All About Books

Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness


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 worshiped by mountain lions.

My thoughts

You know what’s the sign of a great book? When you start book after book, but can’t get into any of them and put every single one of them aside after only a few pages. And then you pick up THE book and you’re hooked right from the start, can’t stop reading and read the whole night through. That’s what happened with me and The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

It’s been nearly two whole years since the last book by Patrick Ness came out and I couldn’t have been more excited to finally read a new book by him again. I was actually SO excited that I ended up being slightly disappointed, even though I should have known better. Even though I nearly read it in one sitting. I just didn’t feel completely blown away like I usually feel with his books.
This is not to say that this book isn’t good. It’s fantastic, unique and Patrick Ness did an amazing job with this story. It just wasn’t exactly my kind of story or at least not what I have been in the mood for lately.

You can always count on Ness to come up with something completely new, something extraordinary. The concept of this book is freaking fantastic and the realization even more so. This is basically your typical YA paranormal book, with vampires, zombies, ghosts and whatnot BUT you read it from the perspective of teens who don’t have anything to do with all that stuff. You read about the real heroes, the kids with real problems, who deal with things like an eating disorder (this makes the book basically a contemporary which was the reason why I didn’t LOVE it). He includes so many important topics and writes about them in the most perfect way. He doesn’t turn their problems into clichés, doesn’t sugar-coat them but portrays them the way it actually is in real life. This might be the first time ever that I’ve read a book where a teen actually likes their therapist and believes that the therapist can help.

“Kooky Alzheimer’s in movies really pisses me off. […] Real Alzheimer’s is nothing like that. Nothing.”

The most funny part of this novel is that you still get glimpses into the life of “the chosen ones” and those small parts made me laugh out loud every single time. Not only had I always a specific book in mind when some paranormal creature was mentioned, but I also loved how he made fun of quite a few YA clichés. It’s just the way he writes about the chosen ones that made me crack up. It makes their problems look so ridiculous compared to what the “normal” kids have to deal with.

“Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for its consequences, you’re responsible for treating it. But you’re not responsible for causing it. You’re not morally at fault for it. No more than you would for a tumor.”

As awesome as all this was and as much I loved this book for being about everyday problems like anxiety, there was still something missing. I liked the characters a lot, I could relate to them on a level, but somehow I wasn’t 100% into it. When I pick up a Ness book I expect to get hit by feels and even though I went into this one, knowing it wouldn’t be like his Chaos Walking series or More Than This, I just wanted a little more. I wanted to feel more.

And then there was the ending, when it finally happened: the feels poured in. It reminded me of my own time at the end of the last school year, made me think back to that time and then it finally hit me and I knew how these characters must feel right in that moment. It still wasn’t the kind of feels that usually come with a Ness book, but at least there were some.

Even though I wasn’t completely satisfied, this is still a book that I’ll push on people all the time and reread myself. It’s still a book I’ll recommend remorselessly, just like his other books. Just because it’s my least favorite Patrick Ness book so far, doesn’t mean it isn’t brilliant, because IT IS!

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  • Awesome review! I am so happy this one got you out of a slump. I really can’t wait to read this one.

  • Glad this helped you with your slump! I’ve been in one myself of late and it’s never pleasant. Always a great feeling when you finally find a book that grabs your attention! I’ve never read a Patrick Ness book, but I plan to change that in a week! This sounds like my kind of book, especially since I love contemporary. I’ve only heard fabulous things and can’t wait to get to it! Glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t your favourite book by Ness. Great review!

  • Holy Moly! :D
    This review is like an declaration of love ♥ But I know exactly how you feel. It’s great to finally find THE book after a barren spell. I love Ness’ novels and after reading your review I’m looking forward to read THIS one.

    Have a great day! ♥

  • You nailed it with your review Crini! I totally wanted more details about the Chosen Ones lol. Ness definitely added an interesting twist to this one, but I totally agree – I’ve read More Than This which was a brilliant 5 star read for me, but this one I gave 3 stars. Lovely review!

  • YAAAAY for this book! I wasn’t completely blown away by this one, but I seriously loved every minute of reading it. I loved the writing style, because it was just so engaging and glorious even though it was quite simple. and the premise was out of this world amazing. A book about a paranormal world but not about paranormal things? How did he even come up with that? (Why didn’t *I* come up with that?)

    The ending was definitely where a lot of the feels came in, because it was so similar to experiences that I’ve had, and it was almost nostalgic to read about.

    I actually cared a lot about Mikey, but not so much about anyone else. I really wanted Mikey to be happy, though.


  • Interesting, I’ve only heard of his Chaos Walking series, I didn’t know he wrote stuff like this that is more contemporary. Will definitely check it out!

Aug 20, 2015