A new YA novel from novelist Patrick Ness, author of the Carnegie Medal- and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning A Monster Calls and the critically acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a bold and irreverent novel that powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.
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.
I am giving The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness 4/5 stars.
I first heard about The Rest of Us Just Live Here in a video that booktuber Emmmabooks did a few months back. I wish I could remember which one it was now, but sadly I cannot. I remember she was quite excited to get her hand on an ARC of it at BEA, and I had never read anything by Patrick Ness before, but the idea behind The Rest of US seemed interesting to me, and I usually enjoy most the books Emma gets excited about.
I was excited to start reading it, after I got it, but was worried after the first couple of chapters. I had a hard time getting into the book at first. I’m not sure, if it was me going through a slight reading slump, or if I just couldn’t connect with the story right away. Either way, it took me a good 4-6 chapters until I got into the story. However, once I got into the story I couldn’t put it down. Once I got out of my trouble spot in the book I finished it in a matter of a couple hours. My favorite thing that Ness did with The Rest of Us was that he told two stories that connected together, but one story was done in single paragraphs at the start of each chapter telling what was happening to the indie kids, and the rest of the chapter would be focusing on our main group of characters. Now, do I wish I would have had more details about what was going on with the indie kids? Yes, but when I think about it, that would have been too much going on with one book. I mean with our main set of characters you have them struggling with anxiety, sexuality, and finding themselves on top of trying to figure out what kind of supernatural occurrence is going on.
In terms of the characters, Ness did a brilliant job. The Rest of Us has a wide range of characters in the main cast, all with their own ‘”issue” that they have to face and struggle with, but work so well together. These characters do an awesome job at representing mental health in today’s youth in my opinion. I found myself being able to relate to the characters when I thought back to high school and the people I went to school with. I was to pinpoint real people with the different characters and that to me was what was so great about the characters, well besides the fact that I don’t know anyone who has the ability to talk with cats and heal them.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and the only reason I am not giving it 5/5 stars is just because I struggled with the start of it. I think I am going to try to re-read it again sometime next year, just to see if it was just me being in a slump when I started this book, or if I just don’t like the start of it.
About the Author:
As a child
I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. My father was a drill sergeant in the US Army, but much nicer than that makes him seem. I only stayed at Fort Belvoir for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. We moved to Hawaii, where I lived until I was almost six. I went to kindergarten there, and we used to have field trips down to Waikiki Beach. I once picked up a living sea urchin and got about a hundred needle pricks in the palm of my hand. I made up stories all the time as a kid, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody.
As an adult
I’ve only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel, The Crash of Hennington, when I moved to London in 1999. I’ve lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was.
As an artist
So far, I’ve published two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title which seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later… Here’s a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I’m working on a first draft, all I write is 1000 words a day, which isn’t that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1000 easy). And if I write my 1000 words, I’m done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it’s possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That’s the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.
Things you didn’t know about Patrick Ness
1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. I have run two marathons.
3. I am a certified scuba diver.
4. I wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. I have never been to New York City but…
6. I have been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. I was accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. I was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. I am no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.
Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Book One of the trilogy, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The Ask and The Answer, the second book in the trilogy won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2009. The third book, Monsters of Men, is released in September 2010.
He has also written a novel (The Crash of Hennington) and a short story collection (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) for adults, has taught Creative Writing at Oxford University, and is a literary critic for the Guardian. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.