The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

“I wonder what was going on last night. With the lights.”

She shrugs. “Probably some apocalypse.”

the problem with writing a book like More Than This is that you then have to write a book after More Than This.

and i was a little apprehensive about this one. my copy has this cover:

which makes it look almost like a middle grade book, and i was concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the mind-shattering acrobatic metafiction that was More Than This.

and it doesn’t. nothing ever will.
but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great book all on its own.

this book plays with the literary convention of the “chosen one,” – those who are set apart from their peers and tasked with a responsibility no less than that of saving the world. and they wrestle with this burden and forgo having a normal adolescent life because they are the only ones who can do what needs to be done and they fight evil and deputize their friends in the struggle and still manage to pass their math tests.

this book is not about the chosen ones.
this book is about the blurry kids in the background of the wide-angle shots – the ones who are just hurrying to class.

it’s about these people:

 photo buffy_graduation_day_zpsbz5vict1.jpg

they attend the same school as the chosen ones, and they witness the horrors that seem to follow “the indie kids*” around, but they are uninvolved in their exploits, in their occasional demises. on the sidelines, all they can do is remark is that “They better not blow up the high school again.”

the trials of the indie kids open each chapter, with a brief synopsis of what is going on in their struggle while the book itself is primarily concerned with bringing the blurry kids into the spotlight to show that, yeah, there’s a portal of doom opening in the gymnasium, but other things are happening in what would ordinarily be the background, and those struggles are every bit as challenging as the ones centered around the portal. people have eating disorders, OCD, distant or absent parents, unrequited love, car accidents. and these things matter.

“Not everyone has to be the 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.”

it’s a great blend of fantasy and contemporary fiction, as the separate storylines overlap and commingle: jealousy and zombie deer, the alzheimer’s of a beloved grandmother and strange blue glows, bickering and bombs, prom and portals. there’s a little cheating, since one of the “normal” kids is also a descendant of the goddess of cats and has a couple of powers of his own, but for the most part, the problems are familiar ones, and they are dealt with in mortal ways.

being a long-time lover of cheesy teen horror movies, and having finally caved last year and watched buffy, there were plenty of nods, references, and allusions to the chosen one genre that i really appreciated, but i appreciated even more ness’ little reversals.

“Now you’re sure we’re not going to be ritualistically murdered?…Prom night. Group of diverse teens. Remote cabin…”

…”That’s not the story that’s happening,” Mel says to him. “We’re not the kind of people that story happens to.”

it’s a fun, clever book, and while it’s no More Than This, it’s way more than it appears.


* a rare unfortunate decision on ness’ part, IMHO.


well, he hasn’t failed me yet.

and the God of mountain lions???

even if that’s just a figure of speech, i’m sold.

read my reviews on goodreads

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