Title: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Page count: 343 pages (UK hardcover)
Rating: 3.5 stars (rated as 4 on Goodreads)
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.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here (hereafter referred to just as `The Rest Of Us` or `this book` because I`m definitely too lazy to keep typing this title), is the newest of Patrick Ness books. At the time of writing, it`s been out in the world for a grand total of 5 days. (One copy has been at my house for 3 days.)
I pre-ordered this book about a month ago, as Patrick Ness is an auto-buy author for me, meaning I pretty much automatically buy his books without waiting for other reviews. I absolutely adored 6 of his other books, so it`s really a pretty safe bet. Still, luckily I was actually genuinely interested in this book as well.
Like the summary points out, this book is about the people who are not the Chosen Ones. What happens to them, the background people, during an epic apocalyptic story? The world and the economy keep on turning after all, so surely people keep working and loving and living even with an ongoing sense of impending doom, and the occassional explosion. I`m a sucker for any story that goes “but what about the other people?” so this was a done deal from the beginning.
First things first: I enjoyed this book. In fact, I finished it in one go last night. Only took me a couple of hours, having started sometime after dinner and finished just after midnight. It would`ve taken me less, were it not for the fact that there was an apocalyptic storm going on outside and I got distracted by the non-stop flashes and rumbling of the thunder and lightning. It was really very fitting, but it was also distracting and a bit scary.
As such, my memories and impressions of the book are a bit messy, but I`m going to give this my best shot anyway:
Like I said, I enjoyed this book. Did I enjoy it as much as, say, the Chaos Walking trilogy? Nah. Was it enjoyable on its own? Absolutely. It`s a quick read, very easy to get through. It`s not the type of book to make you sit and think about things. Although, to be honest I did get the feeling it tried to make you think a couple of times, but I happily pushed away those feelings and continued anyway.
(I do this with all my feelings, and it`s why I`m in therapy. Take note, kids.)
Then again, sometimes the book felt slightly preachy, especially when it came to topics like anxiety. Mikey, the main character, has anxiety & OCD, which to me was great! I have anxiety & OCD, and I`ve never read a book with a main character with similar issues (I`m more of the `ew gross germs` and `ew gross people` type than the `I have to count everything` type). But every now and then the book was a bit too much “this is a substitute for therapy” for my liking. Like the main character, I`ve been falling back into old habits/thoughts as of late, hence the lack of updates on this blog, but this book did nothing for me personally to help. I can imagine it will help other people, maybe even if just to recognise they might need help and can actually get it somewhere. But for me? Again: nah.
Actually, I just thought of the right words: it`s sappy. That`s fine, it`s a thing you native-English-speaking people have, you lot get real sappy and emotional all of the time. It`s both amusing and a bit annoying to someone like me, who`s from the most down-to-earth region of the most down-to-earth country. I mean, I`m perpetually surrounded by people who were genuinely surprised that I could be enthusiastic about and actually pre-order a book. I didn`t even bother counting the amount of people who just kind of tutted and shook their heads whenever I talked about this book. `It`s just a book! Why do you even pay for it! Couldn`t you download it somewhere?` Heathens, I swear.
(Which reminds me that one thing I loved about this book is that it`s not set in the big city. I`m from a tiny town, so I appreciated the whole `why are all the big cities so far away` and `we don`t have a proper restaurant` types of comments.)
But to get back on the positive track: I did love the way the book was set-up. With the tiny little bits of a standard YA novel in the beginning of each chapter, that ruthlessly take all the tropes and cliches of YA Chosen Ones books and turn them into something utterly ridiculous. In fact, there`s a lot of not-so-subtle snags at popular YA tropes & books. I`m going to let you find them all on your own, but I`ve definitely had my share of giggles and `ooooohhh burn!` moments. Patrick Ness: master shade thrower.
The Rest Of Us is written as if Ness just printed an entire list of YA tropes, cut them into small papers, put them in a bowl, pulled random ones out again, and then just had a lot of fun finding ways to ridicule them. If you`re annoyed by all the feisty heroines who find True Love (or IS IT) while saving the world from Doom, and of course sacrificing themselves because they`re Cinnamon Roles, Too Good For This World (Except Badass), then this book is for you.
This isn`t a super revolutionary book that will change everything. Don`t expect a masterpiece. But as the book points out itself: it doesn`t have to be. Just as we don`t have to be extraordinary to be worthy of love, the same goes for this book. It`s not an extraordinary book, it`s (probably) not going to save masses of mentally ill children or change the world in any way, but it`s a fun book that`s worth reading anyway.
So tl;dr: do I recommend this book? Yes. Am I going to reread it? Definitely. I feel like I got way less out of the book than I could have, so at some point, some time, I will read this again – and I`ll probably let you know what I think of it then. Will I pre-order Patrick Ness`s next book as well? Very, very likely.
Did you read The Rest Of Us or are you planning on reading it? Let me know in the comments!
Take care, and I`ll see you guys soon 🙂