3.11.16


Extraordinary Means is the extraordinary story of a band of sick teens who struggle to find health, love and happiness in a futuristic/metaphorical/contemporary world.


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.
 

Well, first of all, let me say this: don't read it if you don't want to get your heart broken. However, if you don't have a problem with that, and you do pick this beautiful book up, you will end up loving it. It is a hymn to hope, human endurance, and complicated relationships, all given with the intricate and sometimes lyrical writing style of the author.

Although much less gruesome than her last book, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, this book is more poignant in my opinion, as well as powerful. I loved the portrayal of first love, teen angst and death struggles - it was so realistic. And I think I prefer that the disease is a non-existent one, it was a nod of respect to victims of real diseases, which I always find really tasteless when done in books (as a sufferer myself).

I loved reading this book, and, although I would definitely have preferred that it had ended in a completely different way, it did leave me with the taste of hope on my lips, which is a pretty hard thing for a book (or pretty much anything) to do these days.

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