Book Reviews

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider – Review


“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

Extraordinary Means is about both Lane and Sadie who have a strain of TB (Tuberculosis) that is unresponsive to any form of medicine, therefore there is no cure. They are sent to a sanatorium called Latham House where many teens are placed who have TB as to not cause further spread of the disease to the general public. Latham House is a place where the teens aren’t permitted to have cell phones, have very limited internet access, and have strict curfews. The patients at Latham House are required to wear a medical sensor so that the doctors can track and analyze their health. Though there are strict rules to be followed, Sadie and Lane and a few others embark on various “rebellious” adventures, including sneaking out and going to the local Starbucks to get Butterbeer frappucinos (a secret menu item), and having toga parties in the forest after dark.

I absolutely loved this book! I would even consider it to be one of my favourites just because I loved both  the characters and the plot! The plot had various light and humorous aspects to it, as well as more deep and sad aspects. It made me laugh and cry. Literally I was trying so hard to hold in the tears but I think I actually did end up shedding one or two tears despite my efforts. The characters were all so original and so easily relatable. Surprisingly I found myself relating the most to Lane. It was interesting that before his time at the sanatorium, his life solely consisted of school and trying to get the best marks possible to get early acceptance to Stanford. So much of Lane’s attention was focused on that, that sometimes he forgot to live his life, and have fun. I can relate to that because I often find myself doing the same thing. However, Latham was meant to be a place for those who are sick to find relaxation and get better, Lane found himself becoming more ill because of the pressure he put on himself to keep up with his AP classes and not fall behind. The character development in this novel was one of the best I’ve read about. Lane learned one of life’s most valuable lessons – that it’s important to live in the moment and not be so obsessed and fixated on the future, that it makes you unhappy.

I also really liked the character Sadie, because she was likable from the beginning with her group of friends and her sneaky ways of stealing internet and smuggling in chocolate. Her relationship with Lane was completely beautiful and together they made their time at Latham House bearable and it gave reason to believe in hope for a cure to their terrible disease.

I give this book 5/5 stars for captivating me from the very first page and making me cry by the last. I really liked the information also provided in the Author’s Note at the conclusion of the novel, because it really put the story into perspective about the construction of the plot and storyline as well as the characters. This book also includes some of my ultimate favourite quotes ever, because they are just so deep and meaningful. Overall, this novel is beautifully written and full of very important lessons. If you haven’t read this book I strongly recommend it because you won’t regret it!

Some of my Favourite Quotes from the Novel:

“We mourn the future because it’s easier than admitting that we’re miserable in the present.”

“There’s a difference between being dead and dying. We’re all dying. Some of us die for ninety years, and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone on this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it.”

“I’ll meet you there. I’ll wait for you there. And I hope I’m waiting a very long time.” (I’m pretty sure this is when I started crying, just saying.)

“Because TB wasn’t like cancer, something to be battled while friends and family sat by your bedside, saying how brave you were. No one held our hands; they held their breath. We were sent away to places like Latham to protect everyone else, because it was better for them.”

“Marina rolled her eyes. “Besides, I saw the way you were staring at each other during lunch. You tow are so completely Pride and Prejudice.”

“But that’s the thing about odds. Roll a die twice, and you expect two different results. Except it doesn’t work that way. You could roll the same side over and over again, the laws of the universe intact and unchanging with each turn. It’s only when you consider the past that the odds change. That things become less and less likely.”


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