I believe this is my quickest read of the year for books. I basically read it in a day. I was so excited to get it — to finally try a Patrick Ness book — that I gobbled it up.
Genre: YA fantasy
I read this a while ago so here’s what’s posted on 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.
It’s a pretty okay synopsis. If you didn’t get it, this book focuses on the kids who aren’t the chosen ones. They aren’t the ones with crazy magical powers who are selected by the gods or possessed by spirits or taken by vampires or whatever. They are the ones who are living a normal life and are just trying to make it to the next stage in life like most everyone else. That doesn’t mean that their lives are perfect. They have issues to deal with and bothersome parents who often just don’t understand.
However, there is something odd going on in town and though the main characters don’t focus on these weird events, they sometimes disrupt their everyday lives. We readers are told what the “chosen ones” are up to at the beginning of each chapter. Instead of a chapter title, we given a paragraph that briefly says what weird thing has occurred, like this one for the first chapter:
Chapter the First, in which the Messenger of the Immortals arrives in a surprising shape, looking for a permanent Vessel; and after being chased by her through the woods, indie kid Finn meets his final fate.
Can you tell that I’m not as enthusiastic about the story now as I was before reading it? I was excited to read this book because I liked the concept. Still do, but I’m not awed by the story as I thought I would be.
I went into this book with high expectations. Prior to reading it, I heard and read many reviews and thoughts on books that praised Ness’s talent as a writer and storyteller. It made me curious about him. Many advised me to read his A Monster Calls but since hearing about The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I decided to make it the first Ness book I would read. I mean, I’d never before heard of a book that focuses solely on the regular people instead of the ones weird, supernatural stuff happens to so I went with my curiosity.
It’s not that the story is badly written or poorly told. Far from it. It’s so well written that the passages in which the protagonist, Mikey, discusses his battle with obsessive compulsive disorder made me uncomfortable and sympathetic towards him, though I didn’t much like him as a character. Those chapters were touching and made me wonder if the author suffers from OCD as well.
Though well told, I was not a fan of the narrator, Mikey (it’s told in first-person). I couldn’t connect with him. Also, the narration made me think of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which, for me, isn’t good because I didn’t like that book. However, I liked the part where Mikey has a disagreement with his best friend that leads to a rift in their relationship because though they hurl hurtful comments at each other, he sees how much his friend means to him and he to his friend, especially when his OCD is considered.
The story is okay. I didn’t get much out of it which is why this review is so short. There isn’t much I can say. Plus, I read it a while ago so some things have faded from memory.
Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I still recommend the book because it’s well done and a quick read. The concept is unique but all other elements are common ones you’ll often find in other young-adult novels. I’m still curious about Patrick Ness so I’ll have to give the highly recommended A Monster Calls a try.
(Added to the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge.)