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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Review: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness

Do you ever wonder what happened to the people who aren't the Chosen Ones? Students at Hogwarts, Forks High School, the rest of the districts in the Hunger Games?

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here, does exactly that. It's a YA novel with an element of the supernatural, but focuses on the ones who aren't risking their lives to save the world. They're doing everything they can just to live.

Mikey and his friends are those in question. The novel begins with them doing what a typical high school senior is doing - trying to make it to graduation - when the world starts to fall apart around them - again. One of the so-called indie kids runs out of the forest chased by someone who is actually glowing. While curious, Mikey and his friends aren't immediately caught up in it so they go back to their own issues.

And there are a fair few, most particularly Mikey and his sister, Mel. Mel is recovering from a severe eating disorder and Mikey suffers with severe anxiety and OCD, relating to his sister's severe illness. And both of them are fiercely protective of their younger sister, Meredith, particularly against their alcoholic father and politically ambitious mother.

There's the other normal high school stuff, too, like who likes who, what's everyone doing for prom, trying to get through finals, etc, authentically written with warmth and humour.

One of the most interesting things was the structure of the book - each chapter starts with the supernatural story, yet it's very much in the background. We're made aware of its happening but it's definitely not the most important thing to our characters.

If you're a YA fan and wanting both a dose of the ordinary and extraordinary, then this is the book for you. Well-written with almost two stories running concurrently; complex characters; a balance of humour and depth (particularly with the mental health themes); The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a novel that will stay with you long after you've read the last page. 

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