“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.
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.
I loved quite a bit of this book, but was left with an overall “meh” feeling by the end. I thought the set-up was pretty brilliant. Think of Buffy and her gang of Scoobies. Now think of all the other kids who weren’t running around staking vampires or chasing demons. The characters in The Rest of Us Just Live Here are the equivalent of all the Sunnydale High students who aren’t part of Buffy’s gang — the kids who just want to graduate, enjoy prom, and chill with their friends, despite all the end-of-the-world shenanigans happening in the world of the chosen, special kids.
Everyone knows the indie kids don’t use the internet — have you noticed? They never do, it’s weird, like it never occurs to them, like it’s still 1985 and there’s only card catalogs — so we can’t find them discussing anything online. The vibe seems to be that it’s totally not our business. Historically, non-indie kids were pretty much left alone by the vampires and the soul-eating ghosts, so maybe they have a point.
The main character and his friends and family are all interesting and quirky, with their own challenges and gifts, and they just kind of notice that in the background of their more immediate crises, the “indie” kids (hilariously named Satchel, Dylan, and Finn, Finn, and Finn — there are lots of Finns) are being chased through the woods by zombie deer and bizarre columns of blue light keep appearing in their town.
“Listen to me,” he says, sounding angry. “We’ve got prom, we’ve got graduation, we’ve got the summer. Then everything changes. Are you going to live all that time until we go afraid?”
“Please don’t.” He’s still weirdly angry. “Not everyone has to the be 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 the 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 Rest of Us Just Live Here shows how all kids (all people, really) are the center of their own worlds, and that even if you’re not the one who saves the world, your problems and issues matter too. There are some really nice elements about loyalty, friendship, and protecting the people you love, but somehow, the book didn’t really come together for me or deliver on its early promise. The writing is clever, funny, and touching, but the end left me feeling a bit unsatisfied.
Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Young adult fiction