Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Source: Edelweiss & Book Expo America
Date Read: 9/21/15 to 9/24/15
336 pages

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.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I have always wanted to read something by Patrick Ness, which I was more than ecstatic to receive his latest book from Edelweiss (and also snatch it at BEA). Seeing as this was my first Ness book, I had pretty high standards for it.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Now to be dubbed TRoUJLH, wow even that is long, maybe just Rest of Us) pulled off the "un-Chosen" theme really well! We're introduced to a group of friends, Mikey, our main character, Melinda, his sister, Jared, and Henna. All of them are in their last year of high school, trying to survive whatever new situation will come up next. Last time, it was the vampires and all the Chosen ones, the Indie kids, died. This time, it's the Immortals.

Everyone knows the indie kids don't use the internet-have you noticed? They never do, it;s weird, like it never occurs to them, like it's still 1985 and there's only card catalogs-so we can't find them discussing anything online. The vibe seems to be that it's totally not our business.

At the beginning of each chapter, there's a little excerpt about what's happening to the "Chosen", Indie kids, and then the actual chapters all focus on the kids that "just live there". And it's actually really realistic, which is what Ness' goal is in the first place. Mikey is struggling with his OCD-like mental illness, where he can't get out of a loop. He's also still trying to figure out his feelings for Henna, who he's been crushing on since forever. To me, this was one of the most accurate portrayals of OCD (or an OCD-like illness, it's not explicitly mentioned). The same went with Mel's eating disorder.

So yes, other than the random Indie kids in the background, you could say that this story was normal. Everyone was struggling with their own families, their own feelings, and their own problems.

Well, except Jared.

You see, Jared is [spoilers, highlight to read] quarter god. His grandmother was the god of cats, and he has healing powers. Yet when the book ended the way it did, with the ordinary saving the extraordinary, it wasn't the ordinary. It was Jared. He healed an Indie Kid, and by doing so, was able to save the world. But to me, he was also Chosen. He was basically special in the way that he was A GOD. If an actual ordinary kid, such as Mikey, did something that helped the Indie kids, I would feel more of an impact. But eh. [spoilers end]

That was basically my only gripe throughout the entire story. I really enjoyed this "serious" parody of a recurring trope. And you would think that this would be boring, compared to actually reading about the SPECIAL and CHOSEN kids, but no, this was equally as intriguing.

Overall, I loved this new perspective on the whole "chosen one" trope, and I'm really looking forward to reading Patrick Ness' other books now!
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