The Rest of Us Just Lives Here
by Patrick Ness
Paperback, 345 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Walker Books
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…
If I could use a word to describe this book, it will be quirky.
On one side, this book is no different from a contemporary YA story, where the story focuses on the characters lives and their mundane problem. But on the other hand, it also has that YA fantasy aspect in which fantastical things are happening around them and someone has to save the whole town. The premise of reading from non-chosen one point of view is interesting, but at the same time, it felt jarring to me that shit is happening around them and yet they did no do anything or act impulsively in the name of saving the town. It surely made an interesting reading experience, one I’m still not sure that I liked it or not.
“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.”
The thing I love the most about this book is how sincere the character felt to me. Despite being told from Mikey’s point of view, the close friendship they have felt real because they are so candid and honest with each other. Maybe not always, but you can see that they genuinely love each other. Of course there’s a misunderstanding, they are human! But they are willing to work it out and listen on what the other party have to say, without letting their emotions run high.
Mikey is an interesting character to read. I can totally understand why some people find him insufferable and wrapped in his own world, but he kinda hits home for me. He’s a bag full of worries, yet he’s honest about it and try his best to deal with his problems. I think we’ve all been there, feeling like we are the least wanted in the group without realizing how no one things that, but that mindset eventually makes you pulling away from the friendship. It’s a normal thing to feel at some point, and I’m glad that he has people that he can freely talk about with. He has a really close relationship with his siblings, and the communication between them is great! It’s one of the highlights of the book.
“And yeah, I know most people would think it weird that two guy friends touch as much as we do, but when you choose your family, you get to choose how it is between you, too. This is how we work. I hope you get to choose your family and I hope it means as much to you as mine does to me.”
Jared is also an interesting character, but I don’t think he’s explored enough. He’s loyal to Mike and try his best to have a normal life instead of being an Indie kid, and I also love how tight-knit they are despite their parents being political rivals. My favorite thing about his and Mike friendship, is again, how sincere they are with each other. Boys in YA tend to avoid talking about feelings or things that bother them, their dialogues are filled with witty comebacks and fun ideas. They only become vulnerable with their love interest. Mike and Jared talks about their feelings, their worries, and they ground each other, it’s very beautiful and heartwarming.
Henna was a character I’m not sure initially, as she seems to be playing Mike around. But as I was reading, I realized that Henna has no obligation or whatsoever to Mike: she can be close with Mike as they are best friends, Henna kindness shouldn’t be implied as interest. I think I’ve been reading too many contemporaries that make it seem like the kindness = interest, especially when it comes to friends-to-romance books, it’s surprising to see it as it is. I enjoyed her journey here, sometimes it felt a tad reckless, but she ended up growing and finding herself from the person she was at the start of the book.
On the bad side though, this book never really pulled me in. Yes, I liked it, but it’s not like I’m hooked to it. Even writing this review, 2 weeks later, I already forgot the characters name. I didn’t forget their role and development though, I just forget the names. I feel like they are explored deeply, which is why I remember their development, but they didn’t really interest me which explain why I can’t remember their names. And finally, the fact that there are epic-scale of fiasco happening around our characters while they are doing nothing really gets me crazy 😂 I guess I’m used to reading characters being at the center of the action, it got me dying on what’s happening with the blue light thingy 😂
I almost forgot, but I love how the beginning of each chapter are snippets on what the indie kids are doing. They really are a fun way of mocking tropes commonly found in fantasy, it’s hilarious! 😂 Overall, I wouldn’t say that this is a bad book. I enjoyed the character development and it did make an interesting reading experience, but it didn’t wowed me either due to lack of interest.