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Extraordinary Means Hardcover – May 26, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—After being diagnosed with a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, the cute but nerdy Lane is sent to Latham House, an isolated boarding school where there is plenty of fresh air, no homework or tests, and long rest periods between classes. Lane, who has been more focused on getting into his dream college than making meaningful friendships and high school memories, connects once again with the eccentric Sadie, a former summer camp intrigue who has already been quarantined at the school for over a year. With only a narrow chance at recovery, as romance unfurls, neither teen has fully come to terms with what it means to be terminally ill. Sadie, who has had a chance to reinvent herself with her close friends of TB misfits, isn't sure what life outside of Latham would mean for her, whereas Lane, who always felt fun could wait until college, is forced to slow down and now sees how little he has lived. Even with the grim setting, funny dialogue, especially among Sadie's close knit group of friends, carries this story through its predictable paths. The novel is told in alternating voices, and Sadie's characterization often feels a little weak in comparison to Lane's. Still, their struggles will have teens wanting to read to the finish. VERDICT Schneider's subtlety, combined with themes about learning to live life fully, makes this an easy recommendation for those seeking titles similar in premise to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012).—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
“Schneider’s subtlety, combined with themes about learning to live life fully, makes this an easy recommendation for those seeking titles similar in premise to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.” (School Library Journal)
“Balancing the hope of new beginnings against the uncertain fates of victims, it’s a novel that should prompt thoughtful discussions.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Clever banter, self-deprecating humor and the distinctive characters ensure that this captivating book about life, death, fear, and second chances will fly off the shelves.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“The perfect read-next for fans of the sick-lit trend and readers looking for a tear-stained romance. (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Fans of John Green’s blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars who are eager for more of that kind of story will likely be satisfied.” (Booklist)
Praise for THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING: “Smart writing and a compelling narrator raise this book above ordinary depictions of high school drama. Efficient use of language, evocative descriptions and subtle turns of phrase make reading and rereading this novel a delight.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“This thought-provoking novel about smart kids doing interesting things will resonate with the John Green contingent, as it is tinged with sadness, high jinks, wry humor, and philosophical pondering in equal measures.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Schneider shows remarkable skill at getting inside her narrator’s head as his life swings between disaster and recovery.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Robyn Schneider can write.” (New York Times Book Review)
“This is a wonderfully told story. The dialogue moves the plot along at a fast pace, and Ezra, with all his flaws, is a character to whom readers can relate. Teens won’t want to put this one down.” (School Library Journal)
Top customer reviews
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When Lane arrives at Latham house, a modern day sanitarium for teens with tuberculosis, he doesn't expect to make friends and fall in love. Sadie remembers Lane from summer camp years ago, and not fondly. Over the next few months, a cure will be within reach, while some of their group of friends worsen and may not live long enough.
I love a writer who does great research and while the strain of TB and cure were factionalized, Robyn Schneider did her homework. Be sure to read the afterword where she discusses the history of TB. Written from both Sadie's and Lane's points of view in alternating chapters, EXTRAORDINARY MEANS is a story about teenagers who are embracing their lives, despite their possibly fatal diseases. I wish Schneider had used more voices for the narration, I constantly forgot whose I was reading.
Before Latham, Lane was a serious kid who never did much except study. Sadie is a rule breaker and her adventurous spirit challenges Lane to take risks, some dangerous, in ways he never imagined. While the characters weren't multidimensional, they also weren't stereotypes. I would have liked to know them better. Schneider did a great job with a diverse cast of minor characters.
EXTRAORDINARY MEANS is an interesting story about living with, rather than dying from, a potentially fatal disease.
Most recent customer reviews
I’d been excited about this one every since I saw the book trailer for it (which, as far as book trailers go, is well-done, IMO).Read more