It feels like it has been ages since I have written a book review! I have got quite a few lines up over the next two weeks and I am trying to slowly increase my reading as it is nearly halfway through the year.
I was drawn to this book because of the description and I really liked the idea behind the book-focusing on the other characters, the background characters in your typical YA fantasy story. I was a little let down by the characters and the story as a whole, and to me, it felt more like a contemporary YA book for younger readers.
Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Date published: August 27th 2015
Page Count: 352
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…
Overall, while I liked the idea behind the book, I was a little disappointed in the story and the characters – and I really wanted to love this book. I think I came into the book expecting a light hearted fantasy book that focuses on the ‘supporting characters’ of the typical YA fantasy story, and the story had a more contemporary feeling and a ‘younger’ writing style.
I will start with the things I liked about the book as it was a pretty good 3 star book. I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters which allowed a whole range of issues to be raised and explored throughout the book. The ‘main character ‘trio’ comprises of Mikey, the main character, who seems like a typical teenager but has some underlying mental health issues; his sister Mel, who is smart and confident but has an eating disorder; and Mikey’s best friend Jared who looks like a stereotypical high school jock , but is one quarter God and gay.
There was also a perfectly written scene between Mikey and his therapist regarding his anxiety and his mental health in general. It was a solid 5 or 6 pages of dialogue between them, exploring why Mikey feels so anxious and unwanted by his friends and family. The way this scene, and the book as a whole, explores and addresses some aspects of mental health is so refreshing and one of the best instances in a book I have read to date.
Ok, so now onto the things I did not like so much about the book. First, I think it is a more of a ‘younger’ YA book then I thought and then I normally read. The writing and the story was too simple for me to really get into and enjoy, and I find I no longer relate to characters in High School and a High School setting anymore. The story overall lacked excitement and did not have any major climaxes. I found myself getting more interested in the little prefaces before each chapter detailing what is happening in the ‘indie kids’ storyline (the typical YA main characters storyline that normally involves banishing the undead, uncovering a conspiracy, or defeating the dark lord.) While this is in essence the main point of the book, to focus on the other storylines that are not as exciting or outlandish as the ‘indie kids’, which I totally understand, I at least wanted either more character development or more excitement in Mikey’s story.
This book is a solid three star book-enjoyable to read but lacking something that makes it either a great book or a fantastic book. While I really liked the idea behind the plot and the characters, I felt it really did not reach its potential and it could have played on the fact they are following the storyline of the ‘minor’ characters in a typical YA book.