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Side Effects May Vary
Transcript of Side Effects May Vary
For over a year, Alice has been fighting leukemia knowing that her life is close to coming to an end. Alice seeks the help of her lifetime best friend Harvey to complete her bucket list of revenge. Harvey has a hard time saying no to Alice because he is in love with her, even though he knows what they're doing is wrong. When Alice is done getting back at her enemies, she goes into remission. She is now forced to face the person she has become and what she has done to these people, including Harvey.
The first time this overall theme is shown is when Alice is diagnosed with leukemia and suddenly her life is temporary. The second time is when Alice uses Harvey one too many times and he is no longer around anymore. Both characters, but especially Alice learn to be better because of this.
"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?"
by Julie Murphy
The plot of this story is unique because it is not in chronological order. The chapters alternate between then and now (then being before Alice's remission and now being after) and between the two main characters (Alice and Harvey).
Alice is a unique character because unlike most protagonists, she is actually a horrible person. She is a mean girl who uses people to get what she wants. The situations she is dealing with makes her cold, also making her a hard character to like. Dying was easy for Alice because no one expected anything of her. Since going into remission, she has to face not knowing how to be with Harvey, the pressure to go back to ballet and school, and thinking about her future. Although Alice was awful most of the time, I liked that she was different than other characters I've read about.
Harvey is the other narrator in Side Effects May Vary. Alice is his best friend and he will do anything she says. Harvey is a bit of a push over and lets people walk all over him. He is too nice to say no and unlike Alice, always puts other people before himself. He shows growth throughout the book in the way that he stops always saying yes to Alice and makes her stop using him to hurt other people, including himself. Harvey and Alice are complete opposites because he is likeable and ordinary unlike Alice.
Why You Should Read This Book
I would recommend Side Effects May Vary for people to read because it is unlike many other books and is definitely not like most cancer books. The characters are unique, and the main character is hard to understand, but that's what makes the novel different from others. It was impossible to have sympathy for the character with the illness and I thought that was interesting. People should read this book because it has a very different perspective on a bad situation, and is a book that I think deserves to be read.
Person vs. Self
The main character has conflict with the kind of person she is, but also the cancer that she has.
Person vs. Person
There is conflict between the two main characters, and also the other characters in the book.
Appreciating What You Have