Author: Julie Murphy.
Expected publication date: March 18th 2014 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
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 leukaemia, 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?
You have to keep your mind with this book. It’s written with a constant switch between Alice-now, Alice-then, Harvey-now and Harvey-then. I thought the blend of now-then was well-done, but it also prevented me from connecting with the characters. I constantly had to pay attention to who and where I was and it distracted me from the real story. I think Alice-now and Alice-then would have been enough to create a good image of her story.
In the ‘then’ we read about Alice and how she is diagnosed with leukemia. She gives Harvey very mixed signals, because she likes him, but she is also afraid to keep him close. Her prognosis isn’t very good and it’s a confusing time for her. She decides to make a bucket list and this has consequences for the ‘now’ where she finds out that the cancer is almost gone. When you expect your future to be over soon, how do you deal with the fact that you are going to life after all? It’s an interesting thing to think about and I like how Murphy handled it.
I could understand Alice to a certain extent. Her confusions, the way she deals with the uncertainties and how she tries to stay strong. I’ve never been confronted with leukemia, but I felt it was a realistic way to describe someone’s feelings and the stages of emotions they go through. But, Alice wasn’t a likable character at the same time. She acts like a complete bitch, she uses Harvey when it comes in handy and I just didn’t like her overall personality. To say it bluntly: I could understand cancer-Alice, but I could never be friends with Alice-Alice – if that makes sense.
"You are hollow on the inside, Alice, did you know that? Rotten too. And no one cares. No one cares because you make it so difficult to. I should tell you to go on being rotten on the inside, but I can't because Harvey is so invested in you. Here's the sad truth: Harvey cares for you. He more than cares for you, and he still would even if you were as ugly on the outside as you are on the inside. Harvey, the on you string along mercilessly. Not some slob who wants you as arm candy, but Harvey. He loves you, and for whatever reason this transcendental devotion he has for you defies the law of science and love."
-Quote courtesy to my favorite character in the book, Debora.
Harvey was a dumb ass. His admiration and unconditional love for Alice was so hard to understand. He openly admits that he knows that Alice uses him, yet he continues to let her do it. I wanted him to stand up for himself and to grow a spine. I know that love sometimes works this way, but I never felt the chemistry or even feelings from Alice towards Harvey. For me, they were good friends with Alice being the one to profit from that friendship.
It was not a bad book, but like I said, I will not buy it, re-read it or highly recommend it. It might be because I’m not such a contemporary reader, but I missed having feelings (besides being annoyed.)