Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Summary: Extraordinary Means is a story about hope, love, life, and death. When Lane is suddenly diagnosed with tuberculosis and is sent away to Latham House (a school for kids with TB) he won't believe he is sick. Instead Lane tries to continue with his old ways and even tries to study for his APs and focus on his future. He believes that he's going to leave Latham House soon. However, soon he realizes how life threatening TB can be and he starts to realize how to live life in the moment. Lane also recognizes a girl at Latham House, one from one of his previous summer camps, and wants to get closer. Her name is Sadie and after taking a while to get reacquainted Lane and Sadie both fall in love with each other. As Lane gets close to Sadie, he also joins Sadie's group of friends: Nick, Charlie, and Marina. After their group of friends break rules and run off on adventures together, one day they are told that after so much time and research scientists have finally found the cure. Of course this sparks excitement among everyone. They told the students that cure were coming in just a few weeks, but no one told them what could happen in just a few weeks. *scroll down to read spoilers*
Opinion: I didn't hear anything about this book (I only saw the cover once) so I picked it up at the library and this book brought out soo many feelings. At first by literally judging its cover I thought it would be one of those books similar to We All Looked Up or Tumble & Fall. Of course I was completely wrong... I love the whole idea and plot of this book. Lane, first of all has such a cool and unique name and I also like how he is very realistic. He is what I think I would like if something this horrible happened to me. I also enjoy how everyone is so brave at the Latham House, even when they are faced with an incurable, life threatening disease and then are separated from life as they knew it they seem to make do and just keep on going.
Throughout the book I felt like I was just incredibly into it and I think I really finished this book quickly. Extraordinary Means is just one of those books that make you feel like there's a ticking bomb in the background and you know you're going to have an EXPLOSION of feelings once that bomb goes off and that is exactly what I felt when ... *scroll down to read spoilers*
Read if you love: love, adventure, finding out about new perspectives, and maybe even tragedies
Cover: (shooting star one which was the one I read from): 3.5/5
(lungs one):4/5 (I liked this one more because the are was really pretty and I really liked the concept)
Favorite Quote: "There's a difference between missing someone and mourning them"
Summary Spoilers: To celebrate Marina's birthday they all met up in the forest, but they all thought Charlie decided to sleep in. In the morning they found Charlie's body and they had to leave him or else they wouldn't get their medicine (because they would get kicked out of Latham house.) They found Charlie's finished CD and grieved. However, Sadie went back to the forest to meet Micheal, their Latham House dealer, and was hurt because Michael contracted TB and blamed them, then tried to murder Sadie. Sadie was greatly injured and her only choice was to try an experimental drug. She didn't make it.
Opinion Spoilers:... Charlie and Sadie died. OH MY GOSH WHY They were literally the best of friends and right when the cure was around the corner! After leaving Latham House they would only really have each other to depend on, but Sadie and Charlie!! WHYY I was pretty angry at this ending, but at least Lane and Nick made it, because if they all didn't make it I would definitely be furious. Anyways at least this was definitely not something I predicted so the plot twist was pretty amazing(ly sad)... Over it was a great book though and I really enjoyed it!
Kissing In America by Margo Rabb
Summary: Kissing in America is a (sorta) tragic love story about Eva's first love. Eva's father passed away in a plane accident two years ago and since then Eva's mother and Eva's lives have never been the same. While Eva's mother seems to push Eva's father out of their lives as quickly as possible Eva wants to remember her, but is left with no one to talk to about him so instead she lets everyone think he passed away by a heart attack in his sleep. However, soon at her school she meets Will. Will is dangerously wonderful and she soon finds that it is hard to keep her father's death a secret from him. By the time she gives in Will has fallen in love with her and soon they become an item. However, disaster strikes when Will is forced to move to California suddenly and Eva is left behind. Eva, being a romance book lover, could not stand for her relationship to end so suddenly and was determined to visit Will in California, but problems occur when her mother denies her. Luckily Eva was able to find a way around that by entering her best friend in the smartest girl in the world competition located in California. After her friend, Annie, makes it in the contest, they both head on a road trip (no planes because of Eva's father's accident) to California. *to read spoilers scroll down*
Opinion: I enjoyed this book mostly. I really sympathized with Eva's back story and so I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for her throughout the book, but Eva is a pretty strong person so when I saw Eva falling for Will so desperately I wanted to tell her to stop?!(does this even make sense) I think the reason Eva depended on Will so much was because her mother never provided her an outlet and so when someone finally seemed to care she took it all in, but when Will left she was left alone. Her love for romance novels also only provided her with happy endings and it never really showed her the truth or other possibilities.
I really enjoyed reading all the stories she experienced on her road trip to California and I think that the road trip really helped open her eyes to how life was full of other stories, not just romantic ones.
