I had heard so many great things about Patrick Ness’s books before picking up The Rest of Us Just Live Here, so my expectations were considerably high. This book did not disappoint me, and I’m definitely going to be picking up more of Ness’s books.
Title & Author: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publication: October 2015 by HarperTeen (Kindle edition)
First Impressions: Mountain lions? Soul-eating ghosts? That is quite the blurb.
Mikey isn’t an indie kid — saving the world isn’t his job. He has his hands full with his unrequited crush on his friend, his mother’s political campaign, his best friend’s mysterious behavior, and his OCD. Oh, and the blue lights popping up around town and the looming threat of the oncoming apocalypse. But that’s not really important. Not to Mikey and his friends, anyway.
“Everything’s always ending. But everything’s always beginning, too.”
Abby the Bookworm
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny, and wickedly clever book. It is a tribute to all the people for whom saving the world has never high on the to-do list and who instead have their hands full with everyday life.
Each chapter begins with a summary of the Chosen One storyline going on in the background of the actual plot, and I found that to be extremely brilliant on Patrick Ness’s part.
Mikey and his best friends Mel, Jared, and Henna serve as our main characters. Mikey was so lovable. He is adorable and I want to give him a hug and some chocolate. Reading about how Mikey helps Mel recover from her anorexia was wholesome in all the right ways, as was the way Mikey and Mel protected their little sister, Meredith. Their parents, though, were awful.
Jared was great. I loved his friendship with Mikey, although the explosion towards the end was hard to read, to say the least. Henna… was nice. She was my least favorite out of the crew. Mikey has an enormous crush on her, and I got sort of mad at Henna at the beginning and towards the middle of the book. It felt like she was just playing with Mikey’s feelings at that point. But she had depth and loss and her complicated romance/friendship/platonic romance (??? Don’t even ask) with Mikey was certainly something fresh to read about.
This book is naturally quite character-driven, being that it places a great focus on the lives of the not-Chosen-Ones. The character development, irreverent narration, brilliant premise, and mental illness representation all contribute to the strange and memorable wonder that is this book.
Reading about Mikey’s OCD was an enlightening experience for me, and his compulsive loops were written in such a way that I could really understand where the pain and self-hatred that he went through came from.
If there’s one thing you take out of this book, it’s that the everyday struggles and delights you experience matter as much as the portal in the basement gymnasium ushering in the apocalypse.
“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 the 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.”
Abby the Christian Bookworm: GENTLENESS
The Message Bible defines gentleness as “not needing to force our way in life” (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG). This is something the parents in The Rest of Us Just Live Here — namely, Mikey and Mel’s parents, as well as Henna’s — really need to work on. For example, Mikey’s mother’s political ambitions stem from her desire to make the world a better place for her children. But the way she does this is the opposite of gentleness. She forces her way into her children’s relationships, and every interaction she has with Mel or Mikey seems like the definition of “forced.” But I don’t find her unredeemable. Her gentler words and actions towards the end of the book seem promising.
How about you? Have you read The Rest of Us Just Live Here? Which books from Patrick Ness should I read next?