Extraordinary Means

Extraordinary Means

by Robyn Schneider

9 Reviews

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John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this darkly funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Beginning of Everything.

Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he


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John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this darkly funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Beginning of Everything.

Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie—and life as Lane knows it will never be the same.

Robyn Schneider's Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances.

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Editorial Reviews
Booklist (starred review)
“This thought-provoking novel about smart kids doing interesting things will resonate with the John Green contingent, as it is tinged with sadness, high jinks, wry humor, and philosophical pondering in equal measures.”
New York Times Book Review
“Robyn Schneider can write.”
“Fans of John Green’s blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars who are eager for more of that kind of story will likely be satisfied.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The perfect read-next for fans of the sick-lit trend and readers looking for a tear-stained romance.
Publishers Weekly
It’s hard to imagine a story about terminally ill teens that isn’t depressing, but Schneider (The Beginning of Everything) has created just that. Set in the not-too-distant future after a deadly strain of tuberculosis has swept across the U.S., the novel is set in Latham House, a residential facility for young people infected with the disease. There, 17-year-old Lane reunites with an old acquaintance, Sadie. Despite their illnesses, the two start falling in love as they test their limits inside the facility and reinvent themselves. Lane and Sadie’s alternating viewpoints sensitively trace how their experiences affect their perspectives of both life and death: Lane, once a serious and disciplined student, learns to live for the moment, and Sadie, an unpopular “disaster in middle school,” is becoming a leader, surrounded by friends. When the residents learn that a cure may become available, they are left to ponder what they will gain and lose by getting well and re-entering society. Balancing the hope of new beginnings against the uncertain fates of victims, it’s a novel that should prompt thoughtful discussions. Ages 13–up. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (May)
VOYA, April 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 1) - Amanda MacGregor
Lane’s carefully laid-out plans for his senior year are thrown into chaos when he is diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis and sent to Latham House, a sanatorium in the Santa Cruz mountains. He shares narration duties with the artistic and mischievous Sadie, who has been at Latham for more than a year. Lane naively thinks he will recover quickly and return home, where he is second in his class, continue on his path to Stanford, and then on to business or law school. His main concern is keeping up with his AP homework from his old school and preparing for the SATs. Lane quickly learns that being sick means having to step back from the pressures and responsibilities on which he has come to thrive. Sadie and her eccentric friends show Lane that Latham is a place removed from their real lives, a time for adventure and reinvention. Initially hesitant to test out a new version of himself, Lane realizes that all this time he has had a life plan but no life. Clever banter and self-deprecating humor help lighten the mood at a place where only 80 percent of the patients are expected to ever go home. The romance between Lane and Sadie is bittersweet and thorny. The unique challenges of being essentially quarantined add another intriguing layer to the story. The uncommon setting, Schneider’s keen ear for dialogue, and the distinctive characters ensure that this captivating book about life, death, fear, and second chances will fly off the shelves. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—After being diagnosed with a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, the cute but nerdy Lane is sent to Latham House, an isolated boarding school where there is plenty of fresh air, no homework or tests, and long rest periods between classes. Lane, who has been more focused on getting into his dream college than making meaningful friendships and high school memories, connects once again with the eccentric Sadie, a former summer camp intrigue who has already been quarantined at the school for over a year. With only a narrow chance at recovery, as romance unfurls, neither teen has fully come to terms with what it means to be terminally ill. Sadie, who has had a chance to reinvent herself with her close friends of TB misfits, isn't sure what life outside of Latham would mean for her, whereas Lane, who always felt fun could wait until college, is forced to slow down and now sees how little he has lived. Even with the grim setting, funny dialogue, especially among Sadie's close knit group of friends, carries this story through its predictable paths. The novel is told in alternating voices, and Sadie's characterization often feels a little weak in comparison to Lane's. Still, their struggles will have teens wanting to read to the finish. VERDICT Schneider's subtlety, combined with themes about learning to live life fully, makes this an easy recommendation for those seeking titles similar in premise to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012).—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
When Lane's drug-resistant tuberculosis lands him in a sanatorium, he finds that one of the other residents is a girl he met at summer camp years ago. College-bound Lane is in denial about his illness, assuming that he can keep up with his AP work and go home soon. Sadie's condition is neither improving nor getting worse; she's been at Latham House long enough to have formed a group of friends who go on nighttime excursions to buy contraband in the nearby town. In alternating chapters, Lane and Sadie narrate their gradual interest in and eventual love for each other as they await an upcoming drug trial that could mean an end to their quarantine. The teens' voices are authentic, and there's enough humor to keep this from becoming maudlin, even though the miracle drug doesn't quite make it in time. A lengthy author's note spells out Schneider's intention to write about a nonexistent form of TB to "fix" what she sees as teen literature's lack of medical narratives "that humanize the illness experience." Unfortunately, this approach doesn't necessarily make for good storytelling, as the message takes over, leaving readers to muse on Sadie's philosophy that "living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it." Readers will do better to seek out The Fault in Our Stars. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details
HarperCollins Publishers
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 Years
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Meet the author

Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but also on the internet.

