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.
Unpopular opinion ahead.
When I was reading this book I couldn’t rid that jingle by our local health department about tuberculosis out my head. It sounded like this illness is manageable—according to the jingle not mine. I’m tempted to read more information about it online then I just dismissed the idea. Maybe I was wrong (that commercial though!) and this book was right. I really don’t know but regardless if there was an exaggeration or not (although notes at the end clarified it); it just that, the story didn’t capture me.
The story established the fact an ending laced with tragic elements will take place. And oh boy, did every single thing remind me of that. I would have guessed already that between the two MCs, something bad was bound to happen. Like really, really bad will happen to one of them (worst case scenario both). MC #1 Lane, a young promising kid found himself one day at hospital with boarding house facility called Latham House. His life turned upside down and now he had to deal things that were never in his wildest dream. MC #2 had more history on her; Sadie was for me somewhat a rebel. As one kid there said, she only gets in trouble if she allows it. Like Kaori from 四月は君の嘘 (Your Lie in April) in a very less likable way (and this show made me cried bucket of tears!). Opposite attracts, same situation empathy, despite having different personalities, I think they had things that made them connect.
Sans the romance, which I enjoyed minimally, I think the rest just didn’t click with me. There was something about this kind of book that feels manufactured for me. Like, ok their lives are hard but even with that I just don’t feel anything for them. Granted I’m not one to cry easily, there were books with illness that still made me bawled like a baby (e.g. Sing Me to Sleep) even though I know what will happen in the end. I think that way the latter book was told was raw and heart wrenching; things that I was unable to feel in this book.
So as I said, tragedy will ensue to one of them. It’s not like it was unexpected. The irony of it is it was not how you will think it will be. One day, one of the MCs started speaking things about leaving and being gone and then the next day, well…your guess is as good as mine. It wasn’t that I didn’t anticipate or I hoped it’ll be dramatic, although in a way I was relieved that it turned out this way instead—barley though. Still, I think something relevant is missing. (In Filipino, kung baga sa pagkain matabang.) Maybe I have a stone cold heart to feel anything about this story. Or just simply, it wasn’t the book for me.
PS: If this what TFIOS was about no wonder I was repelled to read it.
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “…and then I’ll keep going. Because that’s all you can do in this world, no matter how strong the current beats against you, or how heavy your burden, or how tragic your love story. You keep going..”