Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Source: Edelweiss / Harper Collins
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything came out, I simply devoured it because of her beautiful writing style and the endearing characters. The Beginning of Everything has been on my favorites shelf ever since. So when I found out about Extraordinary Means, I pretty much screamed. I love Robyn’s writing that much. I expected Extraordinary Means to hit me full-force with the feels the way her previous book did. While Extraordinary Means contains the same gorgeous writing style of Schneider’s, it has a slightly predictable storyline. I am a little let down by this story as a whole simply because of the expectations I had set high following The Beginning of Everything.
To start off, the storyline behind Extraordinary Means is quite unique in itself and even after finishing the book, I still can’t wrap my head around it. Extraordinary Means is a hypothetical story about a form tuberculosis that isn’t really real, and takes place at a sanatorium that isn’t really real. I love dystopians and science fiction stories, but Extraordinary Means kind of hovers in between that and contemporary. The idea never really settled in my head because the main characters are quarantined at a sanatorium until their TB becomes inactive. It feels a little too much like a sci-fi, but it definitely remains a contemporary. Jen confused.
Aside from the storyline, the characters are rather enjoyable. I loved seeing Lane grow from an AP-obsessed boy striving for the perfect college application (goodness, so relatable) to a man who is capable of love. The love interest, Sadie, is also a well-developed character who starts off as an insecure girl and becomes someone who knows herself. Their group of friends at Latham House is full of lively, diverse characters, who I really feel a bond with. I have to say that the romance between Lane and Sadie develops a little quickly, but they also knew each other in the past, so I guess that changes some things. What’s most important is that their love for one another is genuine.
I wanted to mention one aspect that bothers me; not only am I not convinced with the TB storyline, but it initially led me to think: oh gosh, this is like The Fault in Our Stars but with TB instead of cancer. If you read the synopsis, I’m sure you would think the same thing. Without spoiling anything, I want to mention that the plot is definitely predictable. That’s kind of how these books go, you know? There isn’t going to be a book where a boy and a girl are terminally sick and no one dies (if there is a book like that, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!). I just sat there reading the book with a sense of dread – I knew what was coming. It’s never fun to know the ending to a book before you finish it.
With that said, Extraordinary Means definitely disappointed me in that the storyline is not entirely believable and the predictability of its plot. However, it is Robyn Schneider’s writing that I adore entirely, and the characters are extremely well-developed – not to mention the nerd references to all the things that nerd-tastic! If you’re not a fan of TFIOS-like stories, stay away from this one. But if you loved The Beginning of Everything, I would still give it a try.