Next week (Tuesday, March 18), Julie Murphy's debut novel, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY releases.
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done.
As you know, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was a particularly traumatic book for me, and I swore after reading it that I would never read another "cancer book." I handle life's uncertainties much better when I can ignore the fears and worries that living with a brain tumor can cause. But I totally have a bucket list, like Alice, and I have to say that the idea of Alice checking off everything on the bucket list, only to find out she's not dying after all makes me giggle. (Enough that I've totally added SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY to my "to read" list!)
So when Julie asked several of us if we wanted to share our bucket lists, of course I said yes.
Before I die, I want to:
1. Be a mom (Technically, with 4 amazing children, I can cross this item off my list. But I don't want to be just any mom. I want to be the kind of mom that inspires my kids to be and do great things. I want to be fun and fabulous, without trading in the "parent" role for the less-substantial "friend" role in my kids' lives. I want to be "supermom," and that part, I'm still working on.)
2. Be a successful published author (Published: check. Successful: we're getting there. - And just in case you're wondering, "successful" to me doesn't mean "top of all the bestseller charts," although that would be nice. I'll consider myself overwhelmingly successful if I can have an impact on just one reader.)
3. Meet Nick Jonas (Hey, don't judge. I know the Jonas Brothers haven't been the hottest band on the planet for years, but I think Nick's an amazingly-talented songwriter, and his song "A Little Bit Longer" has extra-special meaning for me. In fact, it released the very day I found out that my brain tumor was the reason I wouldn't get the medical clearance to go overseas with my husband, when he was stationed in Korea. As I was tempted to wallow in self-pity, feeling sorry for myself because I'd have to keep playing the single-parent role when I felt so overwhelmingly unable to do it on my own sometimes, I heard this song. "Got the news today. Doctor said I have to stay a little bit longer, and I'll be fine." Yeah. That was exactly what I needed. I'd love to have the opportunity to say thank you.)
4. Go on another cruise ... maybe even two (The cruise we took to celebrate my 30th birthday a few years ago was one of the best vacations ever. I am such a water baby. I could totally live on a ship for the rest of my life and be perfectly content. But since I can't afford that kind of luxury, I'll just settle for one vacation at a time.)
5. Visit all 50 states (Just because I want to say I did it. I'm over halfway there, with 30 states on my list, if I counted correctly.)
6. Take an extended trip to Europe, to visit all of the places I'm finding in my family history research (I would love to see where my family came from, and to explore my roots. I would totally volunteer to be one of the stars on Who Do You Think You Are? - Everyone buy my book so I can become rich and famous and they'll ask me to be on the show, okay?)
7. Ride in a hot air balloon or Go skydiving (I've always wanted to know what it feels like to be floating through the air hundreds of feet off the ground. Those "which super power would you choose?" questions... I always choose flying!)
8. Go scuba diving (Again, I'm a total water baby. I used to joke that I'm part mermaid. I would love to explore the ocean this way. The only thing that's holding me back is my claustrophobia. The idea of putting on a wetsuit freaks me out. But I'm determined to conquer this fear, and I'm working on it.)
And, finally, it's not really something that I can check off, but I want to live in such a way that, when I die, my friends and family will keep forgetting to cry because they're laughing so hard over crazy Veronica stories. "Remember the time she accidentally announced that she was pregnant?" "Remember the way she used to mess up song lyrics?" "Remember when she used to fall flat on her face in water aerobics classes?"
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