I didn't really enjoy the part at the contest. Eva just usually seemed pretty mature until the contest and I get that she was desperate, but I personally don't think it was worth it.(lol you probably don't know what I'm talking about ) I would recommend this book to people who want to know the truth about love and people who want to read a story about other kinds of relationships (like friendships and family love). This book would also be good for anyone who just wants to read about an adventure between two friends. *to read spoilers scroll down*
Cover: 3/5 (idk I just didn't particularly like the neon sign even though it made sense with the story)
Favorite Quote:"A person should die in one peace. A good death. People shouldn't die with their bodies destroyed. How you die was never a phrase that had entered my head before."
Summary Spoilers: So once Eva and Annie arrive at the contest Eva is desperate to see Will, but Will was only available right then and so Eva had to sneak out. Unfortunately, Eva could not make it back in the contest room in time and was forced to stay out and right when Annie was about to win Annie need Eva's help, because there was a romance novel question, but Annie was nowhere to be found. Embarrassed, Eva had a whole apology to Annie and they made up, but Will was out of her life. Even though they didn't win the contest Annie got the back up prize, and Eva's mom finally realized her little girl could survive without her constant nagging, but most importantly Eva learned that life wasn't a romance novel and that even though in books couples always made it through thick and thin, it doesn't always happen in real life. Opinion Spoilers:I was actually pretty mad at Eva. It was one of those moments where you are thinking WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU SHOULDN'T SEE WILL. ANNIE NEEDS YOU GET BACK IN THERE YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE and yeah stuff like that. There was a lot of frustration there. At the same time I was mad at Will for letting such a kind person like Eva go, but reading through the book it was clear Will had changed and that pretty much everyone had learned something, but that it was still all going to be ok.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Summary: Finding Audrey is a story about a girl named Audrey trying to recover from an incident at school that left her paralyzed with fright whenever it came to social interaction. However, as Audrey is recovering, her family seems to recover with her. Surprisingly, what sparks Audrey's recovery starts with a sudden human interaction with a boy named Linus (her brother, Frank's, friend). When Audrey first meets Linus she couldn't help but think about him and soon she wishes he would come around more often just so they could pass notes to each other. The closer Audrey and Linus get the more Audrey faces her fears. Soon Audrey is no longer afraid of Linus and they even become a couple. Audrey seems to be getting much better until her meeting with one of the people that was a part of Audrey's initial incident at school. *to read spoiler scroll down*
Opinions: When I grabbed this book off the shelf I literally had no idea what I was in for (especially since I didn't even read any reviews or summaries on this). Though I felt the book didn't have much action in it, I still enjoyed reading it and it was a pretty good leisure read. Although I enjoyed the story, I didn't really like that the back story started out so vague. At the same time, this book was pretty predictable right when Linus is introduced into the story. This is just one of the books where it starts out quite crazy, but soon you understand what's happening, the rest of the story becomes rather predictable. Despite that, I would still recommend this book to anyone who's interested in love stories or how making friends can help deal with different kinds of problems. Although this book is obviously fiction, I really liked the fact that it was quite realistic and that just because Linus and Audrey fell in love, she didn't miraculously heal and continue on with her life, but instead she learned how life has its ups and downs.
Favorite Quotes: "I can feel his eyes on me all the time. Like sunshine."
Summary Spoilers: Audrey later meets with one of the girls that caused her accident even though Linus warns her not to. She ends up furious and decides to go to the park. However, her parents wake up the next morning to find her missing and everyone becomes frantic they even try to blame Linus. Luckily they find her safe and sound asleep at the park. From this Audrey realizes she wasn't completely healed and that she probably would never be, but it would be ok because that's the just the way life was.
Opinion Spoilers: I though it was quite a cheesy ending even though I enjoy having happy endings it almost didn't seem realistic to me. For example, in the beginning of the story Audrey's mother was completely against the idea of video games, but at the end one event changed her into a mother that advocated for the same video games she hated just maybe a month ago? I don't know maybe it was just me but it seem too sudden.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Summary: Me Before You is an unexpected love story between a somewhat average girl, Louisa, and a quadriplegic boy, Will. When Lou loses her job her family counts on her to find a new job to help bring a steady source of income for their family. Lou, however, is dreadfully missing her last job at a cafe and too nervous to find a new one, but ends up stumbling across a job that offered the kind of money her family really needed. At first Lou was quite skeptical about the job especially when Will seems to despise her. However soon Lou and Will form a special sort of friendship, one that has made Will happier than he has been since his accident and his parents couldn't be more delighted. As Lou continues her job with helping Will, she realized how unhappy her relationship with her current boyfriend, Patrick, was because of his constant addiction to running. As they fall apart, Lou and Will become closer, but the final straw between Lou and Will occurs when they all meet at Lou's house for a birthday dinner as soon they break up. *the next part contains spoilers so read them down below! *
Opinions: WOW. First of all the plot was really amazing. I haven't read a book similar to this, ... really EVER and because it's so unique I really doubt I could ever forget this amazing story. I love the kind of love Will and Lou have because not only is it unique it is also so rare and beautiful. It was amazing to see how quickly Will and Lou changed each other as people.This is literally such an amazing novel and I have no idea why it took me so long to get interested but this story was breathtaking and nerve wrecking and by the last few chapters I couldn't stop crying. Lou and Will are both such amazing people and overall this book touched my heart.
