Review by: Ava S.
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Patrick Ness must be the most underrated author I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. First I read A Monster Calls, which left me crying for hours (in a good way of course because he made the character mean so much to me somehow in so few pages). Now I’ve also read The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Wow.
So much of YA is populated by the cliche “chosen one” trope, where the kinda quirky main character finds out they’re more special than they thought, and it’s now up to them to save the world with their equally quirky best friends! This story isn’t that. It’s for all of us who feel very non special compared to the YA protagonists we all love. Because we can’t all be Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter, or Katniss Everdeen. But we’re all still special in our own way. And our trials, although maybe not as serious as fighting immortal gods or overthrowing an evil government, are important too.
In The Rest of Us Just Live Here, the main character Mikey has a lot to deal with. His anxiety, his dysfunctional family, the pressures of graduating, and on top of it all, he has to find the courage to ask one of his best friends, Henna, to prom before it’s too late. This book tells the story of a normal group of teenagers (well mostly normal, Jared is part God), who deal with normal teenage things; anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, fights with parents. Throughout the book I grew to love and connect to the characters every time they faced a new problem and somehow found the strength to keep fighting. It had all of the heart, and adventure of a classic YA fantasy novel, just without the magic (again for the most part, Jared still is part God).
I also loved how in the background of the main plot encompassing the four protagonists, there was also a typical YA plot happening in the background. In the town they live in there tends to be a whole lot of mystical action (think the Hellmouth from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Throughout the book we get snippets of how the “Chosen One” students are having to deal with it. I loved how cleverly Patrick Ness made a satire out of the “Chosen One” trope, from the chosen one names to the stereotypical oblivious parents!
Even though the world was ending in the same town the four main characters lived, Patrick Ness made a point of emphasizing that Mikey and his problems were important too, and by extension as are the problems of any of the readers. This is a lesson so unique to this book, as were the characters. I can’t wait to read more by Patrick Ness!