The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness

Something is going down in a little rural suburb. The "indie kids" are all over it, saving the world for the umpteenth time in their special snowflaky way; meanwhile, the regular kids are just trying to stay out of the crossfire and muddle through everyday life -- with the added anxiety of hoping the high school doesn't blow up again before graduation.

 

I love the premise of telling the story from the perspective of the non-chosen ones, but I felt like the execution was a little off. This is more a coming-of-age story than anything else, with character development driving the plot. And in order to drive the character development, the narrator and his family and friends have such a wide variety of issues that it almost feels farcical. They're all indie kids in their own right, fighting battles against anxiety disorders, eating disorders, alcoholic dads, career-obsessed moms, unrequited love, and so on (and that's all in one family). I appreciate all the diversity, but at the same time it's a bit much when taken all together. I mean, we've got our share of problems over here in my corner of the planet, but the universe must just hate these characters. I think fewer issues covered in more depth would have made it a bit more meaningful.

 

This is a book that somehow manages to be good while feeling like a missed opportunity, and it's for the good bits that I would absolutely recommend it to others. The personal struggles feel very real, the regularly scheduled apocalypses add an interesting flavor, and the summaries of indie kid activity at the start of each chapter are hilarious. I will definitely be reading more Patrick Ness. And I will definitely not be naming any child of mine Finn or Satchel.