Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Publication Date: August 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 worshipped by mountain lions.
I founds this novel to be not only real, but quite funny too. It’s a play on all of the typical tropes that we see in YA Novels lately: vampire romance, zombie apocalypse, invasion of the gods. But the characters don’t seem too concerned with this. They’re the characters who are never part of the action in most YA stories. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is the story of the forgotten ones. They’re a little afraid, but they know that as per usual, the Indie kids will take care of it. On the other hand, they deal with very real issues like their sexuality, mental illness, and death. The irony of the teenage tropes creates a wonderful juxtaposition between the serious and the funny. It creates a more light hearted in-between so you’re not sure if the novel is entirely serious or entirely satirical. It’s great.
I really like Mike, the protagonist. He suffers from anxiety and OCD and is learning how to be a good friend even as he faces his own struggles. He and his group of friends face the ups and downs of friendship and romance, often escalated by the danger of the strange situation unfolding around them. I think the novel could have spent a lot more time on his understanding of his mental illness and the way that his friends understand and help him out. As well, there are other characters navigating things like their sexuality, or facing the unknown world after graduation, topics that weren’t as flushed out as I would have liked to see. With a little extra length, this story really could have had full and vibrant characters, but this book is already on its way there.
It’s cheesy, it’s fun, but it’s real at the same time. I really enjoyed it!