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A Book Review of “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” by Patrick Ness

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Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles every Thursday. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

“The Rest of Us Just Live Here” by Patrick Ness

“The Rest of Us Just Live Here” by Patrick Ness

What’s the Big Deal?

From the author of the esteemed Chaos Walking trilogy comes The Rest of Us Just Live Here, an ALA Best Young Adult Fiction winner about what happens when you aren’t the chosen one. Punctuated by brief explanations of what the book’s chosen ones really are doing, Ness weaves a tale of woe and relief narrated by Mikey, an ordinary guy who hasn’t fought a monster in his life.

As a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, one of the Chicago Public Library Best Teen Books of the Year, and feature of the Bank Street Best Books List, Ness’ novel boldly shows us once again that you don’t have to travel anywhere to discover brilliant new worlds.

Plot Summary

Mikey is an ordinary kid. He’s eighteen, a senior in high school, has two sisters—one in his grade and a younger one—and he’s got a cat and two parents, albeit not very good ones. The only thing unordinary about Mike is his OCD, his sister’s anorexia, and the fact that his school is the target of regular otherworldly onslaughts by vampires, aliens, and the like.

Amidst battling his feelings for Henna, his friend since childhood, and his anxiety, the “indie kids” of his high school battle their own monsters—this time, it’s bigger than ever before, and if they don’t do something, their whole town will become a snow globe in the hands of the mysterious immortals. Mikey and his friends can’t do much about this part of the story—it isn’t their place. But after all, they have plenty of other things to worry about.

The end of high school is nearing, and Mikey is filled with questions. Should he ask Henna to prom? What is going on with his friend Jared? What if he can’t handle his OCD relapse? And who the hell is this Nathan kid, who Henna apparently has a crush on and who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? As the indie kids take part in this week’s Armageddon, Mikey and his friends try to live their lives and figure everything out as the world collapses around them.

Quick Facts

  • Author: Patrick Ness
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: YA coming-of-age, fantasy
  • Ratings: 3.7/5 Goodreads, 4.6/5 Barnes & Noble
  • Release date: August 25, 2015
  • Publisher: HarperCollins

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You’ve read and enjoyed books like I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, or They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • You’re a teen or young adult who values friendships above most else
  • You have a sibling or twin that you’re close to
  • A sarcastic or cynical sense of humor is something you can understand well
  • You ever feel like you’re not the main character in your own story or feel left out of the drama and action that goes on around you

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.

— Patrick Ness, “The Rest of Us Just Live Here”

Reviews

  • “There are plenty of fine books about the hero's journey, but here's a clever, soulful look at what happens to the innocent bystanders when the ‘Chosen Ones’ duke it out.” —Common Sense Media
  • “While Ness packs his pages with wit (this is one of those novels that seem as if they were a joy to write), there’s plenty of emotional heft in his turning of the genre tables. He reminds us that it’s not a choice to be a chosen one, but it is in everyone’s power to be a hero, by caring about others, by fighting to become your own truest self.” —The New York Times
Patrick Ness, the book’s author

Patrick Ness, the book’s author

The Takeaway

I was definitely impressed by this book. Since I’d read the Chaos Walking trilogy and was looking for something a little unique, seemed like the ideal option for a new book of mine—and I was totally right. The narration is funny, searingly honest, and instantly relatable. The descriptions of Mikey’s last days of high school are poignant and touching, so while the novel is simply written, it’s packed with many different emotions and tone colors that push it to YA magnificence. If you’re ready to dive into another reading journey, I invite you to let Patrick Ness guide you with The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

Comments

Rose McCoy (author) from West Virginia on July 26, 2020:

I have seen the movie version of All The Bright Places! I thought they chose a unique pair of actors, but I did notice that they had good chemistry together. I doubt a film company would pick up “The Rest of Us Just Live Here”, simply because it might be too complicated to digitize—but if one did, I would love to see more of Mikey and Mel’s beautiful sibling dynamic and how they both deal with their individual illnesses.

Dina AH from United States on July 25, 2020:

Rose, I am elated to hear that you've enjoyed this book. I noticed you mentioned Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places, which I have not read. Have you seen the Netflix adaptation? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

Speaking of which, do you think an adaptation of The Rest of Us Just Live Here could work? Would there be specific elements of the story that you'd want to prioritize?

Rose McCoy (author) from West Virginia on July 23, 2020:

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there’s a Portuguese translation for the book—I looked it up online—but perhaps there will be soon! Thanks for checking out my article. :)

Manuela from Portugal on July 23, 2020:

Seems a good book, I never heard about Patrik Ness before, I don't know if there is a translation in my country. Thank you for sharing your review.

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