Side Effects May Vary
by Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 18th 2014
by Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 18th 2014
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?
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.
Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?
Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.
“Julie Murphy weaves together a tender and funny tale of love, friendship, heartache, and redemption. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.” (John Corey Whaley, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for WHERE THINGS COME BACK)
“Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!” (Siobhan Vivian, author of THE LIST)
“A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.” (Jennifer Echols, author of GOING TOO FAR)
Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel.
God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
The night I wrote the series of beach scenes in Side Effects May Vary. I wrote it all in one night. It was so incredible to be swept away like that.
So many! But of all time would have to be The Wonder Years.
Another hard one, but I’ll go with The Royal Tenenbaums.
Get a decent amount of words in, have dinner and maybe see movie or go to a concert with my husband, walk around downtown, and end the night with a good book.
Currently, this cover my friend Alison May did of LCD Soundsystem’s Someone Great.
Cupcakes! Is that a food group?
Definitely Park from Eleanor & Park. I also love David Lizewski from the Kick-Ass comics.
Both! But mostly magic.
I really love YA fantasy and adult contemporary. Also, I’ve gotten very into nonfiction lately.
I have so many, but keeping in mind Side Effects May Vary, I will give you these two:
“You are at once both the quiet and confusion of my heart.” – Franz Kafka
“Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” – William Goldman
I am a huge My Mad Fat Diary fan. I mean, OBSESSED.
Maurice Sendak. He seems like he was pretty grumpy, and I have a soft spot for people with sour dispositions. (If SEMV wasn’t hint enough.)
My husband and my mother. They’re both teachers in low income areas and make a significant difference everyday.
I have such an extensive SEMV playlist, but I’ll choose randomly and go with Dead Hearts by Stars.
Another hard one! Ummmm…Charlie Hunnam!
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve loved working on this blog tour. xoxox
Well, Side Effects May Vary follows Alice who is pretty much the antagonist of her own story. Alice, after being told she is terminally ill, makes a list of some pretty interesting things she wants to do before she kicks the bucket. Yes, there’s some revenge, but there are also a few good things on that list. Alice’s cohort in all of this is Harvey, the kind-hearted boy she grew up with. After Alice completes her bucket list of doom–as one does–she learns that she’s gone into remission. #consequences (Yes, I just hashtagged this synopsis.)
I used to work with teens at a public library. At one of our movie nights, the teens and I found ourselves in a heated discussion about the zombie apocalypse and where we would all barricade ourselves should we end up stranded in the library. This topic quickly evolved into a discussion about all the things that we weren't allowed to do in a library that we might do if all bets were off. And that's where it all began. Here I am on the OneFour KidLit YouTube channel, talking more about my inspiration while my cats steal the show.
Complex, consequences, love pains, prickly.
Let’s be honest. Alice is a highly unlikable character. She shuns and manipulates the ones who love her the most. She’s in a bottomless pit and is only digging herself deeper. She seeks revenge on those who have wronged her, and in the end, maybe they weren’t any worse than she was. Alice has plenty of bad qualities, but I think there are a few things she deserves credit for. First of all, Alice is completely self-aware. She knows exactly what she is. She’s intelligent and clever. And even sometimes funny, in a dark way. She may not be a great friend, but she’s a horrible enemy.
1) Travel more. I’ve always wanted to go to Russia. I’m also obsessed with Crater Lake. I also want to go to the airport and just buy a plain ticket and go somewhere. No luggage. Just go.
2) Get more tattoos. (Sorry, Mom!)
3) Learn how to drive a stick shift.
4) If I were only given a short amount of time to live, I’d probably want to plan a really badass funeral, too. Like, maybe one of those incredible New Orleans jazz funerals?
5) Officiate a wedding. Preferably for one of my dear friends. I have always hated weddings, but in the last year or so I’ve turned into a total sap.
6) I’m not a super neat freak, but I just about lose my mind if I don’t make the bed every morning. So I guess I would resolve to leave the bed unmade. (I would also try to sleep as little as possible.)
7) Lastly, I would renew my vows with my husband in a Halloween themed wedding. Because I wish every day could be Halloween!
I feel pretty confident in everything that was edited out, but the original manuscript told the entire in depth story of how Alice’s and Harvey’s moms became friends. It was totally unnecessary, but I loved it quite a bit.
Harvey doesn’t just wear his heart on his sleeve. He basically wears it on his forehead. He has this unconditional, insatiable love for Alice. I think it’s worth arguing that at first he might be more in love with the fantasy of her rather than the reality of her. He learns that slowly over the course of the book, and grows a backbone along the way. I loved writing from Harvey’s perspective. I think it’s important to note that Harvey is kind and sweet, but he’s capable of standing up to other people (like his mom), yet he’s pretty useless against Alice. I think we’ve all loved someone or something so hard it hurts, and Harvey is the poster child for that. Sure, you might think he’s totally ridiculous for how much he loves/is infatuated with Alice, but I don’t know many people who haven’t been totally steam-rolled by love at some point or another. And I am officially rambling.
I would love to! Here’s the spotify link.
I have several, but I’m in a Harvey mood today, so let’s go with: "En pointe she was a force, a tornado: safe to look at from a distance, but in close proximity, you risked being just another piece of her debris. Some days I thought I could only be so lucky." I also really love the quote featured on the back of the book.
I actually loved writing the scene where Alice and Harvey visit the theme park they used to frequent as children. Also, the musical scene was so much fun. It was totally insane, and something I would never do.
For Alice and Harvey, I definitely picture Kaya Scodelario and Ben Whishaw, but younger.
I’m working on my second novel, DUMPLIN’. I can’t say much, but what I can say is this: Texas, Dolly Parton, fat girl, secret summer affair, lies, a best friend you love so much it hurts, and beauty pageants.
Both Harvey’s and Alice’s character development yo-yo’s a bit. I hope that’s sort of reflective of real life. Our growth isn’t always this perfect incline, but instead lots of ups and downs. If the feels (rage, happiness, sadness) are too much, take a breather. Watch my favorite cat video.
And lastly: sometimes the hardest hearts are the ones worth softening.
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