Monday, October 5, 2015

ARC Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: October 6, 2015 by HarperTeen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 worshiped 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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have never read any Patrick Ness books. I don't have a good excuse either. His books seem like they would be right up my alley and in fact a lot of them have been in my TB for a while now. And after reading The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I'm kicking myself even more because if the rest of his books are anything like this, I'm in for a real treat because The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a complex and captivating story.

There were some great themes that Patrick Ness addressed here which is one of the reasons this book that made the book both interesting and creative. The general concept is what if you aren't the chosen one. But throughout this book he peeled away the layers of what that meant. At the beginning it was just not being the hero of the story, the one to save the world. But as the book evolved so did that idea of being chosen. It became more about being needed and being loved. It was such an interesting and complex idea. At times the book was so raw in it's portrayal of not being a chosen one but then at other times it was played off as a position you don't really want to be in. I love books that can walk the line between serious and fun. It makes them so much more complex and interesting and that's exactly what Patrick Ness has done here.

One of the things that made the book so complex is that The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a hard to categorize by genre because it's a little bit of everything. It's also a really self-aware kind of book. At the outset the book seems like a parody on YA Paranormal Fantasy. A look at the supporting characters and extras in the genre but as the book develops it becomes so much more. Was it Magical Realism? Kind of. Was it just a straight up Paranormal Fantasy? A little bit. Was it a contemporary story? Sure. You could almost call it a retelling with the way it played with the tropes. But if you want to accurate describe this book it would be all these things at once. There were some magical elements both big and small advancing the plot along yes, but there was also a really great personal coming-of-age story. And you would think that this would make for a muddled kind of plot but it didn't. Things flowed in a cohesive and interesting way. Each chapter included a little blurb telling us how the book would have gone if our MC was the "indie kid" tasked with saving the world and then we got to see how that effected our actual characters. There was so much overlap in the two stories and the plot in general moved towards an exciting conclusion that had surprises and more action than I was expecting.

But things may have flowed so well despite the changes in genre because this was essentially a character-driven story. The real heart of this story was about Mickey and his personal struggle.  No, not the fact that some indie kid is fighting to save the world, his internal struggle as he prepares to leave school and cope with his anxiety. Patrick Ness dealt with Mickey's anxiety and OCD in such an empathetic way. He is the kind of character that you would probably see a lot in contemporary YA but putting him in a story involving supernatural elements added to the complexity and creativeness of the book. You could feel the challenges he was going through and you wanted him to overcome them in any way possible. So as the book develops and he changes and grows you are so invested in that part of the story. But Mickey was such an easy character to root for because despite all of what he was dealing with, he is more than just that struggle. He is also kind and loving and a great friend.

Speaking of his friends, I also really liked them too. Mickey's sister Mel who is in his friend group was dealing and coping with her own personal demons much like Mickey and they had a great relationship and supported each other. His friend and potential love interest Henna was interesting and likable but she didn't really jump off the page for me. Although that may have been because the romance was totally also a parody on typical romantic tropes which I loved. My favorite character was probably Jared who is Mickey's best friend and support system but is also more than meets the eye. He has some great character development and if we get a book from his perspective in the future I would be so very happy. Even Mickey's parents were around and despite the fact that they were not great and attentive parents it was refreshing to see them involved in their children's lives and they had pretty good character development too. With a lot of the characters it felt like Patrick Ness was playing with the traditional character tropes in a way that was both creative and captivating.

I wasn't sure what I was getting into with The Rest of Us Just Live Here but I really enjoyed it. It was a fast but complex story that combined lots of elements from traditional YA novels and played around with the tropes to make a unique and interesting story.

I give The Rest of Us Just Live Here 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. This is just such a unique story that I think fans of YA should check out. It's a little tongue in cheek and a lot complex with characters who are likable and complex and a plot that will have you wondering what is going to happen until the very end. It might not be the kind of book for everyone but if you are looking for something a little different then look no further.

Have you read The Rest of Us Just Live Here? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I haven't read any Patrick Ness either, but I definitely think I am going to check this one out! I heard about it the other day, and it's definitely intriguing. Great review!

    Kristen @ One Chapter Ahead

    1. It's very intriguing and unique which is what I hear about Patrick Ness. It makes me want to read more of his books.

  2. I have about 30 pages left, but I seriously adore this book. It's SO freaking witty and snarky and self-aware, I can't help but want to hug it. If you loved it, I think you'll really enjoy Chaos Walking. It's a more serious, less postmodern story, but it's still darkly funny and Ness plays around with a lot of the expectations we have about sci-fi. Nice review!

    Sarcasm & Lemons

    1. Yes. Witty, snarky, self-aware, fantastic. I've heard really good things about the Chaos Walking trilogy. I love when authors play around with the tropes, especially Sci-Fi tropes. *adds to Goodreads*

  3. My copy has been shipped so I hope it won't take forever to get here! Like you I haven't read any Patrick Ness before and I'm hoping I'll love this one because the reviews I keep on reading make it seem like a book I'd love for sure!
    Great review Cassi!

    1. I think you'll love it Pili. It's a really unique book but with great elements that you know and love. It's serious and funny at the same time. It's great.

  4. You've brought up a lot of points that I didn't even notice throughout the book, and I think that makes this just so much more phenomenal and unique. Especially the parody on the romance trope, and also I feel like if this were to only be contemporary, it wouldn't be as good. But the added touch of paranormal and fantasy elements really gave this novel another layer.

    Awesome review :D

    1. It definitely wouldn't have been as good if it was just contemporary or even just supernatural/fantasy. The two together makes such an interesting contrast and compliment. You're right it makes it so much more unique and phenomenal.