Author: Robyn Schneider
Series: Stand alone.
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: E-galley from the publisher on Edelweiss
If you read Schneider’s other book, The Beginning of Everything, you may also be excited for this book. The Beginning of Everything was an insanely beautiful page turner about a young man trying to find his place and finds love along the way. However, this book disappoints compared to that one. I hate writing less than stellar reviews, but I’m nothing if not honest. I don’t mind being the black sheep. Here is your synopsis from Amazon:
Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie—and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.
Robyn Schneider’s Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances.
1. The disease in this book is scary because this could actually happen.
I am by no means an expert on science or infectious diseases, but I know for a fact that diseases can mutate into something MORE and DIFFERENT. Lane is diagnosed with a new, incurable strain of Tuberculosis and is sent to a sanatorium called Latham House. This is a place where young people are sent to get better. Their medicines are rest, relaxation, yoga, nature walks, and naps. This doesn’t sound so bad, except kids still die because of this new strain of TB. Lane has to deal with his disease, a social ladder similar to a high school, and his “classmates” dying on him. This is a lot to put on a young person’s shoulders.
2. Lane kind of annoyed me because he treated his disease like a test grade in school.
Lane is kind of a nerd. He’s in all AP classes and has his eye set on Berkeley for college. He aces everything at school and then he’s hit with his TB. While he’s at Latham House, he constantly complains about how much school he’s missing. While his doctors tell him to rest – IN ORDER FOR HIM TO GET BETTER – he continues to work on his backlogged AP coursework when he should be getting rest. Every time he sees the doctor and is told that he isn’t yet getting better, he treats it like he’s failed a test. Like, hello Lane: you’re SICK. Like, DEATHLY ILL. There is nothing you can do to get better other than what your doctor tells you! His constant complaining about what he’ll miss drove me nuts.
3. Sadie and her group of friends felt extremely flat for me when they were supposed to be this bright light to Lane.
Sadie is one of the main characters. The POVs alternate between her and Lane. When we first meet Sadie, she’s all rude to Lane because of something that happened at summer camp in middle school. Are you serious? That alone irritated me. Sadie is full of life and she and her friend Nick are the main source of contraband at the school. They smuggle in alcohol, snacks, and things the teens had taken for granted. Keep in mind, they have this infectious strain of TB, yet they go into the town without any kind of mask over their faces and mingle with healthy people. I know they’re teenagers, but wouldn’t you think twice about possibly infecting more people who are unaware of your condition?! No? Just me? Okay. These kids like to drink at movie nights, party in the woods, and generally disobey the rules of Latham House. While I know that without these instances, we’d have no story, I just feel like these jerks should know better. Other than that, I had zero connection with Sadie or any of her friends. The only character I had even a remote connection to was Lane, and he annoyed me half of the time.
4. The writing felt kind of disconnected, almost like Schneider didn’t really want to write this story.
As previously stated, I didn’t feel a connection to this at all. Maybe that was because I felt like this story has been done before or maybe it was because I didn’t really like any of the characters. I didn’t feel like there was any emotion in this book. If you read The Beginning of Everything, you know that that book was FULL of emotion and connections, almost as if the characters were your friends or the story were your story. This book held none of that for me, which was insanely disappointing. I almost felt like Schneider decided to write this because she should, not because she wanted to. I never like reading books that feel like work, because they read like work. This book read like it was work.
OVERALL: 3 stars. I gave this 3 because the writing was solid, but the story was not. This may be a perfect book for some people, but I found it lacking in too many areas. I wanted to love this so much, but it definitely missed the mark for me. This book comes out on May 26, 2015 so if you’d like to decide for yourself, click the link to preorder!