This is a really great book by the author of The Girls about a 14 year old girl who is diagnosed with lymphoma (a kind of cancer) and everything she has to go through with treatment and school and how other people react to her now and just a whole lot of the not so wonderful stuff that happens to you when you get cancer. BUT, what's really great about this particular cancer story is that Izzy LIVES. Most books about kids with cancer the character dies, and that does happen to some kids who get cancer, but a whole lot of kids who get cancer go on to live really great, cancer-free lives, and I wish more authors would show that side. In fact, that's why Amy Goldman Koss actually wrote this book. Someone she knew had cancer, and in trying to find a book for this person, she could only find ones where the patient died, so she set out to write a different kind of story.
I also enjoyed this book because even though Izzy is going through a lot of horrible stuff, for the most part she maintains a wry sense of humor about things, and is very witty, so it isn't a really depressing read. I also enjoyed how she used art through a lot of the story to get her through the rough parts. Art is a really great outlet for stress - a nice little by-product lesson in the story.
Anyone who reads this book will learn a lot about cancer and a lot about how people with cancer feel about what's going on with them and about how they feel about the reactions of others. This book helps create empathy, and any book that does that is a winner for me. We don't have Side Effects in the WOMS library yet, but it is definitely going on my order list, so look for it soon!