Friday, 16 September 2016

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live HereWhat 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.

My first Patrick Ness and I'm glad I started with this one, it was funny, satirical, witty and so clever. It was also really weird, with its indie kids and zombie deer and creepy blue lights. 

Ness gave a fresh take on the standard heroic science-fiction, where we see the impact on those around the action, people like Mikey. Mikey and his friends have ordinary lives and ordinary problems, like graduating high school and big unrequited crushes, which is a hell of a lot more recognisable some kid named Satchel falling in love with an elf or whatever they were supposed to be. 

Never mind all the indie kids' drama, at its heart was a story about growing up and moving on, as Mikey's anxiety over graduating and leaving for college is a common and very relatable issue. Speaking of, Ness gave a brilliant portrayal of mental health, with Mikey's OCD and anxiety, his sister Mel's battle with anorexia - mixed in with the parental problems that comes with an alcoholic dad and an absent, career-driven mum, it's no wonder the kids have issues but it was all about dealing with them, not making excuses and treating it as an illness, not a problem. 

All in all, I was very impressed with my first Ness story. It cleverly blended the stereotypical drama of science fiction with the everyday issues to normal life to bring together an enjoyable and relatable story with brilliant characters. 

Published 5th May 2016 by Walker Books.

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