Publication Date: May 26, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
[Special thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for the review copy!]
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.
You need to read this book.
To give you an idea of how much this book touched my
heart soul, I’m gonna tell you what I did last May 26.
FOR ABOUT FIVE HOURS, INSTEAD OF WRITING THIS REVIEW, I WROTE A FOUR-PAGE MESSAGE FOR ROBYN SCHNEIDER.
I let it all out. I told her everything I felt about the book. I told her things that I won’t even say in this review, because those things are too personal and I trusted her with those things.
There’s no way I can write a review without spoilers, and at first I just wanted to do what I did with Me Before You.
But Extraordinary Means is different from Me Before You. Extraordinary Means just hit the shelves, Me Before You has been out there since 2012. Everyone who knows about Me Before You have to know about Extraordinary Means, and that’s why I did my best to come up with a two-part review: the spoiler-free (sort of) and the spoilery.
Okay, let’s start.
Extraordinary Means has Harry Potter references. I think Potterheads would be thrilled to see Hermione’s name as they read this book. And there’s this very painful reference where Sadie talks about magic, muggles, and-
(I’ll stop there…)
John Green was mentioned in the book. YES, MY BOOKISH FRIENDS. I really smiled when I saw his name.
There’s also a mention of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, which happened to be one of my absolute favorites.
If you’ve seen the book trailer, you know about the part where Sadie said that TB is unlike cancer, that you can’t fight it with your family and friends because TB, unlike cancer, is contagious.
Actually, that book trailer was able to capture the feels that the book can give.
It’s so painful. You know someone would die, and if you look at the chapters (in my e-ARC you can jump back and forth between chapters), you’ll get an idea of who will die…
What really got to me though, was how beautiful the middle part is. By middle part, I mean the time before the character died. The character’s life in Latham House.
What’s so painful is that the character almost made it. They were “on the brink of a cure” right? The character almost made it–that almost is the most powerful almost I’ve ever encountered because if it weren’t for that heartbreaking almost, if the character made it, the whole point of the book will be lost.
Have you ever noticed that I never use the word POIGNANT in my reviews? I never use it because I had enough of that word. I felt like bloggers use it whenever they have the chance. That word was beautiful to me before, but I got irritated after reading countless reviews with poignant in them. I don’t have anything against other bloggers out there, I just felt like I’m heartless for not feeling what most people feel for a certain book. But I dismissed all my insecurities and today, I’ll be using the word poignant for the very first time. Because a book this special deserves nothing less.
The main definition of the word poignant according to Merriam-Webster says that poignant means, “causing a strong feeling of sadness.”
The second definition of the word poignant according to Merriam-Webster says that poignant means, “painfully affecting the feelings,” “deeply affecting,” and “designed to make an impression.”
I believe poignant is the word to describe how I feel about Extraordinary Means.
Extraordinary Means tells us that we can always choose to live our life the way we want, if we’re just brave enough to take the greatest risks.
My rating? An infinity symbol. ∞
CLICK ‘CONTINUE READING’ IF YOU WANT TO PROCEED TO THE VERY, VERY, SPOILERY REVIEW.
When I saw that the last chapter is Lane’s, I knew Sadie would die.
Actually, the book trailer foreshadowed it. Sadie was the one who coughed up blood.
And it really felt like Sadie would die.
That’s why it’s so painful to read the happy moments, because you have this strong feeling of what would happen in the end.
I was ready for Sadie’s death. But what caught me off-guard were her words before she died.
“I have a theory,” Sadie said. “That life is gathering the raw materials, and when we die, we get to make patterns out of our lives and relive them in whatever order we want. That way I can spend forever repeating the days when I was really happy, and never have to experience any of the sad days. So that’s how you live a really great life. You make sure you have enough good days that you want to go back to.”
One word hit it: relive.
I know my review copy is an ARC but there’s no way that Sadie quote wouldn’t make it to the finished copy.
Two teardrops fell from my eyes. Two teardrops that just fell.
I didn’t force them.
The thing about these love stories where the other dies is this: they still happened. Sadie said that in the book. In the book trailer, the last line was, “The point is that, it happened.”
I think the song for this book is Photograph by Ed Sheeran. Whenever I think of Lane and Sadie’s fake dance photo, my heart gets heavy. Sadie planned everything so Lane could have a photo at a party while his friends outside Latham were having fun at their homecoming.
Sadie took control of her life until the end, and she had no regrets because she knew that she had enough good days to go back to.
She asked for the cure, despite the risks. She took it, what they called as the extraordinary means, and when it didn’t work on her, it doesn’t mean she’s not extraordinary enough, just like what she said.
Our dear Sadie underestimated herself a little when she said that maybe, she’s not extraordinary enough.
Because by taking a risk that great, by choosing the path that most people would never dare try, Sadie is already more than extraordinary.
Sadie is brave.
And if I were in her situation, I would have done the very same thing.
My final words for this book can’t be summed up in a single sentence or two. I’m sorry, but this book’s too beautiful and it deserves more than two sentences.