Sunday, November 6, 2016

Extraordinary Means

I am not a John Green fiend (I swear this is relevant). I've read a couple of his books and I think Paper Towns is on my To-Read list. This is not to say that I don't enjoy John Green's books. Not at all. I just this background might be helpful going forward with this review. Sorry I've been posting so sporadically, guys!

Retrieved from Goodreads
Lane was about to start his senior year before getting shipped off to Latham House. He had big plans to get into a top-tier college, and every waking minute was spent pursuing that goal. But at Latham House, which is part hospital part boarding school, the school part is secondary. There, he reconnects with Sadie, a girl he sort of knew years ago, and whose carefree attitude both scares and excites him. With the looming spector of disease constant around them, Lane both rejects and welcomes these new attitudes, and they threaten to change his outlook forever.

I read a review on Goodreads which presented an alternate title that I think sums up this book in five words: The Fault in Our Alaskas. As luck would have it, I have read both The Fault in Our Stars, and Looking for Alaska. This is not to say that Extraordinary Means is not enjoyable. Now, it's interesting actually. The idea of a drug resistant TB really presents a sad world at Latham House. These teenagers have to confront their mortality on with shocking regularity, but not in a way like it happens in dystopias. No, death from TB is quiet and personal, and it's a slow descent into death. Sadie and Lane have a lovely relationship, and Lane's obsession with perfection which pushes him to try too hard and not actually focus on things he cares about is one that I think a lot of teenagers can relate to. I was an overachiever in school. I took AP classes and advanced math courses I did not enjoy, all so I could plump up my college resume. I burned myself out on many occasions trying to keep up with it all, sacrificing things I enjoyed in order to finish work for those classes. So this book is certainly relatable. But it also has a perfunctory death and teenagers who talk about how unique their tastes are and how that makes them better than everyone else. Sadie and Lane are kept apart by a never-fully-realized plot device which disappears in one conversation. I didn't feel like any of the revelations in this book were particularly new, and I got bored by the end because I knew what was going to happen. Very Fault in Our Alaskas, essentially. All in all, a pleasant, quick read.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars (More like 3.5)
Up Next: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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