Title: Extraordinary Means
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
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.
**May contain spoilers**
I seem to be saying this a lot but – I loved this book! It’s similar to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green but is in no way trying to copy it. The story is obviously very morbid but it’s such a beautiful story.
Of course, to some extent it is quite difficult to relate to Lane in regards to his illness, but in everything else he is just a normal teenager. We’ve all been where he is at some point in time and this creates a huge bond between reader and protagonist, one which I think creates more sympathy.
The death of Charlie killed me (no pun intended) but it was also quite sweet. Sure, the way he died wasn’t exactly the best but it was how he kept going even though he knew he was close to dying. He knew he didn’t have long left so was determined to leave a part of him behind within his music and I think that’s beautiful. The way his friends deal with his death is also extremely realistic because the fact is, they’re teenagers and it’s scary as fuck for them.
Although I completely and utterly loved this story – there were a few things which I felt could have made it even better. The death of Sadie, I felt, was too sudden and it didn’t give enough for me. That’s quite sadistic of me to want to know more about her death but I feel that it definitely would have improved things – for me any way. The death of Sadie is linked with the ending. Like, there could have been so much more but I felt the ending was very rushed in comparison to the rest of the book.
There are so many things about this book that I loved though. The way the chapters are written in the different viewpoints of Lane and Sadie, constantly switching throughout the book. Sometimes, when a book is written solely from one character’s perspective it can become quite boring and repetitive – something which this book is not. Another thing I love is that the book starts in the middle of it all; it doesn’t start when Lane gets diagnosed or even before that, it chucks the reader straight into his journey at Latham House.
I would 100% recommend this book to anyone and everyone but be warned – it may just rip your heart out.
My rating: 4.8/5