Book Review – The Rest of Us Just Live Here

by Patrick Ness
Started: 11 August 2016
Finished: 16 August 2016

One of my book highlights in 2015 was More Than This by Patrick Ness, so I have wanted to read another of his books for quite some time. I came across The Rest of Us Just Live Here and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the normal people who are only ever in the background of popular young adult fiction? This novel follows Mikey and his friends, the normal kids who are content with never being the ‘chosen one’. All they want to do is graduate high school, however there’s something going on with the mysterious ‘indie kids’ which threatens that.

I really liked the unique personality of each character. It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to Mikey but once I did I loved and really appreciated his narration. He was very witty and just seemed very down-to-earth. I liked his complexity and how Ness explored his OCD, and as frustrating as it could be I also liked his jealousy. My other favourites in the group were Jared and Mel, especially their interactions with Mikey and the rest of the group. They seemed to complement Mikey well and I enjoyed their character developments too. Out of the group the only character I wasn’t sure about was Henna, however I think this is because her behaviour and speech could be quite jarring against Mikey’s obsession and image of her. Despite this by the end of the novel we really got to know her and so I began o like her more, although I wasn’t left wishing I had seen more of her like I had with Jared and Mel.

Whilst not a lot of huge significant events happened in the plot – unlike what you would expect in ‘typical’ young adult fantasy – there was still a lot of substance to the novel. I was very happy to just read about Mikey’s struggles, whether that be in his friendships, family or his OCD. Although Mikey just getting through the final weeks of high school was the main story, there was also a more fantastical YA sub-plot going on. I would have liked to have seen more of Mikey’s family life as I found them all very interesting, especially after each time we saw them.

A nice feature of the novel were the summaries at the beginning of each chapter for the fantastical YA sub-plot. The summaries will be what the ‘indie kids’ (the ‘chosen ones’) are doing whilst the focus of the chapter is on Mikey and his friends. It was really interesting to see what would be happening if this was a ‘typical’ YA novel. It was also very clear that Ness is poking fun at that, with just a couple of throw away lines he hilariously sums up so many YA books I have read and love. I thought the novel was very interesting and cleverly done.

Overall, I loved the novel and the characters. The ending felt a little rushed, however the important loose ends were tied up and it was still left open-ended enough which gave the characters that extra life of what happens after the novel – which is what Ness did before with More Than This. This was another wonderful novel by Ness and he is quickly becoming a favourite author of mine.

Rating: 4.5/5


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