Friday 20 November 2015

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

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.

Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about true friendships, ill-fated love and the rare miracle of second chances.

Told over alternate chapters between Lane and Sadie, we hear of Lane's new life at Latham, a boarding school for teens with drug-resistant TB. Apart from the medical sensors, it had a very old-fashioned boarding school vibe, complete with sneaking out into the nearby woods and a strict curfew. 

I liked both main characters but especially Sadie. She's made a new life for herself at Latham and wouldn't know what to do with herself if she went home. I could really feel for her; the TB had been part of her life for so long, it was strange to think of getting better. Plus she was adorably awkward and witty with a turn of phrase.

While the characters weren't developed enough for my liking (they were all nice enough but could have been so much more), I especially liked the medical twist on the social structure of a high school. All the coughing, the fear, the death, meant that there was no homework, no PE, nothing to add to the stress of getting better. For Lane, a high achiever with hopes set on Stanford, the notion of taking it easy for completely foreign to him and it took him a while to put his health first - which, by the way, seems beyond stupid to me!

Along the same lines as a classic teen contemporary, this is a welcome addition to the genre with interesting characters and a fresh take on so-called "sick-lit". 

Published 4th June 2015 by Simon and Schuster. 

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