I have this problem with Patrick Ness’s novels in that I love them so much it renders me pretty much unable to do anything but cry and harass people to read them. So, um, can you all go out and buy his books and then read them and then get back to me with how he has destroyed your life, thanks. Much appreciated, it’ll be so nice to have company down in the pit.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here takes place in a small American town that experiences an ~unusual amount of extraordinary events. Mikey, the main character, and his friends are very much ordinary teenagers; they live their lives on the borders of these occurrences. Honestly, this book is kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer if the show had been told from the POV of the random townspeople who were always kind of aware that Sunnydale had an unusually high death rate but man, there are too many exams and people to fall in love with and groceries to be bought to pay much attention to the girl running around with a piece of wood in the local graveyard. You know what I mean? Patrick Ness brings this brilliant kind of tongue in cheek humour, gently poking fun at the generic YA supernatural story set-up – there is a story within a story in this book. Each chapter opens with a summary, no longer than a paragraph, of the kids dealing with the unusual/terrifying/really bloody weird events in this small town, before going back to Mikey and his friends for the rest of the chapter. It’s brilliant; I laughed out loud at so many points and then would be reduced to tears in the next few lines because Patrick Ness is Out to Get Me.
Mikey broke my heart into tiny little pieces over the course of the novel. He suffers from severe anxiety and OCD and never thinks that he’s needed as much as anyone else and is kind of in love with two of his best friends. I just loved him so much; this wonderful teenage boy with this huge heart and a deep well of sadness. I loved his sister, Mel. I loved her strength, her ability to build herself back up again. I loved their little sister for being so wise and so innocent, I loved Jared for loving Mikey and being amazing with cats because of ~reasons. I even ended up liking Satchel, the hero of the ~traditional story because she was just so endearing, even amongst the weirdness of her life.
I mean, I say this a lot but I really do feel like Patrick Ness exceeds himself with every novel he writes, writing about difficult subjects with sensitivity and passion. I think this might be my favourite novel of his so far? Possibly. It weaves so many different themes, such as being able to make your own choices, of being extraordinary just for living, that platonic love is as equally deep and true as romantic love, that being a hero isn’t just about a strange setting and being Chosen – it means so much more.
Also, to finish this
love letter to Patrick Ness review, some of my favourite lines:
None of us says anything for a minute, then Jared asks, “Was that Finn?”
“Which Finn?” my sister says. “Aren’t all the indie kids called Finn?”
Maybe Nathan will get run over by a bus that I’m not anywhere near.
Best author, best book, go and read it now basically.