The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness- Review
Not everyone gets the privilege of being the “chosen one,” or one of the “chosen ones,” sidekicks. There are people who are just trying to live their semi-normal lives in these towns or worlds. They also have stories of their own, which is what The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is about. It is not a story set from the hero’s POV. It is about all those people who surround them and how they are trying to live their own lives.
Mikey is our main protagonist. Mikey is just a normal teenager who is trying to get through to graduation. He wants to ask out a girl he has had a crush on for a while. He wants his family to fix their own problems and he wants to hang out with his friends before they all move onto the next stage of their lives. Unfortunately he lives in a town where strange things are constantly happening. These events affect him slightly but nothing major.
I was intrigued by the concept of this story. I have read numerous books about the “chosen one.” I know how their story usually goes. I know how to see life from their POV. I liked the idea of getting to see how everyone else views these events and how they are trying to keep their lives as normal as possible. I was expecting to read about a group of friends trying to keep themselves safe while also living lives that mean something to them. What I got was more of a meandering through Mikey’s life. It was almost like we just followed him around for a while. Not much actually happened.
In the book each chapter starts with a small paragraph about what is going on with the “chosen ones.” We get to have some context of the two versions of life in this town. Unfortunately I found myself more interested in what was happening with those kids then with Mikey and his friends.
None of the characters felt very alive to me. They were all surface level. We didn’t dive too far into anyone or any part of their lives. There is a sort of tagline on the front of the book that says: “Sometimes you have to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.” The problem was I never found that in any of the characters. They all remained pretty ordinary and nothing really pulled them out into the spotlight for me.
Even Jared who could communicate with cats was not developed very far. I wanted to find myself enthralled by these people. I wanted them to jump out and show that you don’t need powers or destinies to have an amazing life. What I got was what I would assume of the side people in these stories. Just people living their lives and surviving. This very well may have been the intent of the story but I found myself getting a bit bored at parts.
I will say that I thought the way OCD/anxiety and anorexia were handled in the story was very well done. They are not the main issues the characters dealt with but they are mentioned and I thought they were represented well. There was one chapter which was Mikey having a conversation with his therapist that felt very real and poignant to me.
In the end I wanted more from this book than I got. I wanted a story of adventure from the more ordinary person’s POV. I wanted to be given characters who shined despite not living in a world where they were meant to shine. I may have gotten my expectations too high; it was a fun book just not what I was hoping for.