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The Rest of Us Just Live Here Paperback – September 27, 2016
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“Fresh, funny, and full of heart: not to be missed.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Ness’ deadpan sci-fi novel pokes fun at far-fetched futuristic fantasies while emphasizing the important victories of merely living. This memorable, moving, and often hilarious read is sure to be a hit.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Fans of madcap humor and satire and those seeking more thought-provoking alternatives to the usual fare will appreciate this unique and clever take on a familiar trope.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Clever and laugh-out-loud funny, the supernatural side notes add tension and humor to the story. This is highly recommended for libraries serving young adults.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review))
“The result is a cleverly metafictive, occasionally humorous, occasionally poignant love letter to the kids most likely to get sorted into Hufflepuff or who might occasionally date one of the Scooby gang, but whose real heroism lies in living their daily lives bravely and compassionately.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
“This clever sendup of traditional fantasy fare doesn’t have nearly the body count as Ness’s award-winning Chaos Walking trilogy, but it does have all of the heart, and then some.” (Shelf Awareness)
“In this often-hilarious (and just as often poignant) parody of fantasy stories from Harry’s to Buffy’s, not everyone is a Chosen One, but “everyone’s got something”; everybody matters.” (Horn Book Magazine)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is the antidote to all things formulaic: it’s meta, playful, wise and true--and clever-as-hell. (emily m. danforth, author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
Magical, mysterious and breathtakingly suspenseful, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an absolute marvel of imagination, invention, and heart. I truly couldn’t put it down -- proof, once again, that Ness never disappoints. (Michael Cart, author of My Father’s Scar)
“Hilarious! And so, so clever. All the characters are beautifully drawn. This is one smart, warm book, both entertaining and thought-provoking.” (Monica Edinger)
About the Author
Patrick Ness is the author of ten novels, including his New York Times bestselling The Rest of Us Just Live Here, the Chaos Walking trilogy, More Than This, A Monster Calls, which was made into a major motion picture with a screenplay adaptation by Patrick himself, Release, and And The Ocean Was Our Sky. Born in Virginia, Patrick lives in London. www.patrickness.com
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But most importantly, this story is about a boy with OCD, a girl with an eating disorder, and has both racial and LGBTQIA+ representation. Friends of mine who also have similar anxiety to mine insisted that I read this book ASAP because of the discussions that take place and I’m so glad they did. From start to finish, the OCD rep is just so incredible.
Mikey (I sort of cringe at this name because of those old cereal commercials) has severe anxiety/OCD–he gets into obsessive loops where if he doesn’t do a task exactly “right” something horrible will happen. Life becomes catastrophic inside those loops, getting worse and worse, and he becomes stuck.
Even though this is sort of a parody of YA fantasy, Ness does a wonderful job of blending his “Indie Kid” parallel with Mikey’s. The build up to the climax is so subtle that you hardly know it is coming–I sort of skimmed the chapter headings, but I thought they detracted from the actual story line, so I mostly just followed it through the main book.
I loved that Ness gives Mikey such a strong support system–his chosen family–instead of using the “hero comes to save him from his anxiety” trope. There’s a lot of talk about how one of his fears is that he is the least needed person, or no one would miss him if he were gone–I feel that SO HARD. And even though Mikey acknowledges at one point that he KNOWS he is lucky to have so many people who love him, to someone with anxiety, it’s so hard to convince ourselves that this is reality most of the time.
I could go on and on about everything that was amazing about the anxiety/OCD rep in this story. I want to quote the entire psychiatrist appointment to you. But, then you wouldn’t have to read the book, and I really think you probably should go read it. It’s going on my MUST READS list for sure, guys. So, yeah. Do it.
Meanwhile Satchel – the Katniss Everdeen of this particular Chosen Ones episode – must defeat the Messenger of the Immortals and close the Immortal Crux to save the world. But the Messenger is more powerful than Satchel and indie kids are literally dying to rescue her. An epic battle unfolds one short paragraph at a time at the beginning of each chapter.
So, as if they didn’t have enough to deal with, the so-called normal kids have to put up with herds of zombie deer and cops with blue lights for eyes. And through all the weirdness, the explosions, and the disappearing indie kids, the adults just shake their heads and blame suicide and ruptured gas mains, like the Chosen Ones aren’t even real and the world isn’t constantly on the brink of disaster. Awkward ordinary teens collide with fumbling newbie superheroes in this parody of two genres. “The Rest of Us Just Live Here” is a hilarious comedy with heart and soul – and superheroes. So much fun you’ll read it twice.
Even if there wasn't this whole Chosen One satire in it, this book would still be very much worth the read to me. Maybe I'm a fan of contemporary more than I would like to admit but I think the growth of the characters this book focuses on is just great. I love watching characters develop into stronger versions of themselves and each person learned, made mistakes and grew.
One of the main reasons this book got to me is because of the family aspect. In typical fantasy novels there is either no family or the family is against each other and dividing. This family is strong and mending. They try their best to lift each other up in the best way they know how and I appreciate that to my core.
This wasn't an action packed read, and it didn't need to be. It was very meaningful all on its own. It was heartfealt all on its own. It was sweet all on its own.
Because of the first half being mostly set up to the peak of this novel, I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did. After the first half, things got rolling and I was engrossed by what was happening.
I still think that this is a fun neutralizing novel for having between heavier reads but it stands as a good read separately as well.