The ever-fabulous and dedicated bookworm Hayley, of Hayley From Home, sent me the novel ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here’. She told me that she hoped I would enjoy it because she knew a number of people had not given it the best reviews. So, immediately I knew it had to go to the top of my to-be-read pile, because I was intrigued, as I had only ever heard great things about Patrick Ness novels. I had also been a huge fan of ‘A Monster Calls’ when I had read it a few years back.
Before I started this novel, I did not read anything about it; I had no idea of the genre or the concept of the tale, so I knew I would be reading it without any predefined ideas. As I picked it up and saw that each chapter had quite an introduction, I was curious about the need for it and as I moved through the novel I loved the fact that these introductions were another story, that of the Indie kids, unfolding as we followed the adventures of the main characters. Now, at moments, I was not sure I fully understood the tale; it took me a little while to get my head around the fact that the title actually makes it very clear that we are following those that ‘just live here’, as all sorts of strange goings-on are happening all around them.
The interesting concept for me was the actual desire of the main characters to really want an ‘ordinary’ life; for example, the desire for the main character Mikey to be with the girl he believes he is in love with and make it to his high school graduation, and be able to leave the town for college with his best friend. He does not want any drama to take over and he certainly does not want his high school blown up again. Although, he is also fighting his own demons, even if they are not zombies with blue eyes. However, as the story unfolds, I really enjoyed the exploration of ‘ordinary’ – are any of us ordinary, or are we all on our own extraordinary adventure that is our life?
Something that really struck me with this novel was the care and empathy with which Patrick Ness tackled some very sensitive issues. The one that really struck me was the lead character Mikey and his sister dealing with the idea that they are ‘messed up’ or ‘broken’ by their personal issues and how over-protective that makes them of their ‘normal’ younger sister and, in turn, of each other.
This is a fabulous coming of age novel that really gripped me from the moment I started reading it. I am really keen to find some more Patrick Ness novels to read now, because I have been impressed by this and ‘A Monster Calls’.
Have you read any Patrick Ness novels? Are there any more you would recommend?