your doctors told you your leukemia had the upper hand, so you began to
live without regard to the future. Now suppose your cancer went into
remission and you had to face the consequences of your recent actions.
That's what happened to sixteen-year-old Alice.
Alice. Then. If my parents gave me a religion, it was the gospel of honesty. Babies don't come from storks, and my mom never dared to tell me that a flu shot would hurt her more than it would me. But even though we lived by the truth, there some things I would never know how to say out loud. What I hadn't said for the last year was: I miss Harvey. I couldn't say it out loud, but that didn't stop it from being true. In the collection of my memories there was no specific moment that I was most fond of, a moment that so defined this whisper of loss. Still, every time I thought of simple things like eating pizza on Friday night, Harvey was there. And now, he was not.—Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray, 2014, p. 1; from uncorrected proof)
- Circumstances: Alice, with the help of Harvey, focuses on completing her bucket list (which includes acts of revenge) before she dies; but then Alice learns she is actually going to live
- Characters: Alice and her family; Harvey, her not exactly a boyfriend; Alice's friends and enemies
- Genre & audience: contemporary YA fiction
- Style: told from both Alice's and Harvey's viewpoints and set in two time periods: Then (when Alice is dying from leukemia) and Now (when Alice learns she will live)
- Themes: honesty, friendship, consequences of one's actions, living with cancer, getting second chances, mortality
- Book club discussion topics: Does being sick give Alice an excuse for bad behavior? What does Harvey see in Alice that others might not? What is the true nature of Alice and Harvey's relationship? Did Alice learn from her mistakes? What would you do if you were told you were dying? What do you think Alice's future will be like? Harvey's?
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