The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: October 6th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantast, Contemporary, Mental Health. 

Goodreads Synopsis

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

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.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable. “


“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.” 
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is another amazing novel by my favourite author Patrick Ness. I was very different from I expected, but this time, it’s a good thing. 

The story follows the narrator called Mikey, his friends, and his family during the last few months before graduation. This time the story isn’t about the Harry Potter’s, or the Katniss Everdeen’s of the world, but it’s about the ordinary people. The people like you and me. (Or, if you are a chosen one, then good luck to you.)

Mikey lives in a small town where every generation something freaky happens, like the rise of the vampires, or a zombie-attack. The people who have to save the town (and the world) from disaster are called the indie kids. You know, those kids with names like Finn who always wear flannel and never use the internet. The indie kids are a tight group, so they never involve anyone else in their mission. The other people, well, they just live there (see what I did there?). Think of them as the extra’s you always see walking around in the background of your favorite TV-show. They’re like those random kids at Hogwarts who have no idea what is going on and who are just trying to study for their O.W.L.S. This book is about those people, who live their lives while something huge is happening. Sometimes, just living your life is hard enough.

“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.” 

In the book we follow a group of four friends who all deal with their own things. Mikey, our narrator, deals with OCD and an anxiety disorder. His sister is a recovering anorexic, his best friend is gay and his crush is forced to go to Central-Africa with her missionary parents while a war is happening there. 

We also follow the story of the indie kids, through the eyes of Mikey and his friends or through the 4 scenteces at the start of each chapter. For example, this is how the first chapter begins;

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.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here deals with mental health in an excellent way. Like I mentioned before, Mikey deals with OCD. The upcoming graduation, and the fact that everything is changing, has made his OCD worse. He get’s stuck in loops often, where he washes his hands so often that they bleed because he feels like he hasn’t washed his hands ‘the right way’. It’s very touching to see how his friends deal with this, escpecially his best friend, who often gets him out of these loops.

In one chapter we follow Mikey during his therapy session, and I have to admit that I cried a lot while reading this. I’m going to quote a bit of what his therapist said to Mikey here;

“Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for it’s consequences, you’re responsible for treating it. But Michael, you’re not responsible for causing it. You’re not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumour.” 

The way Patrick Ness describes OCD is so real and heart-wrenching, and it makes you understand what the person is going through. What I find especially important in this novel is that the mental health issues they deal with aren’t seen as a big scary monster that consumed the whole person. The issues are awful, yes, but the issues are just issues. They do not define who the characters are.

I’ve heard people say that they find this book boring because ‘nothing really happens’. I can see why they think that, because all of the ‘real action’ happens off-screen, in the indie-kids story. However, I personally think the book didn’t need any action. It’s a beautiful story about friendship, family and mental health, and that is enough. To me, it was not only enough, it was perfect.


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