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Customer Reviews (9)
¿I¿ll meet you there. I¿ll wait for you there. And I hope I¿m wa
&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll meet you there. I&rsquo;ll wait for you there. And I hope I&rsquo;m waiting a very long time.&rdquo; Robyn Schneider&rsquo;s novel, The Beginning of Everything, won me over when I read it two years ago. It was one of those stories that really packed a punch and had me thinking long and hard after finishing the book. It was a realistic story that wasn&rsquo;t all sunshine and rainbows, and because of that I really related to the story and found myself completely invested. I&rsquo;m happy to say that Extraordinary Means had me feeling the exact same way. Since I&rsquo;m one of those readers that goes into stories blind without reading the synopsis, I had no idea what this story was about. Immediately we&rsquo;re thrown into this kind of bordering school where Lane is living. At first I had no idea what he was at this school. Was he a juvenile delinquent who had been in trouble with the law? Did his parents decide for another reason that he had to be living at a different location, far away from them? Then I find out that this is a special school for kids that have a rare and very contagious disease, TDR-TB. With no cure and a small chance of a remission, most of these kids found themselves staying at this school longer than they had hoped. Some were lucky enough to go into remission and be sent home, others sadly didn&rsquo;t make it and passed away while at the school, and the rest stayed there hoping for the best. Sad, right? Yeah, this story definitely had the tears bordering on my eyelids quite a bit. That morning, standing at the window of my dorm room as I buttoned up my shirt, I felt like an entirely different person. It was as though someone had taken an eraser to my life and, instead of getting rid of the mess, had rubbed away all the parts that I&rsquo;d wanted to keep. This story is told through the points of view of both Lane and Sadie. Lane is brand new at Latham House and completely lost. He&rsquo;s immediately shocked at all of the rules and the way they live here. Yes, it&rsquo;s a school&hellip; but there isn&rsquo;t any homework, the students are all required to have &ldquo;rest periods&rdquo; every day, and they are extremely strict on eating and nutrition. Lane finds himself staring at a group of kids that he would just love to become friends with. They&rsquo;re the kids that seem to be enjoying life, even at Latham House. Then he realizes that one of the girls, Sadie, looks very familiar to him. It turns out Sadie and Lane had gone to a summer cap together. Though they weren&rsquo;t friends at this camp and never even spoke to each other, they had both remembered the other instantly. Their friendship starts off a bit rocky at first, and Lane has no idea why. &ldquo;Here&rsquo;s a secret,&rdquo; I said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a difference between being dead and dying. We&rsquo;re all dying. Some of us die for ninety years, and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone one this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it.&rdquo; I loved both Sadie and Lane. And this is one of those stories that isn&rsquo;t just about the MCs with secondary characters to fill in the gaps. This story was about the ENTIRE case of characters. They were all such a huge and important part of this story. The friendships and the romances in this story were the best part for me. I have already recommended this story to others, and I will continue to do so. This is one of those stories that readers of Rainbow Rowell and John Green will respect and enjoy. It&rsquo;s a sweet story with a strong message. You will probably shed a tear or two, as I did, but it&rsquo;s all for a good reason. It will leave you feeling content and happy that you read this story when you&rsquo;re finished with it.
- Lisa-LostInLiterature
May 27, 2015
They say that a good writer can make you feel something. If this is true, then Schneider is the best writer that's ever lived. I have fallen crazy in love with the characters and the romance between Lane and Sadie. I will admit, I bawled my eyes out at the end. It is a brautiful story.
- Anonymous
June 24, 2015
Depressingly good
The most depressing book I've read and I mean that in the best way possible. It's combination of tragic love story, inevitable ending, and dark humor it is a huge page turner. You will be come more and more warped into the story wishing it never ended. I love this and highly recommend it.
- Anonymous
June 29, 2015
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Extraordinary Means
Hardcover (2)
Extraordinary Means
Pub. Date: 05/26/2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
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Extraordinary Means (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
Pub. Date: 12/20/2016
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NOOK Book (1)
Extraordinary Means
Pub. Date: 05/26/2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
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Audiobook (1)
Extraordinary Means
Pub. Date: 05/26/2015
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Paperback (2)
Extraordinary Means
Pub. Date: 12/20/2016
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Extraordinary Means
Pub. Date: 05/28/2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
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