I said that I would read all of Patrick Ness’ books this year, and, here I am. This might not be the most popular of Ness’ books, but it is the first one that caught my eye more than a year ago, on Goodreads. I finally buddy-read this with the amazing Kat @ Life and Other Disasters, and I’m so happy. Because it was my first buddy-read, and it was so much, fun, but because, well this was a REALLY good book, too. Dear Patrick, if you didn’t blew me away as you did with More than this, you certainly convinced me that I should read ALL of your books right now.
A LITTLE FANTASY IN A NORMAL WORLD.
“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.”
From the first page, you’ll probably ask yourself: WHAT exactly am I reading? Stuck between a fantasy world with Immortals and some kind of crazy adventure, and, well, the real world, where people just like you and me try and live their lives and survive high school, The Rest Of Us Just Live Here starts, WEIRDLY. There’s one thing you need to understand before trying to read this book: there are two different worlds. The indie kids’ world: they are the heroes of every fantasy book, fighting world domination and dragons, or, here, immortals…and then there’s well, the rest of us. You, me, and everyone else. Mostly focused on this second world, we however get a glimpse of the fantasy world, too, at the start of every chapter, in a little summary that will make you laugh because of its weirdness and craziness. I have to say, I LOVED that dualty, it was great and entertaining, even if I have to say the indie kids’ point of view did lack some substance and felt rushed and scattered, at times. But I guess that was the point?! I have NEVER read a book like this, where two very different world collide. And it was so good to read that. To see that, despite their stories being very different, the fantastic elements had an impact on everyday lives. Just an impact, though. And now, for me, that’s what makes this book so different from anything I’ve read before.
JUST A BUNCH OF NORMAL, YET INCREDIBLE KIDS.
“We share out craziness, our neuroses, our little bit of screwed-up-ness that comes from our family. We share it. And it feels like love.”
Sometimes, you feel like you NEED to read about strong characters. Especially in the fantasy genre, having a strong main character is a must. Sometimes, in contemporary, we can find an incredibly strong main character, and sometimes, not so much. Dear writers, a character does not need to be strong to feel real. Patrick Ness perfectly understood that, and, actually, I think that’s what he plays with in this story, by choosing to talk about THE REST OF US. We’re not saving the world. Our main character, Mikey, is just INCREDIBLY real. He has OCD, and he thinks that he’s totally replaceable. He has flaws, plenty of them, yet he’s one of the most real character I have ever read about. His way of thinking, of talking – or keeping things to himself were just wonderfully REAL, I feel like it was a real person actually talking to me, the whole time. The same goes for each and every character in this story. Mel, Meredith, Henna, Jared…they ALL had their own backstory and their own little quircks, that was SO well done, I loved it. Hats off for diversity there, too: between family issues, eating disorders, mental illness, we get to dig deeper at every characters’ issues. Seeing that, behind all the fantasy, there were real life problems, too, was fantastic. The family was there, too, and they were sometimes THE MOST ANNOYING, especially the mother. I can’t tell you how angry I was with her for about three-quarter of the book. But she was there, and the dad, too. They made decisions that affected their kids, and they just weren’t background noise.
THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT PEOPLE.
“I hope you get to choose your family and I hope it means as much to you as mine does to me.”
The characters, the story, the issues, the relationships between the characters, felt achingly real to me. And this is mostly what this book is about. It’s about PEOPLE. There’s no big world-building, and time-changing event that’s taking away the show from these people. The spotlight is on them ALL the time. We get to know them, to experience their life stories, to get mad at them, get scared, wonder, sometimes we want to shake the book in frustration because of some people or some decisions or even some sentences, just like we’d want to shake a person in real life because CAN YOU JUST TALK instead of trying to gain time?! I could completely relate to everything in that book, and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Patrick Ness’s writing is on point: witty, dialogue flowing and perfect lines you’ll want to remember for later. BUT…there’s a but. I have to say, I found that something was missing for this to be the perfect book. Maybe a little bit of more fast-paced events, something big happening. But I get why this doesn’t happen. This is not a fantasy story, this is not a story about saving the world. It’s a story about living your life, and knowing how to do so. It’s supposed to feel real. And it felt real, all along.
Patrick Ness is one of these authors you can’t NOT know about. Except if you’re totally oblivious to young adult books lately, or simply, books. Once again, for my second experience reading his stories, I got caught in his words, I fell in love with his characters, and everything felt SO real. If I wanted more, at the end, maybe it’s because I just wanted to read MORE of Patrick Ness’ books, RIGHT NOW.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read The Rest of Us Just Live Here? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?! Do you want to read it? Okay, important question: Am I finally going to read TKONLG now?! Feel free to share your thoughts in comments! 💬
Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Published by Walker Books, August 27th 2015.
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.
Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.