Side Effects

Side Effects
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 03, 2006
ISBN
0312602766
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As if it doesn't suck enough to have cancer, practically every time you pick up books or see movies where characters get sick, you know they'll be dead by the last scene. In reality, kids get all kinds of cancers, go through unspeakable torture and painful treatments, but walk away fine in the end. From the acclaimed author of The Girls and Poison Ivy, Side Effects is about the pain, fear, and unlikely comedy of 15-year-old Izzy's journey, told in her own powerful and authentic voice. It is Izzy's story--screams and all.

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1 review
Bravery of the Highest Order
Overall rating
 
4.0
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4.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
Even though shes feeling great, her swollen glands force twelve year old Isabelle to visit her doctor who immediately sends to her Childrens Hospital for CAT scans and biopsies. It turns out that shes got lymphoma, requiring a hospital stay and eight rounds of chemotherapy. Her hospital stay will be short, just for her first round of chemo, and then shell get them on an outpatient basis. Her hospital roommate is Carrie, who has sickle cell and comes to the hospital only when it flares up. Carrie shows Isabelle the hospital ropes and introduces her to some of the kids who are there for sickle cell, leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases.

Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss, author of The Girls and Poison Ivy, takes readers through the last six months of Isabelles eighth grade year, detailing the chemo regimen and the side effects (nausea, hair loss, etc.). Readers live her life, reacting to her treatments, understanding her desire to sleep and skip school and be a lazy slug. More telling are the ways Isabelle and her family, friends and classmates react. Izzy tries to be her normal self, being as strong as she can be, cracking jokes. Her mother cries 24/7. He father quotes remission statistics success rates. Her Aunt Lucy is the only logical one, trying to treat Izzy the same as always. Her friend Kay is always by her side. However, some of her classmates are less understanding, creating a vulgar video mocking people with cancer. Koss even describes the various doctors, nurses and social workers, some honest, some treating patients like babies, some indifferent.

Kosss writing is direct. She doesnt white wash anything, yet she isnt negative or depressing. Side Effects, despite the subject, is hopeful. Regardless of whether or not you know anyone with cancer, you can relate to Izzy. You love her for herself. You sympathize with the agony that her parents are enduring. You admire Kay. It cant be easy watching Izzys hair fall out, yet Kay stands by her friend. You might think it odd that theres a love interest in such a book, but it is there and adds to the hopeful attitude.

I liked Koss writing from having read The Girls. I like it as much now for having tackled such a difficult subject so effectively, for having produced a novel that teens with cancer or without it can read, understand, relate to and enjoy. Yes&.even enjoy.
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Funny
Overall rating
 
3.0
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3.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Sam

Okay, I thought this was going to be a boring book about cancer and all. But boy was i surprised when i read it.

It gives cancer the credit its due, but it makes it funny. Toward the end (very end) it takes a depressing turn where the girl almost gives up, but then they call and tell her that her cancer is gone!

If i EVER had cancer i hope it would either be that long or shorter and i live. (6 months)

I had to read this for Reading Bowl 08, and i loved it!
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Interesting book about cancer treatment
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by mlecompt

Izzy, fourteen years old, finds out that she has cancer. Specifically, lymphoma. She goes from having a normal teenage life to spending a lot of time in hospitals and dealing with her illness.

A cancer book sounds like it will be a downer, but this book wasn't really depressing. Izzy's cancer has a high survival rate and there is never really a fear that she is going to die. This book is about how Izzy deals with her treatment and how her family and best friend treat her differently now that she is a cancer patient. If you read this book you find out a lot about how this cancer is treated and how the treatments feel (so if you're squeamish about things like that, this book is not for you). I found it very interesting.
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