ask me, and so maybe because of other books with sick antagonists that I've read I was expecting one thing, but what I got wasn't it.  This is me being 100% honest, the characters in the book drove me crazy, and not in a good way.  A character with cancer should elicit some kind of sympathy, but the only thing that kept running through my head is what a b*tch she was.  Before she got sick (in those few chapters we saw her pre-illness) she wasn't so bad, but after (once she started treatment and after she went into remission) she was terrible.  Harvey on the other hand I did like, he was charming and lovable, and the kind of guy friend I wish I had.  But he was also a huge pushover.  Honestly even the supporting characters fell flat for me.  I don't know what it was, if it was just me or if there was just no spark there, but despite the fact that they changed throughout the story (and Alice did redeem herself in some ways), like good characters should, I just couldn't invest in any of them.  Overall it was an interesting book and it had some quotes in it that were really beautiful (mostly near the end) it's not one I can say blew me away by any means.  Regardless of my opinion I applaud Murphy for doing something different, and I wish her the best with her writing career, but I probably won't be picking up another one of her novels anytime in the near future.

Out March 18, 2014

3.5/5 dust spirits

*Thanks to Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

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