Coffee For The Brain Book Tournament Book Review: Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss

Title: Side Effects
Author: Amy Goldman Koss
Pages: 135(paperback)
Author Website
Young Adult

Overview from her site

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.


American Library Association 2006 BBYA (Best Books For Young Adults)
New York Public Library Recommended List for Young Adults
Junior Library Guild Premier Selection Pick
Kirkus — Best Books of the Year
St. Louis Missouri Read It Forward 2008
Nominated for Rhode Island YA Book of the Year Award 2008
Nominated for the Georgia Peach Book of the Year Award 2008



My Thoughts

This was not part of my books that I am to be reading as a judge(I was nominated to read Runaway and Matched), but I am making it a goal to read all the books in this tournament. After all, it is my tournament so I should read them all, right?

I picked this book up to read next because I loved the cover. It grabbed me. It pulled me towards it to read.

I fell in love with Izzy from start. Her sarcastic tone and her little comments cracked me up. She instantly reminded me of a daughter of someone I know and in many ways myself(her sarcasm). When the cancer hits Izzy must deal with the treatment process of lymphoma. I have never gone through cancer treatment myself, but know of many people who have and this book seemed like it was a pretty realistic portrayal of the process. What I liked about Izzy was that she was not “Oh, poor me.” Rather she tried to be headstrong and mask her feelings which is how I think most teens would act.

The novel brings out the other aspects of life that a teen would have to deal with like missing school, crushes, how “friends” treat you, dealing with family, etc. I felt like she was dead on with the issues.

The novel is a quick read. It does not drag on and on like some novels in this type of novel can do. Rather she tells the story, hits the key points, and moves on.

For once, there is happiness at the end. I liked this. Everyone who reads my posts know I love death and destruction in my books. This book I was glad to have the opposite. Cancer is not always death. Cancer is a battle and it can be overcome with patient, strength, stamina, and a strong support from family and friends.

A good book to check out if needing something short, quick, funny, and powerful.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply