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Reviewed by Karen Hesson for Readers' Favorite
Death and Other Side Effects by Rose Maldonado is a beautiful story told from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor. Alexis lives in a nursing home and has all but given up on life until she meets Jonah, a one-legged car crash survivor. They are a perfect match in their brokenness, dark sense of humor, and love of pop-culture references. The more time they spend together in their nursing home “prison,” the more they change each other’s lives.
I loved reading Death and Other Side Effects. Alexis’s dark, sarcastic humor kept me smiling, and the hope that she could somehow survive the tragedy of her life kept me turning pages. I loved Jonah, too. He joked, laughed, loved, hoped, and called Alexis out on her crap. The two teens saw each other at their absolute worst in their worlds full of despair, but loved anyway. It was the type of pure and perfect love that gives you hope and makes the world seem a little brighter. Death and Other Side Effects made me think about how each life affects so many others. It forced me to take a look at my own challenges and ask when to give up and when to keep on fighting. Last but not least, it made me wonder why we wait to do the things we’ve always wanted to do. Life and time are not guaranteed to anyone. Rose Maldonado is a fantastic writer, and I look forward to reading more from her.