Review by Kara Eng, grade 12

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Summary: Two teenagers with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. Now he is at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, where 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. As Lane and Sadie fall in love– and as their groups begins to fall sicker– their world threatens to come crashing down. — from the publisher

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is a novel about what happens when you contract incurable tuberculosis. It’s a YA novel that focuses on disease, but doesn’t make disease define all of its characters. Extraordinary Means follows the stories of Lane, the hardcore academic who was ranked #2 in his class, and Sadie, the girl who’s been sick for so long she doesn’t remember what it’s like outside the sanatorium.

The dual narration of Extraordinary Means gives you insight into what both Lane and Sadie are thinking. It gives you two very different perspectives on the same situation, offering the point of view of the girl who doesn’t really remember life outside the sanatorium and the view of the boy who’s been plotting his life after the sanatorium since day one. Of course, I had a narrator that I preferred, but it wasn’t because I was annoyed by the other. Both narrations are intriguing and endearing. Sometimes multiple narrations can get annoying because they cut off one another and break up the plot, but that was not the case here. Instead of breaking up the story, the dual narration tied it together.

All of the characters were real. There wasn’t a time where I got frustrated or confused because a character acted in a way that made no  Even the secondary characters had their own personalities and backstories. If Sadie and/or Lane were not the protagonists, any other character could easily step up to take their place. Personally, I enjoyed reading about the secondary characters as much as reading about Sadie and Lane.

The plot itself is pretty slow. Tuberculosis is a slow disease so the greatest conflict comes slowly, in quiet symptoms. This novel is also more realistic. Characters aren’t rushing around the world searching for a magic cure. Instead, they’re stuck inside an isolated sanatorium. Because of this, most of the plot ties into character development. The conclusion itself is not surprising, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying or upsetting. Readers will find themselves more affected than they would have thought.

Overall, I give Extraordinary Means a 4/5 stars. I recommend it for those that enjoy a good novel that focuses more on character relationships and development, but not for those that want a book that gives them a rush of adrenaline.

Find this book in our catalog: Extraordinary Means


324 pages

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