A new Patrick Ness novel is always a big event and this was no less exciting. I avoided reading all reviews of the book before I started because I wanted to be surprised, especially as I know Patrick Ness has a habit of doing just that.
If you read a lot of young adult fantasy or science fiction, you’ll have come across teenagers that fight vampires, wield magic and join rebel groups to fight against the government or zombies. They are known as the indie kids. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is about the teenagers who live in the same world as the indie kids, but who are just trying to get through their everyday lives. Because they aren’t the Chosen Ones.
The Rest of Us Just Live here is a satire of young adult literature, but a friendly one. It’s about the teenagers who aren’t named Finn or Satchel, who aren’t ‘dying beautifully of cancer’, and who aren’t here to save the world. They’re ordinary and their problems are ordinary and their friends and families are ordinary. But they’re a joy to read about, especially as a fan of young adult contemporary fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and it made me feel a little odd, as if I were living in a world where all these fantastical things were happening in the background and I was just going about my life, talking about books on social media, going to the cinema and meeting friends for frozen yoghurt. At the beginning of each chapter, we’re told all about the exciting and dangerous adventures the indie kids have been on, and they make an appearance in the normal lives of our protagonists because they’re someone’s friends and classmates, too.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a well-written and wonderful exploration of what it’s like to grow up. It’s a mix of the closeness you feel to the characters in Chaos Walking, the sadness of A Monster Calls, and the delicate tackling of mental health in More Than This. I adore Mikey’s little sister Meredith, who is much like me and my obsession with Taylor Swift. I enjoyed the friendship between Mikey and his best friend Jared, and watching him reveal his feelings for Henna. And I thought the way Patrick Ness approached anxiety and OCD – from showing the difference between obsession and compulsion, and the way anxiety can make someone feel like you’re the one your friends could do without, to confirming that no one is to blame for their own mental health – was important and much-needed. The Rest of Us Just Live Here might not be as fast-paced as Chaos Walking, as mind-boggling as More Than This or as frightening as A Monster Calls, but it’ll stay with you all the same.
Published: 27th August 2015 (UK) 6th October 2015 (US)
Publisher: Walker Books (UK) HarperTeen (US)
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!