We conclude Patrick Ness Week here on the blog with our First Reads Friday review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
“We’re just going to stick together and tough it out and try to live long enough to graduate. The usual.”
Although the end of the world may or may not be occurring during Patrick Ness’s glorious The Rest of Us Just Live Here, we are faced with the biggest question: What do the Unchosen Ones do during the (potential) apocalypse? The answer: going on living in your own world, navigating your way through your experiences into adulthood.
“And we dream the same in my town as you probably do in a city. We yearn the same, wish the same.”
Mikey is a teen that lives in the small town outside of a slightly bigger city. His tight-knit group of friends includes his older sister, Mel, his best friend, Jared, and Mel’s best friend and Mikey’s obsessive love interest, Henna. Mikey’s friends are his self-appointed family, except for his little sister who he and Mel love and protect above all else.
“I hope you can choose your family and I hope it means as much to you as mine does to me.”
Mikey is a sensitive boy who suffers insecurities, anxieties and repeatedly finds himself wondering whether he’s the least wanted of his group of friends. He tortures himself with all of his shortcomings, as all of us are want to do. This constant worry gets him stuck in loops of washing his hands and face and tapping tables and touching things in patterns “correctly” before being able to move on. You cannot help but weep for this sweet boy who suffers so profusely on behalf of everyone else around him, just wanting to be their hero.
“Because it’s a feeling, not a tumor.”
This book beautifully explores the complexities of friendships. Mikey struggles to understand his role in the world, his future (his is a senior in high school, after all), and questions everything around him, himself the most. Ness also brilliantly explores serious issues, such as mental health, anxiety, eating disorders, LGBT, with a delicate and beautiful touch. He weaves each struggle around the love the other characters feel for one another and he turns each and every heartache into something human and palpable.
Ness’s winning writing style is evident in so many facets of this novel. From his nonchalant, sarcastic prose, to his method of glossing over the undead, soul-eating ghosts and vampires, where most writers would have made the main topic of their novels (no spoilers), Ness gives us a heart-felt, gripping coming-of-age tale for the ages.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here will be released on October 6th. Pre-order your copy here.
Also, Patrick Ness will be stateside later this month. Check here for dates and locations.