The Rest of Us Just Live Here SPOILER FREE Review
I want to thank The YA Bookworm Blogger for kindly sending me an ARC of this book. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is out on October 6, 2015!
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.
I want to start off by saying that I’ve tried to read More Than This by Patrick Ness, but I just could NOT get into that book. Also, I haven’t read the Chaos Walking trilogy. I’m saying this because I know that a lot of people who have read those books didn’t really like this book. But I ended up LOVING it. Personally, I think that it’s best to go into this book blind, as that’s how I read it. One thing I really loved about this book was that at the beginning of each chapter, we learnt what was going on with the “chosen ones” of this novel. I loved how their story was basically a satire of the YA dystopian. It was GENIUS. Along the lines of that, I loved how our characters talked about the consequences of what these “chosen ones” do. There’s one scene in this book where our main protagonist is a concert where that point really hit home for me. We don’t really see our protagonists in fantasy or dystopian novels get reprimanded for the mass destruction that usually occurs. Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the elements of magic. It kind of felt like magical realism, as everyone thought that the magical parts were pretty normal. I also enjoyed Ness’ writing style, it made the whole story feel pretty relatable. Reading this book really reminded me a lot of The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith (I have a review of that book here). They are both really familiar with their themes, although The Alex Crow leans more towards sci-fi, where The Rest of Us Just Live Here is more fantasy/dystopian. I prefer The Rest of Us Just Live Here though because I like the way the female characters are portrayed in it more.
The characters were definitely are strong point for me. I think each of the characters was developed fairly well. There is also a wide diversity of characters. We have characters of different race, characters dealing with mental illnesses, and characters that are gay. We follow our main character, Mikey, who suffers from anxiety and is dealing with the struggles of graduating high school. I really liked Mikey’s character. He felt like a real person at my school. I don’t know too much about mental illnesses, but I feel like anxiety was handled really well in this book. Another character with an illness is Mikey’s older sister, Mel. She suffers from bulimia which, if you did not know, is an eating disorder. Mel can be pretty demanding and sometimes feisty, but she only wants what’s best for her siblings. Mel’s best friend and Mikey’s “love interest” of the story is Henna Silvennionen (I spelt that right on my first try). At first, Henna feels a bit like a manic pixie dream girl, but as the story goes on you learn so much more about her character and backstory. By the end of the story, I truly grew to appreciate her character. And lastly, one of my new favourite characters, Jared Shurin: three quarters Jewish, one quarter God. That’s all I’m going to say about him. I honestly don’t think I would’ve enjoyed Jared’s character as much if I knew anything about his character going into the story. He’s just so uniquely written and I NEED Patrick Ness to write a spin-off book focusing on Jared. Please. The thing I loved about this book was that the characters weren’t their illness or trait; they were characters dealing with having these traits. Sometimes in books we come across characters that are just defined by having a mental illness or by being gay, but this book incorporates these traits to create much deeper characters that can be relatable to anyone. Another thing I have to add is the names of the indie kids. SATCHEL! I’m sorry I cannot take anyone with the name SATCHEL seriously. I swear, I was giggling every time I saw the word SATCHEL.
I really didn’t have any problems with this book. My only nit-pick would be that I wish Henna felt less like a manic pixie dream girl in the beginning of the novel. Even though that’s supposed to be part of her arc, I wish Ness had focused a bit more on the real Henna.
Overall, this is my favourite contemporary I‘ve read (so far) this year. Maybe even in my life! I got such a good message out of it, I loved the characters, and it’s pushed me to read authors I never thought I’d read before (Hello, Maggie Stiefvater). I would recommend this book to fans of Andrew Smith. It gives off a similar feeling I had after finishing The Alex Crow. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try reading More Than This again!