7 May 2015

Review #210: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Miracles were just second chances if you really thought about it--second chances when all hope was lost.”

----Kaya McLaren, an American author

Robyn Schneider, an American author, pens her new novel, Extraordinary Means that traces the story of two terminally ill teenagers, living in a part-hospital-part-boarding-school type of facility and how they fall in love despite of the incurable disease.

PS: Apart from two teenagers suffering from terminal illness and falling in love with each other, there is nothing similar to TFIOS in this book. So don't judge the book according to TFIOS.


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.

This story is set in the future when Ebola is no more and a rare kind of TB, which is highly contagious, afflicts the people on this planet. Lane and Sadie are two teenagers who have been affected with this rare disease. Hence they are sent to a sanatorium called, Latham House to recover, which is a hospital in a boarding school type style. Despite of this illness, Lane and Sadie, the most daring girl in the Latham House, which is strict facility, devoid of any fun or internet (can you imagine that, no internet?), fall in love and try to enjoy their lives as much time as they have in their hand.

I'll begin with the setting of the book, Latham House, a sanatorium which is strict like hell and the rules are so hard to follow. The Latham House is cut off from the real world, especially they cut out the fun from these kids' lives like no internet, no sneaking in, always wearing med sensors on their hands, stuff like that.

Lane is a studious and determined and a smart-ass guy, who is studying hard to get in to one of the top Ivy League universities. That means he doesn't get involved into any kind of social activity or fun.

Sadie is the trouble-maker in the Latham House, who loves cracking up sarcastic jokes, sneaking in, switching off the sensors etc. She is highly social in the Latham House and hangs out with the most coolest and daring group of teenagers.

Lane and Sadie soon hit it off as friends and gradually their friendship blossoms into something sweet and innocent. And along with Sadie, Lane sees and experiences new daring adventures and other fun stuffs.

The writing is absolutely flawless and the way the author have laid out the whole plot by mixing it with the right type of emotions. And the best part is that The Latham House will not make you sorry even for a single minute, especially sorry about these terminally ill kids' lives. The plot is layered with funny and witty moments, that will often make you ROFL. And the emotional parts are bound to strike a chord in your heart.

The friendship between these five teenagers, who are a mix bag of weirdos and flawed characters, is depicted quite strikingly. I absolutely loved how the author brought these five indifferent characters together to make some history in the Latham House with their daring acts and friendship.

The characters are strongly developed and will immediately make you feel like you know them from somewhere, meaning which the author have drawn them with realism and they embody the demeanor of a real-life-fun-loving teenager.

And if you think that you don't want to shed tears over this story, then you're wrong, my friend, this is worth a read which reflects hope and miracle and that's what kept me going till the very end. This is probably one of the best realistic YA fiction that I've read this year.

Verdict: A must read book for the YA fans!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publicist, for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book. 

Author Info:
Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality who misspent her youth in a town coincidentally similar to Eastwood. Robyn is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She is also the author of the middle grade Knightley Academy books, written as Violet Haberdasher. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but also on the internet.
Visit her here 

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  1. Sounds interesting! Latham sounds like an insane place to live, and it's horrible that the places the sick end up living in are often the craziest >.>


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