“‘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 actully different words of the same thing.'”
Extraordinary Means follows five teenagers who are each suffering from uncurable tuberculosis. They have been sent to Latham, a place in the country for them to rest and recover from their pain. Sadie has lived at Latham for a while and doesn’t know if she’ll ever get to go back to the life she had before. She’s made the place her home and has grown used to the everyday routine. Lane is the newcomer to Latham and wants nothing more than his old life back. He craves being back at his old school and working towards getting into Standford. All he wants is his old life back before the disease took over.
This is the second novel from Robyn Schneider that I have read, the first being Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (The Beginning of Everything). I quickly fell in love with this book and didn’t want to put it down for a second. I had been waiting for this book since it was announced and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I had read her first book a year ago and fell in love with her writing style and the humour she wrote throughout the novel. I was very happy to see that both were present in this novel.
What I really liked about this book, that was different from any other, was that she wrote about a disease that isn’t as obvious. I have read a lot of books that deal with cancer but this is the first I’ve read about one that deals with tuberculousis. This was very refreshing and it was a nice change up from the normal cancer stories that I have read.
The book gave off a lot of The Fault in Our Stars vibes while I was reading which I am not complaining about. I am a huge fan of John Green and I loved the comparrison between TFiOS and this. Despite being similary to TFiOS they were also very different which I liked. Robyn Schnedier managed to convey the seriousness of the disease through friendship, love and humour. The humour in this book was fantastic and I couldn’t stop smiling at some of the jokes that were cracked. Dealing with a disease the book wasn’t overshadowed by the sadness and the seriousness of it but the use of humour also didn’t wash away the serious message of the novel. It was a lovely balance.
The story is about genuine freindship which was very lovely to read. From the moment you pick up the book you know that the characters are ill but there isn’t an emphasis on the fact that the five of them are sick. The book focuses more on their life rather than their health which I loved reading. People are associated by the illness or disability a lot so it was nice to read something where this wasn’t the case. The friendship between Sadie, Lane, Nick, Marina and Charlie was very enjoyable to read and I loved the Harry Potter refereces that were included in the novel.
Obviously the story is about a disease which of course means that the book is going to be sad but the whole story isn’t focused on their illness. In fact I felt the story was more about the five of them as friends and as people rather than putting all this emphasis on their disease. Yes the novel is at times heartbreaking and very emotional but it’s also filled with happiness, friendship and love. It’s just the right balance of emotions which makes it work perfectly.
I highly recommend reading this book especially if you’re craving an emotional read. I think anyone who is a fan of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars will love this bittersweet novel. It’s filled with just the right amount of sadness/happiness and it’s now been added to my favourite book list. I cannot praise this book enough. If you’ve read the book let me know what you thought below (spoiler free please). If you’re planning on picking this book up soon let me know – I love book chatting with you all.