From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.
At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.
There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.
But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.
Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.
Let’s be real here guys. Robyn Schneider is like the Queen of Teen heartbreaker books, next to John Green.
I think I didn’t start my review very well. lol.
I wanna put Robyn Schneider in the same category as Rainbow Rowell and John Green and Jennifer Smith….
This book is seriously. heartbreakingly beautiful. and wonderful. and aaah! Just plainly a beautiful read.
It’s funny and rich in words and metaphor and the story. The story is remarkably different and unique yet familiar.
But it’s still fiction.
The story is set in a made-up/not real boarding school named ‘Latham House’, for kids who have Tuberculosis a.k.a. TB, but a TB with a new strain of bacteria behind it. Can’t be cured by any of the six antibacteria cocktail medicine- Isoniazid, Rifampin, Ethambutol, Pyrazinamide, etc. (my inner medical geekness comes out every now and then! lol). So, what they do? TRY TO CONTAIN the epidemic.
This is actually really interesting. I read at the Author’s notes (YES, sometimes it exists) (YES, I read it because the ending just killed me and I needed to read every bit this book has to offer) at the last pages of the book, and Robyn explained a bit of a history background behind her story. Turns out, before Tuberculosis (I’m talking about real life real word now) can be cured in 1950’s, it’s a real life killer. Well of course we all knew this, but what I didn’t know was they actually had boarding schools for patients with TB, so they won’t be behind their education. Pretty cool.
Back to the story. Extraordinary Means is such a poignant, authentic story. One boy personifies a person who can’t let go of the norm he’s used to even when he has acquired a disease that could kill him. One girl personifies a person who doesn’t know how to live beside having this disease, which couldn’t kill her, but also won’t get rid of itself from her body. Then there’s the girl’s group of friends, who together with her, act as if they’re not sick, and live life inside the sanatorium like “rebels”, but not really. Just having fun.
What’s tragic for me is the book really has great and outstanding lovable characters. Some peculiar, but each unique to his own, and they all make the story interesting. It takes some time for one to connect with the story though, as it’s not fantasy, but also not real life. It’s kind of suspended in the middle, and can’t explain it other than it takes time to connect with the “realism” of the context of the story.
Overall, would I recommend this book? Yes, if you like John Green-kinda book. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re the kind of reader who would read anything then read away! 🙂