Let's talk about Lou. Lou is such ordinary yet extraordinary person. When Lou was first described as "an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life-steady boyfriend, close family" I genuinely believed it, but that was completely a lie when it came to her character. Lou was able to change Will who was constantly depressed into someone who smiled and laughed. Lou is just one of those people that makes you laugh and someone you can always talk to (as well as never stop talking to.) At the same time it was really amazing to see her when she wasn't at her best. This book definitely showed how people aren't always what they seem like and even if it seemed like Lou was content or even happy there were so many times Lou was actually having frustrations of her own and that made this book very realistic.
Now how about Will. What can I even say about Will... He is just someone I wish I could hug, because he had it all and then an accident he had no control over took everything from him. That kind of pain is just something I hope no one ever has to go through both physically and emotionally. However, Will really did change a LOT after he met Lou and as he got better I also felt better with him in that seeing him happier made me happier as well.
*the rest contains spoilers read below*
Cover:(I have the red, white, and black one) I love the typography and style and although it may look a bit plain, it looks quite nice on my shelf!
Rating: 4.99 / 5 (only because of my opinions in the spoilers)
Favorite Quotes: "You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."
"You can only actually help someone who wants to be helped."
Summary Spoilers: After dumping Will, Lou knows that she has fallen in love with Will which could not have seemed possible to her at the beginning of her job. However, Lou soon finds out that Will has been planning his own death at some suicidal site in Switzerland and he is set out to go in about four months. In order to save Will, Lou sets out on a special mission with the help of Will's parents to try and encourage and prove to Will how much more he can still experience in his life. Lou slowly brings Will out of his shell and finally sets out to plan an extravagant trip, but unfortunately Will gets a bad case of pneumonia and isn't able to attend. In her last attempt to show Will how much he has to live for, Lou plans a last minute (but still amazing) trip to a beach resort and Will and Lou spends lots of time relaxing and having fun together. On the last day of the trip, Lou decides that she has to show Will her real feelings for him, but instead of love Will tells Lou he is going to continue to go to Switzerland and Lou could not be more heartbroken. After Lou and Will head back home Will soon heads to Switzerland and Lou doesn't have to heart to go watch him die, but when Will stalls one day for her Lou takes the chance to have one last conversation with Will. After a touching conversation about life, love, and pain Will continues with his planned death and Lou has to learn to continue her life without Will.
Opinion Spoilers: Unfortunately Will continues with his plan and he does pass away and that was when my tears could not stop flowing. (wow I promise I don't cry on every book I read just these past two!) The heartbreak was pretty unbearable and after all Will had gone through I understand it wouldn't be easy to let it all go in four months, but I genuinely hoped that the love Lou had for Will would be strong enough. Even though Lou wasn't able to completely stop Will I was glad that Will was in a better state when he passed than before Lou had met him, so there's that too. Overall I was just a mess in the last few chapters and I literally couldn't get over the fact that he passed away even after the book ended. Lou and Will had an amazing story and I'll never forget it.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Summary: All the Bright Places is an amazing love story about a boy named Finch and a girl named Violet. Violet was involved in a car accident that ended her sister's (Eleanor's) life and since then Violet although alive has not been living her life. That is where Finch comes in. Finch is a boy that has been abused at home and teased at school and lives life in the moment. One day Finch climbed up to the bell tower of the school and finds Violet about to jump, but instead he is able to convince her that life is still worth living even though he has thought about jumping many times himself. In fact most of Finch's life is spent finding different foul proof ways of ending his mostly miserable life. Violet is the first good thing that has happened to Finch in a while though and he is quick to try and keep her in his life, by doing a school project with her. Their assignment is to wander the state and soon through a couple of adventures Violet and Finch are in deeply in love and even though Finch has saved Violet's life, Finch continues to have problems of his own: problems he can't solve on his own, but won't admit to anyone else. *the rest of the summary is in the spoilers section*
Opinions: I don't even want to admit how much and how long I cried after I finished reading this book. Both Finch and Violet are amazing characters that are both so lovable and it felt like I was meeting two old friends. Finch was someone I felt bad for and at the same time envied. I love his creative side and I felt so bad he had a dark side most likely just due to his childhood abuse and the teasing he got at school. I could tell how badly Finch needed a father figure or any family in his life, but at least he had Violet as a lifeline for a little while. The love Finch and Violet had for one another was so strong and beautiful. Since Finch had not been given the kind of love most children get or deserve I think that the love Violet gave him cause him to express years pent up of love to Violet, and that love Violet gave came back at her ten times as strong.
