Hi guys, I just finished Extraordinary Means and I realized I haven't posted a full book review in a while. I have so many thoughts about this book anyways that I might as well do one. Just for everyone who hasn't read this book, here's a little bit about it. There's a new strand of TB going around called Total Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (TDR-TB). It's highly contagious, so people who have it usually have to either be on house arrest or at a sanatorium, which is kind of like an institute filled with people with the disease. We follow Lane, who has just been diagnosed with TDR-TB and is moving into a sanatorium called Latham House. While he is there, he finds a girl from his past, Sadie, and the two become friends, but we obviously know more than just friendship occurs.
A lot of people have been comparing this book to The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS), saying that it sounds like the same thing. This is a major pet peeve of mine, when people compare books of a similar genre saying that they're the same thing. If I have to hear one more person say that a dystopian novel is 'just like The Hunger Games', I will lose it. Although this book and TFIOS do have a lot of similar aspects, such as two diseased teenagers falling in love, they have a lot of different points as well. While in TFIOS Hazel's parents played a strong role in her life and she was allowed to leave the confinements of her house, the characters in Extraordinary Means rarely talk to their parents and can't leave the sanatorium. I wouldn't go to say that they're completely different and that no one should compare the two, I just think that people should stop giving Robyn Schneider so much flak and saying that she copied John Green.
Aside from that, I enjoyed this book but I did not love it. I'm starting to sense a pattern in Robyn's books that go something like this: Try-hard guy that's super focused on school meets manic pixie dream girl who couldn't care less and shows him that there's more to life than just studying, they date and then she basically leaves him, saying that he doesn't need her and the only reason he's attatched to her is because he likes the way he is around her better than his original self. Guy then has a 4-page spiel on how she's right with a sudden realization, then pledges to be the person he was with her. The end. Having read all of her books, I feel like this is getting really tiring because I feel as though it is the same story, just slightly different. I want her to try and vary her pattern, but I do enjoy her writing style. I'm going to jump into my spoiler-filled character evaluation, so if you don't want to be spoiled, go get read this book and come back to finish discussing it.
Lane: I liked Lane, but he was so overly ignorant which got annoying very quickly. He just kept trying to live a life that he wasn't a part of anymore, convinced it was just a minor illness that would go away if he acted like it wasn't there. I liked a lot of things he said, though, because he had some really good points he made. For some reason, Robyn's male leads just seem not really fleshed out, but just like some studious kid with no real personality. It makes me sad that I didn't really feel any personality from the narrator, but he didn't have any quirks that were defining to him.
Sadie: Sadie, on the other hand, had so many quirks that I probably can't even remember them all. I loved when she made everyone dress up for the pajama night because it was just so normal for all of the chaos going on with the characters. Sometimes, she could be a manic pixie dream girl, mainly when I was reading from Lane's point of view. I felt like she was being really selfish by leaving Latham house. Even though I have sympathy for the fact that they're all stuck there, they endangered the lives of other people and children just to have fun. It really bothered me that she didn't think of any consequences, whether or not people's lives were at stake. Another time she showed that was when she showed Charlie how to turn off his sensor, ignoring that THERE IS A REASON THEY WEAR SENSORS. The fact that she would've died much sooner without her sensor struck me as very cruel irony. I can't say that I didn't see it coming when she died, because Lane was just too average to die for a Robyn Schneider book.
The Romance: I felt like their romance was really fast, almost instalove but not quite. They kept staring away at each other and I felt like they needed to get to know each other first as friends before attempting to start a relationship. Once they actually did start dating, I felt like they were neglecting their friend group a lot, especially since Sadie only had 1 real one-on-one conversation with Marina after Lane and Sadie started dating. I thought it was really cute that they talked on the phone all night but I feel like that's starting to get overused with books.
Nick: I hated Nick, but I was supposed to, so congrats Robyn Schneider: acheivement unlocked. I did feel bad for him, because he lost his best friend to Lane, then his new best friend to death and then could've prevented the death of his old best friend. No one really notices the tragedy Nick has gone through, but I still think he needed to sober up. Nothing in life is an excuse for wasting yourself away, because there is always something to stay alive for. He could've changed the entire outcome of the story, but he was a bum and he didn't.
I didn't really have many strong feelings about Marina and Charlie since they weren't really present during a lot of the story.
Overall, I enjoyed this book but I don't think it's something I'll be re-reading. It had it's funny moments, it's quotable moments, but just didn't have that emotional push. Better luck next time, Robyn.
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