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2015/05/21

23149128Author: Robyn Schneider
Published: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
External Links: Book DepositoryGoodreads

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.

Review:

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.

Rating:
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..”

 
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12 Responses to Extraordinary Means

  1. First of all, I love the new theme Mitchii! It looks so beautiful and modern! ♥

    Second, this book sounds fantastic. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to go through what Lane did, and I’m sure his story will be both heart-breaking and inspiring at the same time. Definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  2. Faye M. says:

    I totally get that “matabang” feeling! It’s like there is no substance at all, empty words, empty feelings, empty characters that seem to just be portraying a role and not actually living it. I was never interested in this one, so I’m glad I didn’t bother getting the review copy! XD;;

  3. I get what you mean! Sometimes I just read something but remain unfeeling through the whole thing. Sorry that was this way with you. 🙁 I really should stop reading these kinds of books. TFIOS didn’t do anything to me, either. I mean, okay I teared up a bit during *the* scene, but the rest of the book gave me that empty feeling that Faye mentioned.

    I also actually had TB once. It was mild and I didn’t even take any medicine. It went away on its own. Not sure if the more advanced kind is lethal though.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      You had before? I think it’s manageable now; also author’s note said that the type of TB they had in this book was fictional.

  4. Wheee~ You know I love your new design!!! It matches so perfectly with Kyaa!!’s!

    Oh my gosh, I had no idea that Robyn Schneider had come up with a new book, but it sounds fantastic! (I read her The Beginning of Everything two years ago, I think, and absolutely adored it.) It’s such a shame that it didn’t work out for you though, because it sounds like it has the potential to be such an original and emotional read. 🙁 And yeah, I’ve heard that tuberculosis is curable and manageable (and sometimes even pretty common), but I guess that since this specific one is a “incurable strain,” the author must know what she’s talking about.

    Nooo, it’s disappointing that as much as Sadie resembled Kaori, she still couldn’t match up with her. Then again, Kaori’s a pretty hard character to beat, since her personality is so indescribably amazing. (Yup, I’m still sobbing over that ending, too.) And ugh, it’s even more saddening that you didn’t feel anything for the characters at all. I always feel like tragic characters such as these have it easier, since it’s easier for the author to make readers care and sympathize for them, if I’m making sense.

    All in all, really sad that this book didn’t reach your expectations. But I still highly recommend Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything if you haven’t read it yet — it’s one of my favorite contemporaries ever! And lol, I gave TFiOS 4 stars, but only because it made me cry at the end. Other than that, it was pretty unremarkable.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Kinda like Kaori in a way: “I’ll do these things before it is too late…” or I think. Well, the type of TB they had was fictional.

      It was emotional for the majority, I’m just lame black sheep is all. 😛

      Eeeep~ thank you not better than your recent makeover though. 😀

  5. Shannelle says:

    I only read The Beginning of Everything, and the writing simply made me want to cringe. I gave up on it after a two chapters or so.

    And I’m with you on the tuberculosis part. I know it’s treatable and not life threatening at all. :/ Pity, too. I love the color scheme of that cover.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      I’m not big fan of her other novel as well; I don’t know what gotten into me and decided to read this book. Maybe it was the cover, too. LOL

  6. EEP. This book wasn’t on my TBR, and now it won’t ever be, haha XD I am not a fan of books about incurable diseases and children dying, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like this book. I mean I didn’t even really like THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, and that’s the on that kind of started this trend. I just feel like they will all end sadly (with one or both of the kinds dying), and whilst I know that this happens in real life, I kind of don’t want to read about it. That may seem harsh, but I read to escape life and the crappy stuff that happens. So reading a book I KNOW will be sad just seems kind of … the opposite for what I read for.

    Anyway, this was a great review, Mitchii! I’m sorry you didn’t like this one much, and I hope your next read is fabulous!

    • Mitchii G. says:

      I know, what’s up with kids and illness plaguing contemporary books nowadays *shakes fist at TFIOS* Aren’t teens on their prime and doing wild things? LOL (how stereotypical of me). But in all seriousness, it was rigid and felt artificial. I didn’t feel a tinge of empathy towards the characters. 🙁

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