The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Genres:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 6th 2015

2 OUT OF 5 STARS

“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.”

Not everyone can be the chosen one. Mike and his friends certainly aren’t, but that doesn’t mean that they can entirely avoid being inconvenienced. All they want to do is get through the rest of the year, attend a normal prom and graduate without the high school blowing up.

The concept for this book is to die for. What if you’re just normal and you have to put up with all of the Chosen One’s crossfire? How did the other students in Hogwarts feel about Harry ending every year with some sort of huge victory? The Chosen One mythos is so well ingrained in pop culture that anyone can think up several dozen stories. However, we almost never get to see what it’s like to live in these world’s as someone not even close to the chosen one. What is it like to see all this happening and not be involved in the slightest?

The book is written so that there is a paragraph opening each chapter about what the Chosen One, Satchel, is up to before continuing the story of our protagonists. This was a fantastic decision as when the two stories slightly cross we know what Satchel is doing to cause this weird or frightening event for our protagonists. It’s great to see an extremely stereotypical, trope filled Chosen One story being told while we follow the rather normal story of some high schoolers about to graduate.

The book also focuses on the mental illnesses of siblings Mikey and Mel. It’s done very carefully, the illnesses clearly well-researched and some of the advice given to Mikey feels like it could touch many struggling readers. It’s nice to see mental illness integrated into a book that isn’t specifically about mental illness and still see it treated seriously.

The cast is diverse,  and the story touches on many serious issues with grace but it just felt like it could have been more. It wasn’t bad really it just felt flat. The romances felt sort of empty, the characters all verged on being boring or annoying. The characters, who should have been easy to relate with because of how “normal” they were, didn’t feel real. This whole book felt let it was written on the surface of a lake too scared to ever dip a toe in deeper. I was underwhelmed and disappointed.

It kills me to end on this note because the idea was so strong, but this story was definitely just as boring and flat as you’d expect one about background characters to be.

BUY THE BOOK

Read this if you’re a fan of: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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