Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.
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.
Publishes in US: May 26th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Buy it: Indiebound HERE * Amazon HERE * Barnes & Noble Book Depository
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I wanted to read Extraordinary Means because the subject of teens dealing with illnesses always catches my eye. The idea of that diseases can resurface and be resistant to treatment is a nightmare but one that I would love to see explored in a story.
The two main characters Lane and Sadie actually knew each other before they ended up in Latham House, a place for teens to be quarantined until they are no longer contagious or until they pass. But there is a huge misunderstanding between the two. They met at a camp in middle school and Sadie has a different idea of who Lane is because of some events that we find out hurt her pretty badly.
I liked them both and knew that there was plenty of room for character development. Lane is smart and very driven, he has goals for Stanford and finding out he was sick and then getting off track because the academics at Latham House are nothing like what he was used to.
Sadie is more introverted because she was picked on some in middle school. She lets a few people in and they are all artists or dreamers, like her. She loves to photograph and play with photoshop, and always has a project going on.
The medical aspect was pretty scary. They were resistant to treatment that used to work, but are away from normal society because it is contagious. They wear sensors that help the medical staff to monitor them with the least amount of contact possible. While some end up no longer contagious and sent home, there are also the kids that get really ill, and some who die. It is pretty sad how it becomes almost commonplace when they are locked out of their dorms because they are cleaning out a room of a classmate who passed.
I liked the secondary characters as well, especially Nick, Charlie and Marina. They all became a tight circle of friends. They complemented Sadie and Lane well and made a good dynamic. Maybe they never would have been friends outside of Latham but that is one of the themes of the book. That Latham is a step back from the real world, helping a lot of teens to get perspective and to slow down their lives. Lane realized a lot about his ambition and how much he was rushing through his life, always trying to get to the next step, and never really living in the moment.
One thing that I expected in some ways, but wished that it didn't happen the way it did was the ending. When I heard the comparisons to other novels I knew with almost certainty what would happen, I just hoped it would have just been a secondary instead of that plus a main. But it was foreshadowed a lot and although I wish more for the hea rather than how it played out, I can understand why.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
How possible do you think it is that diseases from the past that may resurface and be resistant to treatment?