Monday, May 25, 2015

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider [Review]

Extraordinary Means4 out of 5 Robots!

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: May 26, 2015
Hardcover: 336 Pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
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.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I loved Robyn Schneider's first book The Theory of Everything so I was pretty excited to delve into her second book.  A lot of the stuff that I liked from the first book was there:  the irreverence, the feeling of what it is like to be a teenager, the complicated friendships.  But the ending.  Ugh.  I should have seen it coming, but I didn't.  And I'm a little mad about it.

Here is what I liked:
**Robyn Schneider manages to capture that feeling of being a teenager really well: the insecurity, the expectations, the selfishness, and the feeling that there is something bigger and better waiting out there.  Some of the things these kids do, even being sick, show that they do not fully appreciating how mortal they really are.  They only see what is in front of them and not the big picture.  I don't mean that as an insult, just that when you are 16, you experience the world in a very different way than you do as an adult.  You feel more invincible.  And that first dose of reality, that first taste of your loss of innocence is a bitter experience.  I thought Robyn Schneider captured all of that very well.

**Lane and Sadie are ridiculously cute together.  I kind of laughed at their miscommunication (which is usually a deal breaker for me), but I could totally see how it happened.  

**I liked the alternating view points between Lane and Sadie.  It helped me get to know both of them a lot better and also how they viewed the world.  

**I liked the premise a lot.  There is a drug resistant strain of tuberculosis that is affecting large swaths of the population.  Kids who become affected are sent to sanitoriums until they are cleared against being contagious.  This is where Lane and Sadie end up.  For Lane, it is a complete disruption of his very narrow plan for his life.  For Sadie, it is a chance to be more than who she was at home.  But it also recreates this "summer camp" feeling for the Latham kids.  Everything matters less and more than it does outside of the Latham bubble. I liked watching how each of the dealt with the situation they were throw into. 

Here is what I didn't like:
**Hands down, I was most upset over the ending.  As I was reading, I was starting to wonder what the point was of the book.  Don't get me wrong, I really liked it and I was very much enjoying reading it, but there didn't seem that classic introduction-conflict-climax-resolution happening.  Well, then the ending happens in the last few pages of the book.  I felt a little sucker punched by it.  I felt like I just watched the movie My Girl again.  And I guess that's the point of it, but that doesn't mean I liked it.  

**The other weird thing is with the exception of the Bad Thing, everything else resolves a little too easy.  Meh.

**Also, because the Bad Thing happens right at the very end of the book, we never get to see life beyond Latham.  I would have liked to see what happens to the kids afterwards.


I enjoyed this book at lot.  But I'm still reeling a bit from the ending.  

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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