Review: Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss

Side Effects[ SIDE EFFECTS ] by Koss, Amy Goldman (Author) Oct-03-06[ Hardcover ] - Amy Goldman Koss

Second attempt to find a book that would fulfill MR's Summer Bingo "YA/MG lit" square. This time was a charm; I picked up this book from the library so that I had something to read while at the Laundromat.


Izzy is a 14 year old who has been given the diagnosis of cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma). This is a fictional account but told in the style of a memoir, so we really only get Izzy's POV. This is not inspirational porn; Izzy likes to cuss, she uses some morbid humor to get through chemo/scans/blood work/hospital stays, she pukes relentlessly due to the chemo and the cocktail of medicines. She still goes to school and has to deal with being a "cancer kid", she is dealing with her parents who are not exactly rocks to cling to during the storm (mom is either sighing heavily or crying and dad is just going through the motions). She has a BFF that actually comes regularly to visit and attend some of her treatments, but there were some relationship changes. In the end, Izzy comes out of this ordeal a survivor, surrounded by the people she knew all along had her back.


I loved that the hospital staff had bed side manners and personality ranges; some of the staff were freakishly fake happy and cheerful and some were brutal honest. It was the staff that was honest with Izzy about her condition and answered her questions in a forthright manner that helped Izzy get through the many treatments, etc. I especially liked Tanya and Cathy, the chemo nurses who taught Izzy and the reader what really happens during and after a chemo session.


It is really awkward to write, but I enjoyed this book about teenage cancer. 4 stars and bingo squared filled.