Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Posted December 26, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Published by HarperTeen on October 6th 2015
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

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.

What do you do when a book is compulsively readable, well-written, and yet you don’t like it at all? How do you rate that? Do you even finish if you aren’t connecting with it? I decided to finish it (well, I didn’t actually decide that, it was kind of like before I had decided to quit reading, I was already done with it), but it’s almost as if I immediately forgot what the book was about. My brain dumped it. It’s not memorable. The premise is unique, fantastic even, but the book kinda falls flat and is completely forgettable.

For once I am the black sheep, and I’m kind of thrilled about it.

I’ve heard a lot about Patrick Ness’ books. I still intend to try another one at some point, and there is no doubt in my mind he can write characters. But I never connected with these at all–I found them boring (yes, they were diverse, but that is not enough for me).

This book doesn’t actually have a plot, and that is a problem. I don’t mind character-driven novels, if I like the characters. A few of my favorite books are primarily character-driven–but there has to be at least a semblance of plot. I kept waiting for it to start, and it never did.

Each chapter opens with a summary of what the indie kids are doing (the chosen ones), and how they are currently saving the world: which ones are dying, which ones are in the thick of the action, etc. But the story (there is no story) revolves around the regular kids–the ones who aren’t chosen, the ones who are normally in the background. Mikey has OCD, his sister Mel is recovering from Anorexia, his best friend Jared is gay, and he is in love with a black girl named Henna. The book is about their struggles, and yes, there is SOME conflict, but it’s not enough to keep the average reader interested, I don’t think.

Patrick Ness can write though. His turns of phrase are great, there is some delightful humor in here, and many lines that are quotable and memorable, if you connect with the book in that way. I didn’t. I finished it though, and that is enough for me this year to give a book an okay rating, But so far, I’ve found this author overrated, and I don’t get it. I’ll read one more book before I decide he’s not for me.


2 responses to “Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

  1. I’m curious about this one, but yeah, even character-driven novels have to have an actual plot or overall purpose to the book. Sorry you didn’t really enjoy this one, but I appreciate your honest thoughts.

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  2. Meg

    I 100% agree with your opinions on this one. Patrick Ness is one of my favorite authors, but he just couldn’t sell his one dimensional characters to me. Maybe it has something to do with it being a contemporary since he’s primarily a sci-if writer? In any case I hope you pick up one of his other books as this was the first to flop for me. Great review as well, by the way!

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