Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: May 26th 2015
Finished reading: February 12th 2016
“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”
I’ve had Extraordinary Means on my radar ever since it came out last year, but somehow I never actually picked it up… Until my TBR jar decided it was time to finally read this novel by Robyn Schneider. What sounds like just another sad story about sick teenagers (this time suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis), is actually so much more. First of all, the Extraordinary Means is very well written and I really liked the main characters and their development. They live at the Latham house which is part hospital and part boarding school; no contact with the outside world is allowed since the disease is so contagious. This all sounds really depressing, but Robyn Schneider is able to give her story an unique touch through Sadie and her friends. They decide to ‘fight’ the system and the four form a close group of eccentric troublemakers who want to have the feeling they are still alive. I really liked Lane as a character as well, and the together the five characters really make this book into something special. Sad moments are mixed with both dark and funny ones and the story has just the right dose of romance. If you like contemporary fiction and don’t mind having to keep your box of tissues on standby, I would definitely recommend reading Extraordinary Means.
At seventeen Lane has his whole life already planned out and has been working towards his admission to Stanford for years. All of this comes to an abrupt halt when he is diagnosed with an incurable strain of tuberculosis… And he is sent to Latham House so the disease doesn’t infect those around him. Latham House is a sanatorium for teens with TB and Lane has a hard time fitting in. He doesn’t want to throw away the future he has been working so hard for, but slowly he is starting to realize that this time he will have to put his health and body first… But it’s hard to relax if you don’t have friends to share your time with. He did recognize a girl he knew from summer camp a few years ago, Sadie, but she doesn’t seem to even want to talk to him. She has transformed from the shy loner he remembers to a very intriguing teenager, and both Sadie and her friends really fascinate Lane. Will Lane make any friends and accept the fact that he is sick? And will they win the fight against tuberculosis?
What I liked of Extraordinary Means is that it is not just about a bunch of sick teenagers fighting against a disease (in this case an incurable strain of tuberculosis, which in itself is quite original). It’s also a story about friendship, second chances, first love and finding out what is really important in life. The novel is very well written and I really liked the main characters. The fast pace had me literally flying through the pages and the alternating chapters between Lane and Sadie made it hard to stop reading. Robyn Schneider was able to create a story that is both sad, dark, funny and cute at the same time; if you are looking for a good contemporary read, you should consider reading Extraordinary Means.