BOOK REVIEW: Extraordinary Means – by Robyn Schneider

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Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: May 26th 2015
Finished reading: February 12th 2016
Pages: 336
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“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

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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.

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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?

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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.

WWW Wednesdays #78 – February 17th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr a few days ago and so far I’m in love with the prose. It’s so beautifully written! It’s been a while since I last read a WWII themed story as well, so I’m really enjoying this novel. I’ve also started Every Day by David Levithan, although it’s still too early to tell if I like it or not.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider, my last TBR jar pick. I literally flew through the pages and I really loved the story and its characters.
* I then read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which turned out to be a lot better than both Gone Girl and Dark Places. Sick, twisted, disturbing, but very well done.
* The last book I finished since last week is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and it sure took me a long time to do just that. I know everybody seems to love this read, but unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by it. I didn’t hate it either, but I just expected more of it… More about my problems in the full review.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though since I’m in the mood for a mystery read and I loved the first book. I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as soon as I finish All The Light We Cannot See… And The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is my new TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #77 – February 10th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still not that far into Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I plan to change that today. Hopefully I will like it as much as everyone that has recommended this novel to me! I’m also still decided whether to DNF Eve by Iris Johansen or not. I have put it on hold for now, but the combination of a misleading blurb (it was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, but ended up being book number twelve in a series, so a lot of background is missing) and sexual attraction/romance scenes that make me cringe really make me not want to continue reading it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, a book I ended up enjoying despite my initial reservations about the love triangle. I loved the worldbuilding, plot and action and will be picking up the sequel soon.
* I then picked up Never Never Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher to finally find out how the story ends, and I ended up being VERY disappointed with how they decided to conclude the story.
* I was actually going to DNF the last read, Death Of Secrets by Bowen Greenwood and in a way I wish I did, because it really was a bad read. Lousy characters, chaotic plot and I didn’t like the prose either… I just couldn’t concentrate on the story even though the general idea of the story does have potential.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish Me Before You, I will pick up All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was actually planning on picking it up during the weekend but I didn’t have a lot of time to read… I also want to make a start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so I can finally begin with this series I have been wanting to read for ages. And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #76 – February 3rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It took me long enough! I still love the worldbuilding and the story is quite interesting, although I’m not completely blown away by it either. I also picked up my copy of Eve by Iris Johansen during my days away camping, but I don’t really like it so far. The case sounds interesting, but I feel I miss a lot of background information and the whole sexual attraction/romance scenes are cringe worthy. Fingers crossed things will improve later on!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Only one book finished this week: Confessions by Kanae Minato. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but as soon as I started reading the second confession (chapter), I was hooked. A very dark, disturbing but intriguing read!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I finally have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so I’m planning to pick it up soon. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though, since I really loved the first book in the series… And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #75 – January 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading Confessions by Kanae Minato earlier this week, and although it’s an intruiging read I’m not sure if I actually like the writing style so far. I’ve also finally picked up my last TBR jar pick, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. So far it looks really promising!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings, which means I’ve finished my first series this year! I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first book and I would really recommend it.
* I then finally picked up I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, a book I absolutely loved. Kudos to the author for raising awareness to what war veterans are going through and doing that by writing this beautiful story in the process!
* The last book I managed to finish was my pending ARC Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. I loved the general plot and worldbuilding behind this story and it was really interesting, but it was quite a slow read and I did have some minor problems with it. More in the review!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I loved the first book in the Veronica Mars series, so I’m probably going to read the sequel Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas next. I have also been thinking of finally picking up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken… Although I might read Defending Jacob by William Landay first. Last but not least, Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is my new TBR jar pick.

Friday Finds #38 – May 29th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads… Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page.

My finds:
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