Sunday 30 March 2014

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

I don't normally clog up my blog with reviews for books that I don't like. I'd rather read & write about books that I love.
Not everyone can like all books in all genres. We all have differing opinions about favourites & duds.
It's okay not to like a book & not blog about it...and simply leave it to someone who does like it to blog about it.

But sometimes you come across a book that bugs you out of this good intention!

I've spent the past couple days trying to work out why this book annoyed me so much.

Obviously, at 46 years of age, I am not the target audience for Side Effects May Vary. I read a lot of YA, teen and junior fiction though for work. Some of it is not to my taste or standards, but I can usually see how the book's target audience would enjoy it.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this book when I was an angst-ridden, self-absorbed, romantic teenager, but I doubt it.
Alice is much more than an angsty, selfish, troubled teen. She's a manipulative bitch. She's cruel, mean and totally thoughtless. She uses love to hurt people, including herself, but barely learns any meaningful lessons along the way.

Anyone turning to this book hoping for another Fault in Our Stars (due to the cancer theme) will be seriously disappointed.

Perhaps this book was meant to funny in a dark, Stephen King/Carrie kind of way? Or perhaps it was making a statement about all the so called 'sick-lit' popping up since FIOS?

There is some swearing, mild sex scenes and mature themes.

Perhaps a fan of this book can give me some pointers on what I missed, because right now I will not be recommending this story to anyone!


  1. Interesting. I've seen mixed reviews on this one and I'm kind of on the fence about whether or not I want to read it. I typically have a pretty hard time with unlikable main characters, so I'm leaning toward no. Thanks for your honest review!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. I've not heard of this book. Books with unpleasant characters are difficult to assess. Do you dislike the character, do you dislike the book?

    1. Initially I thought I disliked both. But I've come to realise that JM has actually portrayed someone with something like Borderline Personality Disorder pretty accurately.
      The trouble I have with the book is that there were no real consequence for Alice as a result of her appalling behaviours - everyone kept forgiving her, so she had no reason to change the way she treated people.


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