Robyn Schneider provides ‘such vivid imagery through her words’. Wilhelmina reviews ‘Extraordinary Means’.

If you’re looking for a new book to sweep you off your feet and carry you out of the darkness of “meh” literature, then Robyn Schneider is your girl. Well, at least we at MP! think so.

Our pal and MP!er Wilhelmina applied to read ‘Extraordinary Means’ through our You Review section in exchange for an honest review. Let’s see what’s on her bucket list shall we?

WilhelminaName: Wilhelmina
Age: 18
One thing on your bucket list: Travel to New Zealand to frolic in Hobbiton (a.k.a. THE SHIRE :D)

Had you heard of Robyn Schneider before reading ‘Extraordinary Means’? If not, would you consider reading more of her books?Surprisingly enough, no, but she provides such vivid imagery through her words I’d be more than happy to read more of her novels. Often people have compared the novel to John Green’s style but aside from the fact illness in The Fault In Our Stars creates a connection with Schneider’s TB, I believe she has a style particular to herself and it’s both intriguing and captivating.

What do you think of the cover? I absolutely adore it! The colour scheme is perfect for a target audience of young adults and whilst the typography echoes that which is used for John Green’s novels, it also helps to shows the disorganised, imperfect reality of teenage life. I think the tree splitting into a set of lungs makes the novel stand out as something especial, showing it acts as a poignant reminder of the fragility and beauty of the human body.

ExtraDid this book meet you expectations, or surprise you? I’d heard a lot about the book before I read it so I was expecting something quite exciting and to my surprise, it surpassed my expectations. Although I’ve already referred to it before, when I read the novel it honestly felt as if I was watching the story unravel as a film adaptation-the descriptive lexis was that good!

Who was your favourite character? I really liked Sadie because her story was the most tragic: at a young age she was hideously bullied yet even though life got better when she grew up, she’d been at Latham House for more than a year and so should have rightfully reserved hope on getting out but as we later find out, that never happens. She has so much depth to her character, whether it be the sorrowful past she tries to deal with, the constant fight for freedom or the lighthearted crush that gives her life a spark of normality in a world that fears her.

I would have liked to know more about Charlie because I feel I could connect with his artistic streak and his need to accomplish something big before that chance could be stripped away.

Did you have a favourite moment or scene? My favourite moment has got to be movie night when Lane and his friends dressed in suits and dresses while the rest of the House wore pyjamas. That moment made the characters significant in the way they stood out from the rest of the crowd, purposely rebelling like a stereotypical teenager would. It was one of the few times where the straining need to feel normal was a coherent theme, showing these characters had a personality bursting with the desire to beat the sickness rather than letting it suffocate them-they wanted to be heroes of the real world and that’s exceptionally moving.

Were you surprised by the ending? I was more shocked in the way I didn’t expect Sadie to be the one who never left. I suppose with Lane constantly saying he intended to go on to university I thought fate wouldn’t work in his favour and he’d die. But I do believe Schneider made a right choice in how she ended it because it just goes to show that in all of us there is hope that we can be extraordinary and beat forces we have no control over, but no matter how hard we try, we can never stop them-that’s the honest brutality of it all.

Rate ‘Extraordinary Means’ out of 10

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