The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness 

Funny story, I have almost bought this book 7 times in the last 12 months! The first time I looked at it was when my husband and I were on holiday last September. I kept picking it up with 2 or 3 other books and then putting it down, for some reason or another.  

I finally bought it because it was actually signed by the author… or so I thought. We had a bit of a potter, went for coffee (and cake, of course!), and compared purchases. I produced The Rest of Us Just Live Here with a flourish, declaring “and it’s signed by the author!”, except it wasn’t.  I’d picked up the one unsigned copy in the pile! I went back and they let me swap it, because I live in Waterstones now. 

This is one of those books where the premise intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure about reading it, in case the execution left a lot to be desired. Like Nod. I hate that book. 

From the blurb:

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.

Mikey is supposedly an ordinary teenager, except for his mum being a bigwig politician and his dad being a raging alcoholic. He has 2 sisters – Meredith a precocious ten year old with her own credit card, and Mel, who is recovering from an eating disorder. They try to just cope with life, avoiding their parents and spending time with their friends Henna & Jared. 

The 4 teenagers are in their final year of high school, and Mikey has 2 goals; to finally tell Henna that he is in love with her and graduate from High School before it blows up for the (I think) 5th time. 

The “indie” kids at Mikey’s school seem to be cursed; every few years they have to save the world from something, whether it’s Vampires, evil gods, a giant custard monster etc. I might have made that last one up. Luckily Mikey is a normal kid, so it’s not his responsibility to save the world,… or is it?

I really enjoyed this book. Every chapter starts with a brief paragraph of what the indie kids are up to, and then goes on to Mikey’s story. It really reminds me of the episode of Buffy (The Zeppo) where Xander saves the school from being blown up, but none of the scoobies know about it because they are trying to stop the hell mouth from opening. 

This book is funny, clever and I think it will probably be even more enjoyable on the second read. The book also explores sexuality and relationships in an interesting and non-judgemental way.

My only quibble was that I had to keep going back to the chapter beginnings to remind myself of what was going on with the indie kids. I would have liked more from them, just so that I could remember what was going on with them. With the way the book was written, I didn’t really engage with the indie characters. 

I know that this is the whole point of the book, that it’s about the background characters in the hero stories, but it was really difficult to keep track of what was going on.  It didn’t help that they had outlandish names, and that there were multiple indie kids called Finn.

I wasn’t invested in the indie kids as a reader, which took away from Mikey’s story. I couldn’t figure out how what Mikey was doing fitted in with the parallel plot. For this reason I gave the book 4/5 stars instead of 5 on Goodreads, but if I was to grade the book, I would say it’s an A. If there was a bit more info on the indie kids, say an extra page at the beginning of each chapter, it would have been an A*. Or a 5/5. I need to create my own rating system. 

Let me know your thoughts on this book in the comments, and your favourite Buffy episode, or character… or anything about Buffy really. 

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 

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