Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

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Title: Extraordinary Means

Author: Robyn Schneider

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I received this book in a giveaway hosted by Epic Reads. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Latham House is a place for people like Lane and Sadie. People with an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Some people with this disease will live, while others will die. When Lane first arrives at Latham, he couldn’t feel more alone. Then he happens to see Sadie. The same Sadie that went to the same summer camp as he did when they were younger. Suddenly, Lane doesn’t feel so alone.

My interest was definitely peaked when I first read the synopsis to this book. I have never read a book that has dealt with tuberculosis and I was curious to see how this disease was handled. While I don’t know much about tuberculosis, it is obvious that Robyn knows her stuff.

This story is told between the alternating point of views between Lane and Sadie, which is my point of view for stories including romance! When done right, I feel like alternating points of views improves the depth of the story for the reader. It was definitely done right in this book.

While this book is on the heavier side when dealing with the character’s diseases, this book does have its light moments. The kids still make the most of their situation and even though some people might not make it, there are plenty of people who have overcome the disease.

This book ended on a rather bittersweet note. And by bittersweet, I mean realistic. I didn’t particularly enjoy the “bitter” ending of the book, but I appreciate when an author doesn’t write a “perfect ending” just for the sake of pleasing everyone. I’ll spare you the details, as to not ruin the book for you. If you have been thinking about picking up this book, I would definitely give it a try!

3 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality who misspent her youth in a town coincidentally similar to Eastwood. Robyn is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She is also the author of the middle grade Knightley Academy books, written as Violet Haberdasher. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but also on the internet.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, and her website.

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