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 worshiped by mountain lions.
Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.
If you all don’t know by now (which you really probably should), my favorite author is Patrick Ness. He wrote The Knife of Never Letting Go trilogy, More Than This, and A Monster Calls, all of which I love immensely. So when I found out about The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I just about died. Actually died. The concept and questions he asks in all of his stories are so original and unique, it was obviously a PICK UP ASAP for me. I might have set my expectations a wee bit too high, because The Rest of Us Just Live Here – while still a great work by Ness – isn’t as spectacular as his previous books.
BIZARRELY & RIDICULOUSLY GOOD
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is mainly about the anti-YA heroes – so the not Chosen Ones. However, in order to tell their story, there has to be some snippet of the YA heroes to set a contrast.
What Ness does so well here is that at the beginning of each chapter, there’s a quick summary of what’s going on with the Chosen Ones (in this case, he calls them the indie kids, like they’re too hipster and cool for the rest of us), and the rest of the chapter is focused on the normal kids.
These epigraphs are so cliché and intentionally cliché of a typical YA story. It’s bizarre and hilarious the way Ness uses these clichés. The kids of the town (the main characters) have to react to these bizarre events while the Chosen Ones try to save the world.
A RATHER CONTEMPORARY STORY
Other than that, The Rest of Us Just Live Here reads rather like a YA contemporary, with the few exceptions of the bizarre phenomena going on in the town. It pretty much follows a group of seniors in high school who just really want to graduate.
This is where the story lacked a little bit for me: at times, it was a tad bit dull. However, Ness does thoroughly explore our main characters, specifically Mikey, whom the story is told from.
Mikey feels like a plain guy who no one needs, despite having a group of genuine and caring friends. He suffers from OCD and questions his sexual orientation. He’s an actual teen boy – not a Chosen One like the ones we read about – making me adore him even more. He has real worries that any teen can relate to, not worries about how to save the world.
Ness asks these insightful questions that never fails to remind me why I love his books. Even though the conclusion is vague and has zero closure whatsoever (which I usually despise), I was left feeling completely satisfied because of the way Ness wraps up the story with his own existential speculations.
NO SURPRISE HERE – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
The Rest of Us Just Live Here wasn’t everything that I had hoped for, but it was pretty close. Patrick Ness’s hint at making fun of the typical YA heroes is evident in this story about the rest of the teenagers who don’t get to save the world. It’s also thought-provoking and completely realistic. (And a sidenote: Patrick Ness said in the Epic Reads video that he always includes some sort of rhinoceros in his story – and he DID in this one!!) The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a must for all readers looking for something a little different.