Friday, July 10, 2015

REVIEW: EXTRAORDINARY MEANS BY ROBYN SCHNEIDER.

Title: Extraordinary Means
Series: Stand Alone
Author: Robyn Schneider
Edition: Paperback (International Edition)
Publication: May 26, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought
Pages: 324
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Trailer: Enjoy!

Synopsis:

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.

What I told my friend about Schneider was that this author is so good with heartbreaks. If Cynthia Hand perfected grief, Schneider perfected ruining lives. I mean, if you've read The Beginning of Everything, you would absolutely know what I am talking about. With Extraordinary Means, I was rooting for an ending with such tremendous emotional impact and sure enough, I got what I hoped for and more.

I was fortunate enough to have met Schneider last weekend (July 5, 2015) and I told her she broke my heart, not once but twice now. She said she couldn't help it because it was what the story really led her to. I also told her I loved her books even if am left broken. It was so much fun hugging her and fangirling with her. Such a dream come true.

Extraordinary Means is a novel that is familiar to me yet felt so brand new at the same time. It is about how two lives intertwined because of a common goal -- to heal from a deadly Tuberculosis. Lane had planned his college life thoroughly but his TB ruined it all. He was sent to Latham, a quarantined facility away from home. There, he felt his life disconnecting from him and it made him realize people from the outside world saw him. Though he's trying to grasp his new reality, this girl he saw from his window who wasn't afraid to embrace life and actually live it gave him something to hold on to. That life in Latham might not be as bad as he thought it would be. And he knew her from a camping trip. Sadie, in return, didn't forget Lane because he hated how he broke her heart when she was thirteen.

Schneider gave us an alternating POV which I adored. I was able to look at how the story evolves from 2 different perspective. There were also a ton of pop culture references in this book. These references made it easier to connect to the characters and it helped the story become lighter to carry (emotionally). She didn't hold back in throwing these tiny bits of fun stuff and honestly, without it, this would have been a pillow in the snooze ville. I enjoyed how modern the setting was, like finally, a book with a complete set of social media! Also, this setting was the perfect one for Sadie and Lane, I couldn't see them anywhere else. The middle part of the novel was a little too slow but you'd learn how everything developed from there.

Now on to the heavy part. I've finished this book I think 2 weeks ago but man, the burn in the chest is still real! So as you know, Schneider is a collection of pure evil heart breaks! I wasn't expecting IT to happen to THIS character and seriously? seriously.. I was so, so shocked. Schneider tricked me so bad I wanted to pick my eyes out and throw it at her! It was like, NOOOO! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO MEEE but then Schneider got to do it. But it wasn't actually THAT part that tore me, it was Charlie and Lane. What happened to Charlie was just so freaking traumatic! (YOU HAVE TO READ THIS GUYS TO RELATE TO THIS PLEASE GO NOW AND READ I DON'T WANT TO SPOIL IT AND THIS IS SOOO HARD GUYS!) Charlie's a hero to be honest. I wouldn't be able to live knowing and remembering how tragic this part of the story if it happened to me in real life. No man, am gonna go nuts. But that part captivated me so much I wanted to grab my friends and just hug them. How badly devastating to see Charlie like that I would never be able to explain. All I know is my pain and it freaking stings. *wipes tears* (page 266-267 guys *hears heart breaks again*)

And then we have Lane. The last part of the book was the culprit of this shattered heart of mine. I was already broken from TBoE then Charlie then Sadie then THIS! Just when you're about to give someone everything you never thought you had and just when you're finally allowing yourself to go out of your comfort zone, something would fuck it up. REALLY? I related to him in some ways because it has always been hard for me to step out of what I'm familiar with so I saw myself in him. He was so brave to not lose it completely. He was so loving -- he loved Sadie in such a special way that pinched my heart. That kind of love when the person values you, everything he knows about you and those small parts of who you are. He was written perfectly for this novel because Lane filled what Sadie lacked with and Sadie to what Lane lacked from. He was shallow at times so as Sadie but their love story was something more than the ordinary.

Extraordinary Means is Eleanor and Park meets The Fault in Our Stars. Buzzing with compassion, it pulls the strings of miracle and ties it to every fiber of hope it could find.

"Here's a secret," I said. "There's a difference between being dead and dying. We're all dying. Some of us die for ninety years and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone on this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it."
"It's strange how we can lose things that are still right there. How a barrier can go up at any moment, trapping you on the other side, keeping you from what you want. How the things that hurt the most are the things we once had."
"Being temporary doesn't make something matter any less, because the point isn't for how long, the point is that it happened."
"It seemed so wrong to me then that there were only ten options, only ten types of pain. Because I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of types of pain in this world, maybe even thousands. And none of these are numbers on the same scale. They all hurt differently, and amounts have nothing to do with it. They all hurt too much, and not enough."
"Because that's all you can do in this world, no matter how strong the current beats against you, or how heavy your burden, or how tragic your love story. You keep going."

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