My favorite part when they started falling in love was on one of their wanderings Finch brought them to the church wall with the words "Before I die I want to _______" and their answers to that made me squeal inside and also feel so happy for them. Violet is such an amazing person that was held back by a horrible accident, but although she didn't save Finch directly like he did her, throughout the story is was clear how much Violet was saving Finch from himself. Another favorite part of mine was the way Finch showed Violet the Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect and how they used this theory to describe their love for one another. It was quite a beautiful way to show how much they were in love with one another.
This book was amazing, but it still had parts I hated. Don't get me wrong though, it wasn't the story I hated, it was what happened. Whenever Finch was breaking down or something went wrong I was crying or screaming STOP in my head. I was absolutely terrified at certain parts and my devotion to Finch and Violet just forced me to hope and pray that there was a happy ending and so everytime something didn't work out quite right I was panicking so much.*the rest of the opinion is in the spoilers section*
Cover:The cover is gorgeous. However, I have the hardcover version and in my opinion the inner cover is even more beautiful in a simple kind of way. The cover definitely lives up to the story it holds in between it.
Favorite Quotes: - " 'The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it's the small things that count.' "
- " 'We all have a shelf life.' "
- "What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?"
- "The thing I realized is that it's not what you take, it's what you leave."
Summary Spoilers: Finch went into the Blue Hole and never came out(and small piece of me died with him) leaving Violet without Eleanor or Finch, but she already learned so much from Finch she is able to live on even though she loves him so much. Opinion Spoilers:I CRIED SO MUCH WHEN FINCH DIED (even when I sort of guessed what was about to happen). Tears just streamed down my face and I could not stop them, but at that point I didn't care, because FINCH WAS FREAKIN' GONE. Violet and Finch were so perfect together and the beginning of the story truly convinced most of me Violet and Finch would become a happy couple and get married and then run off into the sunset....that obviously didn't happen. ANYWAYS this story was still mindblowingly amazing because of just the plot, characters, and honestly everything. By the end of this story I was 100% devoted to everything Finch and Violet did and so when Finch jumped it really killed me. Meanwhile I was really glad Violet was finally able to learn so much about how to deal with the rest of her life and how neither her sister or Finch's death was her fault. Overall, this book has to be my favorite right now so thanks to Jennifer Niven so much for writing this amazing novel!
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Summary: Four different teens become unlikely friends when the world is threatened by an asteroid. Using their last two months, they were able to do everything they wanted to make sure they lived without any regrets. As time was counting down, Anika, Andy, Peter, and Eliza fall in love, make new friends, go on adventures, and slowly come together. They lived life to its fullest and bonded together as the fated asteroid, Ardor, came closer and closer.
Opinions: This is one of those books that helps you put life into perspective and think about what would happen if you were placed in the same situation. It helps you think about what you would want to change in your life and what you would want your last words and moments to be. Without Ardor, Anika, Andy, Peter, and Eliza would not even have met up and become such close of friends. In the face of death they were able to break apart from judgements and stereotypes to finally see everybody for who they really were.
Although the start of the book was not necessarily gripping and the plot was quite similar to other apocalyptic stories, the overall message was beautiful and definitely made me think more about my current life. When I was reading I was thinking about what I would change to live life without regrets and I feel like because I am such a shy person there would be so many things to change, say, and express. However, at the same time, there is that thought that makes you wonder that if everything is going to end for certain in a short amount of time, life would just almost feel a bit wasteful.
Interestingly, the characters did not stand out individually, but when their differences were revealed, how they fit so well together illustrated how they were each other's missing puzzle pieces. By the end of the book it almost felt like I had four new friends. This kind of story just touches your heart and it was clear it wasn't a book I was going to forget anytime soon. This book is definitely great for someone looking for a book where you will think a lot about life, love, regrets, and real happiness.
Cover: The cover is absolutely beautiful and it was definitely one of the reasons this story was so appealing. Everything about it was just so aesthetic.
Favorite Quote: "The best books, they don't talk about things you never thought of before. They talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else thought about. You read them, and suddenly you're a little less alone in the world. You're part of this cosmic community of people who've all thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be."
My heart fell when I found out that Peter didn't make it. (I know cue the tears!) I was also a bit disappointed at the end and would like to know how this book really ended, if the asteroid hit or not. Even though I knew it was meant to end like this to make you think (which trust me I thought about a lot) the story felt incomplete and I really wanted to find the right outcome.
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.