Published by Walker Books on August 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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 worshiped by mountain lions.
Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.
It took me a while to get my head around The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It reads exactly like a contemporary novel, but on the back of Mikey’s love for his best friend and struggles with his politician mum and alcoholic dad, there’s dead things coming back to life, indie kids dying and other supernatural occurrences all happening in the background. This mishmash of paranormal occurrences happening in a contemporary novel was pretty weird and surreal, considering how Mikey and his friends were more focused on their own lives – such as love, family, romance and friendship.
Each chapter starts off with a short paragraph on the indie kids and their supernatural battles, telling us about the indie kid Satchel and her Princely love and what she was doing to save the world. Instead of focusing on this however, we hear about Mikey’s OCD, family struggles and experimental romance. The weird thing is that the cast still encounter the supernatural, for example deers that come back to life and mysterious blue lights, but they just don’t do anything about it and leave it to the Chosen Ones. This, I found pretty frustrating, because I wanted to know about what was happening, instead of reading short teasers about it.
“I know what it’s like to lose her, even for three or four minutes. It makes you afraid every minute of every day that it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. You can be happy. You can have fun. But it’s always there. Always.”
However, if you can overlook on all the fun details that you’re missing out on, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a rather smartly written, satirical contemporary. I enjoyed Mikey’s sibling relationships with his two sisters, his spunky older sister Mel and his younger sister Meredith. These are actually siblings who want to hang out with each other! Why is that so rare? His sisters were pretty much what made him able to withstand his parents, who were pretty crappy parents who used their kids for their own benefit.
Mikey also has a cast of supportive friends who are diverse. Jason is his gay best friend who he’s mucked around with on occasion and Henna is his long time Indian friend who he’s testing the waters with. The dialogue is great, with a great balance of humour and figuring each other out. The novel felt fairly realistic with the way it dealt with family, friends and life, and I’m glad there were multiple issues touched upon here.
“We share our craziness, our neuroses, our little bit of screwed-up-ness that comes from our family. We share it. And it feels like love.”
The Rest of Us Live Here is an odd twist on a contemporary coming of age novel, about kids who aren’t meant to save the world. It’s going to tease you with the interesting supernatural happenings which you’ll never get to know more about. However, behind all this is a hilarious and charming story about friendship, understanding yourself and coming to terms with your family, written with a satirical twist, intelligence and humour.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me this book for review.
All quotes have been taken from the proof copy and may be subject to change in the final version.
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