Sunday, 11 September 2016

Caragh Reviews // Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Published - 4th June 2015
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - When he's sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over. But when he meets Sadie and her friends - a group of eccentric troublemakers - he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn't have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.

Anyone who has read this blog before or have spoken to me at all will already know how much I love a bloody good cry at a book. So with that in mind, when I read about this book I was SO excited about it albeit a little annoyed that I hadn't heard of it sooner. I read Schneider's first book a long time ago and absolutely loved it and had very little doubts about picking up Extraordinary Means and devouring it in one sitting.

Another thing you may or may not know about me is that I have an incurable autoimmune disease myself. Though I didn't expect to have many similarities with the characters in the book, there were a few things that made me smile. I can't remember the one specific line i'm referring to at the moment so when I get home i'll edit this and post it here ************).

I loved the idea of Latham House. I don't mean it's a good idea to lock up all the infectious kids and hope for the best. I mean that being surrounded by people who understand what you're going through, really understand, sounds like an absolute luxury. Other than on the internet, I've met 2 people who have the same condition as I (we're pretty rare species!) and neither of them are really that similar to me. I couldn't help but wonder what that would be like, to know that when I complain of tiredness the automatic response wouldn't be relating to sleep. The whole idea of TDR-TB, Lathan House and these kids suffering, away from everything they have ever known without much hope is sad and heartwrenching. Or at least the logical side of my brain knows that. I hate that i'm saying this again but honestly, the writing didn't make me feel like that at all. I'm starting to think it's me that's the problem.

Extraordinary Means should have been ripe with emotion and pain but it didn't feel that way whilst reading it. No spoilers, but of course people died during the course of this book. I felt it coming and I went through the motions of 'Oh isn't this sad' but.....in my core it was just...eh. The main character wasn't interesting beyond his condition. The love interests in the story were so predictable and banal that my heart wasn't really in it from start to end. The most interesting character (I wish I could say their name without spoilering) never really got any plot time until it was basically too late and that made me mad. I wanted to save them but because the story was so focused on Lane and Sadie, there was just no time to develop any other characters. It's sad, really.

Maybe in the future i'll give this one a reread because i'm genuinely interested to see if/how my thoughts and feelings change. This was a book I should have loved but didn't. Don't get me wrong, it was good. It was fine. It just wasn't the explosive writing that I was expecting. I definitely feel like I expect too much from books at the moment and so yeah, maybe the mood i'm in has had an impact on my reaction to the book. I guess only time will tell.

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