The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness / My rating: ★★★★☆
One sentence summary: Mikey and his friends are nothing special, they’re not the chosen ones, not the heroes- they’re just the side characters trying to live their lives while the action goes on around them.
They’ve always got some story going on that they’re heroes of. The rest of us just have to live here, hovering around the edges, left out of it all, for the most part.
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Fantasy
Plot: 1) I’ve never read a Patrick Ness book before. 2) I understand he is the author of A Monster Calls, which I know to be a well-loved book. 3) I saw a lot of disappointed reviews for this book by readers who love Ness’s work that set my expectations extremely low. 4) Perhaps it is because I’ve never read A Monster Calls, or any of Ness’s work, and because my expectations were set so low, that I ended up really enjoying this book. 5) I do think this is a book that could have been done a lot better.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is basically about the side characters, the normal people living their normal lives while the heroes fight the bad guys. The plot was good, it was interesting, but I think the whole thing could have been given more life. I didn’t lose interest, but I can easily understand how someone could. Mostly, for this concept to have been done better, I think the story could have done with a lot more detail, because it lingered more on the conceptual side, where I could see exactly what the author was trying to do with this idea rather than really pulling me into a story. I did find it original- it just pains me that it could so easily have been more original, and perhaps a bit less depressing. Despite these things, I did enjoy it a lot, though more for the characters than the plot. It was an easy and relatively light read, and a fun idea to read about.
Characters: The main reason I gave this book four stars was because I love the main character, Mikey. I just loved him. He was very average and annoying at times, but he was just very good, and he always tried, and I loved his progression with his OCD throughout the novel. I loved his relationships wit his sister, Mel, and best friend, Jared. These two relationships are probably what held this book together for me. They were so loving, good and kind and they warmed my heart. I loved how these characters were good people, rather than the “jerky side characters resentful of not being heroes” route that could have been taken. I did find the romance between some of the characters to be kind of blah, but I loved the friendships.
Writing: The writing was good. Not amazing or fantastic or beautiful, but just good. Simple. I enjoyed how at the beginning of every chapter you get a very brief overview of what the heroes are up to, and then return to Mikey’s story on the sidelines. It was good.
Was I satisfied? While I think the idea of this book could have been stretched further, I do feel quite satisfied with it. It’s easy for me to dig at it, but I liked this book a lot anyway. It could have been done with a bit more life, but I felt a lot of heart in it.