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But the fact is it's not just about getting the last word. She's just mean and she knows it. There's one part where she actually blames it on drugs and Harvey tells her it wasn't even real drugs that she took- it's just her. You feel sorry for her at some points through the story but it's really, really hard to like someone who knows they're being awful but can't or won't stop. You do however feel sorry for pretty much everyone else whose been trying to take care of and help her even as she makes them miserable.
However that aside in the end I did enjoy the book. I did feel like Alice, Harvey and pretty much everyone else dealt with their stuff and moved forward appropriately and honestly. I even appreciated Alice. So if you can stomach a miserable (but brutally honest) main character then I'd recommend this one for a different kind of kids with cancer book.
But this book. I connected so hard to Alice. I love this prickly girl who flat out gets revenge on people because she thinks she's dying, and she's angry, and hey she won't be around to handle the fall out. No, she's not a nice person in a lot of ways. But she goes through so much growth. I love the girl she becomes, the change in how she views the world. And, oh, god, the sweetness and connection between her and Harvey. I can see why readers might not like Alice. She does some awful things. But I rooted hard for her. And if I'm being totally honest, I saw part of myself in her. I think whether people want to admit it or not, everyone at least imagines what it'd be like to do what you want, regardless of the consequences. Then there's Alice, who really does it. I admire that. Even if it's in part because she won't have to handle the fallout. But I also just admire how take life by the horns she is, how determined she is. There is an immense strength in this girl, and I can't help but love her.
And Harvey. Oh, sweet, sweet Harvey. I love this boy. To pieces. He is so stunningly different than a lot of guys in YA. At the start, he and Alice haven't talked in way too long, despite the friendship that used to be between them. There is such palpable pain there, and it drew me right in. Then comes Alice's diagnosis, and he's back in her life. He knows she's using him, but he doesn't care. And maybe to some that makes him weak, but to me, it just melted me for this boy, this person who cares about someone so much they take the time they can get, do what they can to help that person in what is likely their final months. Yes, she treats him really crappy at times, and yet, I could never hate her for it, or hate him for taking it. Something about these two, both apart and together, enamored me and broke me. For all the ways he's possibly weak, he's got this huge strength, and a breaking point of his own. He challenges Alice, and he challenges himself. And these two just... break me. There's no other word for it. Harvey is amazing. He's that solid thing you can fall back on, yet he's also that thing that will let you fall when it's best for you int he end.
The pure brilliance of this book to me is not only the stunning concept, but how amazingly its executed. Told in dual POV between Harvey and Alice, but also in a nonlinear fashion, with the past mixed into the present on both sides. It's a style that I sometimes can't wrap my head around trying to do, and Julie does it so, so, so well. I followed the overall storyline so well, adding these pieces of the past to the here and now, combining the stories and constantly feeling my emotions shift and change. The voice is distinct and easy to fall into. Everything about this book sang to me. From the not so easy to swallow choices Alice makes to the raw yet sweet friendship and romance to the roller coaster of emotions throughout.
I'm calling it now. This is my best book of 2014.
Where I think the story could use some type of improvement is how Julie Murphy wrote the chapters. I as a reader find it difficult to read when it jumped not only from Alice to Harvey's perspective. She also had it jump from then to now. I like to read stories from different character perspective, but I had a difficult time reading it and knowing when was then and the present. That was the only problem I encountered with the book. Other that it was one of the best books I have ever read!