Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider | Book Review

Title: Extraordinary Means
Author/s: Robyn Schneider
Publication: Published May 26th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Personal Purchase

Plot in a Nutshell:

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.

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General: 
I have never really been fond of disease stories. I am sorry to admit it, but these books kinda ignite this inner hypochondriac that makes me cringe when I read paragraphs about blood, coughing, and the deteriorating health of a protagonist. That was one of the reasons why I wasn’t really planning to read Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider, however, by a weird twist of fate, I eventually did and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

The main characters Lane and Sadie had distinct and powerful voices, but not at first. It was really rough getting into their perspective at the beginning. I was seriously annoyed with Lane for being that over-achieving snob, but when the novel began to unfold, I realized that the author did it on purpose to make him more likeable in the end.

I initially didn’t like Sadie’s behavior because I thought that she was petty and a total cliche. Eventually she grew on me and I realized what a spit-fire she actually was. I liked how Robyn Schneider developed both of their character arcs in a way that made sense and felt authentic.

I also found the minor characters really fleshed out and the camaraderie between them and the protagonists were something to be aspired to (#SquadGoals). There is one among Lane and Sadie’s friends that I think was the best out of the three because he seemed so genuine.

Robyn Schneider also doesn’t shy away from doing certain things to her characters. I seriously felt the emotions when I reached the final page of the book (again I did not cry because I am just a monster).

However, I’ve got to be honest with you, I really anticipated certain things to play out whilst reading this book and that really dampened the reading experience for me. I wasn’t able to feel the full-impact of emotions the author wanted to portray, which still irks me. This is not the fault of the book by any means. I just feel like when I know a book is about a disease I immediately summon up the typical plot twists and wait for it to happen, which kinda waters down the emotions it initially intends to translate.    

The plot of the book was something out of a nightmare. This is where things got uncomfortable for me. The beginning of the book dealt with some of aspects of the disease and I felt weird and oddly disturbed by it (hence the hypochondriac schtick mentioned in my intro). However, I do think the author presented the topic realistically without heavily romanticizing it.

The author managed to make the scenarios the characters faced feel believable. These kids weren’t being heroic about the disease. They actually showed vulnerability and fear, however they did not wallow in their despair. They tried their hardest to still live life to the fullest and I think that is one of the loudest message this novel presents.   

Moving on to the writing style of Extraordinary Means, all I have to say is I am impressed with how quotable Robyn Schneider’s novel was! It wasn’t even written in flowery and sometimes, let’s be honest, pretentious prose. It was simplistic yet it still packed quite a punch (check out the photo of the book with a quote on it that proves my point). 

Extraordinary Means is a good poignant novel that I think fans of TFiOS will totally appreciate. 
I rate Extraordinary Means a… 
The feels guys… the feels. 
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts/reactions towards it? Please do comment down below and let’s start a discussion. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Inah P. says:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this Kevin! It's one of best contemporaries I've read so far.


  2. Kevin says:

    I can't say that it's a fave of mine but I really appreciated the message of this book had and Robyn Schneider is an amazing writer! 😀


  3. Precious says:

    Kevin…I grabbed this book yesterday. When I got home, I flipped to the back and friggin spoiled myself – which is fine – since I found out it was about a sick protagonist. I just can't read sad books. :'( But i'm happy you liked this one! I'm your 35th follower! 🙂 I don't youtube much, but I can follow you here.


  4. Kevin says:

    Oh that's terrible! However, if it's a disease book spoilery stuff are easily assumed.

    I don't like disease/sad books too (you're not alone)! I prefer light, fluffy reads anytime.

    Also, THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING! That's fine everyone has different preferences and I am more of a blogger than booktuber anyways. I prefer writing my thoughts than saying them.

    See you at the event! 😀


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