Author: Robyn Schneider
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!
I am not going to sugarcoat this book — it will wreck you. It will make you sad, happy, angry, and basically play with your emotions like a yo-yo. It’s actually why I loved the book so damn much. Robyn Schneider understands the ins and outs of TB as a illness, but tries to provide the readers an almost unfiltered experience of what it means to be separate from the ones you love, only in turn to fall in love with a new group of people who are the same as you.
Truthfully, what drew me into the story was writing. There’s a cheekiness to Schneider’s writing that is both gut punching as it is poppy, and I dig that. I loved both lane and Sadie’s voices and they were both very distinctive, very clear, and uniquely their own. Overall, I’d say I actually enjoyed reading Lane’s chapters just a bit more, if only because I found him very easy to gravitate towards, he’s a little sheltered, but part his growth is undeniable.
What I love about the title of this book is that it fits both the growth of Lane and Sadie’s character development, as well as the illness they both suffer from. Both Lane and Sadie grow as individuals and together through extraordinary means, and the fact that they could love each other knowing their survival rate was slim was both heartbreaking as it is honest. Especially how Lane views it — in a lot of ways there’s nothing sweet about their relationship, yet Schneider makes them a fun and interesting couple. It might also be that the supporting cast is quite strong, especially Charlie and Nick who I found to be quite memorable.
This book made my heart hurt, but in a good way. The ending is a tad predictable, but it really couldn’t have ended any other way. Regardless, the story, the situation surrounding TB, and how important having hope is, are all strong messages found in this novel. While I admit to this being my first Robyn Schneider novel, I really loved her writing style and know it won’t be my last.