Review: ‘Extraordinary Means’ by Robyn Schneider

Extraordinary Means is yet another audio book choice from Scribd to keep me amused during long stretches of mind-numbing tedium. I’m going to stick with the “sick kids” genre until I get tired of it, but so far I seem to have hit on some pretty good ones.

Synopsis: Lane is the new kid at Latham House, a sanatorium/boarding school for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. On his first day he runs into a girl he went to summer camp with years ago, Sadie, who is one of the cooler people at Latham. As Lane learns to navigate the weird limbo that living with a terminal illness brings, he and Lane begin to hope for a future together… even if it’s only for a short time.

This book is narrated by the two main characters, Sadie and Lane, so the audiobook is read by two different people as well. I liked the alternating readers because it made it really easy to know who was narrating and it added a level of realism to the story. It is definitely a good way to read books with multiple narrators if you tend to get confused.

“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

I didn’t really like Sadie at the beginning of the book because she seemed to have this irrational hatred for Lane. When you are stuck in a hospital/boarding school, and can’t interact physically with anyone on the outside because you have a contagious illness, maybe it’s time to let bygones be bygones. You might even have been the reason he was in there in the first place!

Similar to The Haters (read my review here), there seems to be a marked lack of adult supervision around these kids. They often leave in the middle of the night to go visit a nearby town, essentially putting everyone they come into contact at risk. Even though all of them wear biosensor bracelets, apparently no one thought to add in GPS trackers. These are kids… teens who have been locked up away from the world… maybe assume that they are going to break the rules every now and then. There’s so much contraband floating around this place that you would think just one adult would notice and start to wonder. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far when an author tries to make the world as realistic as possible but then forgets the basic idea that most adults aren’t complete freaking idiots.

Someone on Goodreads gave a review that simply read “The Fault in Our Alaskas” which about sums up this book. As with John Green’s books there is a tragic teen illness, young love, unfortunate loss, and eventual resolution that is satisfying in it’s own way. I wish that some of the secondary characters had been given more depth, as some of their stories have a profound impact on the outcome of the book but feel lacking in buildup. Overall, this was a pretty good read that makes you think about what life might be like if our obsession with anti-bacterial everything creates a super flu that we can’t treat.

LC rating: 3-stars (great narration,
interesting concept, a bit too cliché for the genre)

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