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.
My birthday was in November and I got a few gift cards to Barnes and Noble, which means I got a nice amount of new books! Now, I have zero self-control when it comes to book shopping. I wanted to try to only spend the gift cards but that didn’t happen. I just get absorbed into the shelves and find myself with a pile of books in my arms before too long. Here are the books I will be adding to my shelves.
Vicious – V.E. Schwab – This is the one I am currently reading. I have read V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series and loved it. I also loved This Savage Song. I’ve heard great things about her first book and I was eager to get my hands on it. I am about 3/4 of the way through it and I am loving it! I will have a review up once I finish it.
The Magicians – Lev Grossman – I know this series just became a tv series but I had heard about it in passing before that. This is just one that I see on recommendation lists periodically and I have always been slightly intrigued. I may start reading this after Christmas because it is part of a series and I need to stall my spending until after my bank account recovered from Christmas and if I like the first book in a series I have to continue with the series. I can’t just read the first book and then other books in between. I have to read what I can of a series all at once.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness– This concept of this one intrigued me. It is about all the other characters in the adventure stories that aren’t the “Chosen One.” It seems interesting and a fun read.
Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine – I have no idea where I first heard of this one but the story concept grabbed me right away. It is about a time when The Great Library of Alexandria is still around. It controls all knowledge and the owning of books is illegal (one of my nightmares). It is about a boy trying to take this organization down. I love the idea but it is another one that is part of a series so that may end up on the back of my reading list until after Christmas.
We Are the Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson – This is another one that I can’t quite remember where I heard about it. It is about a boy who is given the chance to either destroy the planet or save it. It is up to him to determine if the world and his life are worth saving. I thought it sounded like one that will make me think as I read it. I love books that make me question and put me in moral dilemmas so this should be an interesting read.
The View from the Cheap Seats – Selected Nonfiction – Neil Gaiman – This one my mom actually found while we were wandering around the bookstore. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and this book has a number of his essays on a range of topics. This is the only nonfiction book I bought but I am hoping it gives me some inspiration or at least lets me learn more about one of my favorite authors.
Genius: The Game – Leopoldo Gout – This one I saw on the shelf and was instantly attracted to it. The cover pulled me in. It has a pretty simple summary, a number of geniuses are brought together to play a game that will have world wide effects. I like the idea of a mind game. Not sure what to expect from this one but I am excited to read it.
So these are some of my new books. Have you read any of these? If so what do you think of them? Have you bought any new books recently?