Another day, another book review! How exciting!
‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here‘ by Patrick Ness was first published in 2015. It’s a Young Adult novel which looks at the idea of the ‘chosen one’ trope from the other side. It’s tag line is ‘Not everyone has to be the chosen one’. [you can buy a copy here!]
The novel follows Mikey as he and his friends face their high school graduation and the future; while a supernatural invasion is attempted and thwarted in the background. Just this week’s end of the world.
I loved loved loved this book. So much. The entire idea of looking at the people in the background of the classic ‘chosen one’ story is pure brilliance, and Ness executed it perfectly. It was a straight forward story by itself, but it still managed to be enthralling.
It was particularly interesting how Ness hinted at the traditional ‘chosen one’ storyline which was happening in the background; he did this through little chapter summaries at the start of each chapter. I thought this was an excellent way of juxtaposing the two stories. (two of my favourites are pictured below!)
Regardless of the background story, Ness really wove an interesting story about a young man and his close friends. He particularly looked at the issue of mental illness in such an easy and comfortable way. I know that sounds like a weird way to describe it, but it’s the truth. He made it all seem normal, not in the way that it is okay, but rather that it’s not something that needs to be swept under the rug. It happens, and it needs to be dealt with properly.
For example, the main character, Mikey, has extreme OCD, and spends a lot of time washing his hands, and getting stuck in cycles of counting things. It’s something he struggles with throughout the book. It was handled extremely well.
I found myself really caring about the characters, and also thinking about some of my favourite books which employ the ‘chosen one’ trope, and how the characters on the peripheries would have seen the main characters. How maybe some of the other Hogwarts students just really wanted to get through a year without some strange shit happening to Harry Potter.
And lastly, I know I’ve harped on for a bit, but the writing itself was incredible. This was my first Patrick Ness book, and I am truly impressed. His writing style was very unique, and even at times beautiful; something which isn’t always easy when you’re writing about mundane everyday things.
I had a hard time choosing, mostly because I really liked all the characters, but didn’t absolutely love any of them. I have decided to choose Mel, the main characters sister, because she’s a strong female character, and has some really badass moments.
When Mel punches a nosy reporter in the face. It was awesome.
I couldn’t decide on just one, so here are my two favourite quotes!
“We had the same amount of heartache when a new round of indie kids exorcized the sorrow from all those soul eating ghosts eight years later (that was the year they blew up the high school, a heretofore unknown part of the exorcism ritual, I guess).”
“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.”
So have you read any Patrick Ness books? Have you read this one? If so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments below!