Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Release Date: August 27th 2015
Published By: Walker Books
Pages: 352
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: As my first Patrck Ness novel, I cannot compare this book to the other titles by this popular author. But I have to say that I am impressed with Ness’ originality!

The Rest of Us Just Live Here takes tells you a story in the way no other does - from the point of view of the “ordinary” person. It is not about the hero, there are no villains, and it is not even really about the massive events happening in the wider world. This is the story of a normal boy - the random person at school, the boy down the road, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. This journey is not about the world-changing events taking place, or of the “Chosen One”, or the person destined to fall in love with some supernatural being, or even someone on the outer circle of the heroes of the world, but of a regular teenage boy facing normal teenage problems. To share a comparison I used with a friend, this is the story of Sunnydale and vampires and demons, but not told from the viewpoint of Buffy, Angel or even Willow - but of the random kid who sits in the school cafeteria eating lunch with his friends and discussing assignments.

This is the story of Mikey, and for the most part, this story is contemporary. After all, Mikey is a normal teenager just wanting to kiss the girl he loves, and wanting to spend time with his friends before they graduate. No, Mikey is certainly not the hero - he has far too much on his hands dealing with life, school, love and the possibility of leaving it all behind. Mikey is suffering from OCD and is increasingly frustrated with becoming stuck in loops, all the while pining after his long-time crush Henna and dealing with two very absent parents (on is absent due to politics, the other due to alcohol). However Mikey is helped through his final year at school by his gay best friend, who has some very interest heritage and abilities, and his sister Mel. It is the journey of normal teenage life while the Chosen Ones are off trying to save the world. There is diversity, mental illness, friendships, love, trust, struggles and hope. I particularly liked the dynamics between Mikey and his sisters, particular Mel - I really respected the ways these two cared for each other and understood the strength the other requires to deal with their mental illness. And I have to say, I really respected the way that mental illness was portrayed throughout this book - as an ongoing struggle, not something that can be fixed overnight.

However there are paranormal elements in the background which for the most part do not affect Mikey - I mean, he wasn’t around for the soul-sucking ghosts or the vampires that once plagued the world, and now he just hopes that whatever happens next doesn’t happen until after graduation. But there are certainly paranormal things happening around Mikey, and we get to hear about the background story (which would normally be the actual story) via a “mini-story” at the beginning of each chapter. I really loved these chapter openings. as these little insights let you see the events surrounding the chosen ones, called Indies, and the magic that is threatening everything. This little story grows and develops as your proceed throughout the book, and the more you get to learn about Mikey’s life, the more you see there are powers that are threatening to destroy the world he knows.

Although well written, I was unable to connect to our main protagonist, Mikey which I felt made me feel a little disconnected from the story. However, this is a unique story that clearly has been executed in clever and interesting way, and I feel that only a truly remarkable author could have possibly done this concept justice. The concept of The Rest of Us Just Live Here is truly interesting, intriguing and original, and although I cannot make any comparisons to Ness’ other works, this book certainly proves his skill in storytelling.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is not contemporary, nor fantasy or paranormal - but a wonderful mix of genres told in a truly unique voice. All characters are dealing with their personal battles and the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again - even without the risk of some unnatural force threatening it all. They must face the real villains of the story - their own inner-demons.




“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.”

“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”

“ But when you choose your family, you get to choose how it is between you, too”

“Everything’s always ending. But everything’s always beginning, too”


What do you think?

  • I love Ness, and the idea that he wrote something “new” is fantastic! When do we ever really read about the non-chosen ones, the people who are on the sidelines? I am looking forward to reading about Mikey and his friends. Great review!
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  • I absolutely loooooved this book. I love how it blended the two genres of paranormal and contemporary, and managed to produce such a wonderful book that included aspects from both.

    I haven’t read a Ness book (other than this one), either, so it was really interesting to see what all the fuss is about. Having read this book and loved it, and I am no doubt going to search for his other books (I have heard SO many good things about them - hopefully it bodes well).

    I was able to connect to Mikey really well, so I’m sad that connection wasn’t there for you, Kristy! I’m glad you were able to enjoy this book anyway, though :D

    Lovely review, dear!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba BrayMy Profile

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