The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
“We’re just as screwed up and brave and false and loyal and wrong and right as anyone else.”
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.
Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.
I was itching to get a Patrick Ness book, and I found this under my Christmas tree (you can take a look at my Christmas post). I originally wanted A Monster Calls, but I’m not disappointed with The Rest of Us Just Live Here at all!
So to sum up the synopsis and explain a bit further, this book is about those kids we don’t usually hear about in books; the ones who go to school with the so-called “indie kids”- you know, the extras in movies, the people whose lives are not as exciting, not worth telling.
Except this book was great because it showed how these kids’ lives are exciting and difficult, which is why I chose the quote at the top. This book is filled with real-life problems. While the indie kids are off saving the world, Mikey, Henna, Jared and Mel are living in a world like ours, even though their stories sometimes cross.
Basically our protagonist Mikey is your average 17-year-old boy with anxiety issues who’s just trying to move through life and has bad parents and two sisters who he really loves. He was an interesting MC and it felt like he was someone real, someone relatable. I thought the way his anxiety was portrayed was very important, and we need more mentally ill characters like him to raise awareness.
On the other hand we have his friends, Henna and Jared, who (fun fact!) were actually named after real people who participated in an auction for the chance to be in this book. Henna is a black half-Finnish girl who Mikey claims to be in love with, problem is she doesn’t seem to feel the same. Jared is Mikey’s best friend who – for an actual reason, you’ll see – is worshipped by mountain lions and just felines in general.
I’m going to be straight: these characters lead pretty indie lives for non-indie kids. But you just get the vibe that they’re everyday people, and that’s what’s important I think.
Now for the writing and format – amazing. I cannot even talk about the writing, it’s just… great. Here’s an example: there are about 8 pages with dialogue only and I didn’t even notice until I was 5 pages in. You get so sucked into the book, and I think that proves how brilliant Ness’s writing is.
The format is actually pretty simple, divided into chapters – but it also managed to be original! Every chapter starts with a small summary of what the indie kids have been doing. These paragraphs are dramatic and kind of hilarious, but interesting too, because they actually intertwine with Mikey’s story and are helpful to get a sense of what’s going on. Mikey and his friends, being non-indie, have no idea, so it would just be really confusing if we didn’t have them.
It wasn’t a five-star book, but only because that rating is reserved for my favorites and this wasn’t that good. But I think it deserves the four stars I gave it!
Would I recommend this book? Yep, for sure! It makes you think, I believe, and even though it gets a little crazy with the mix of fantasy and contemporary, it was a great read.
I haven’t read any other Ness books, so I don’t know whether this one is better or worse, but I’ll let you know when I read them!