Review | The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Very good, but I wanted something extraordinary. Satchel and all. 3.5 stars

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness book cover

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.

My take:

The concept of this book is terrific. You’ll enjoy the satire even more if you’ve read a lot of the books or seen any of the TV shows and movies The Rest of Us Just Live Here is satirizing. I laughed out loud the first time we find out the main “indie kid” heroine is called Satchel. Genius.

As this is Patrick Ness, unsurprisingly the writing is excellent. Mikey is a consistent and believable first person voice. You come to care about him, although I found him a little irritating in places (mainly his persistent jealousy). His sisters and friends are similarly likeable. Another highlight was the description of the concert attended Mikey, Mel and their young sister Meredith. I could almost feel the earth-shaking screaming of the hundreds of ten and eleven year old girls. I wonder if Ness has been forced to attend a 1D concert recently…

However. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is about the “normal”, non-indie kids. The kids you see in the background and corner of the frame while the camera is focused on the indie hero and heroine. And while the lives of the non-indie kids aren’t boring at all (OCD and anorexia being involved for starters), overall this book felt “normal”. That is, after A Monster Calls, the Chaos Walking Trilogy and More Than This, Ness has set us up to expect his books to give us something extraordinary, and I found this book to be very good and “only” very good.

Finally: if this is your first Patrick Ness and you’re left underwhelmed, please, please, don’t give up on him. Read A Monster Calls or the Chaos Walking trilogy! (click on the links for my gushing reviews).

Next year I must try some of his adult fiction… any recommendations?

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

21 thoughts on “Review | The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

  1. Great review. 🙂
    I have this on my TBR and I really want to check it out. It sounds interesting and it was one of the books that I was most excited about this year. I probably won’t finish it until I finish the Chaos Walking trilogy though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 🙂
      Chaos Walking makes a much bigger impact. The ideas in the trilogy are so huge and the execution is original. The Rest of Us Just Live here is good, very good in places, but by Patrick Ness’ incredibly high standards, it’s sort of average. That said, it’s a fun read!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The chapter openings made me laugh so much. They were all so accurate. I think my main region for giving this four stars was how much I related to some of Mikey’s anxieties and how well they were described. But yeah, it is kind of a weird book in that the premise sounds so clever but then you realise that the the reason those kids aren’t the Chosen Ones is because they’re not really as exciting to read about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still chuckle every time I remember about Satchel, Finn, Finn2 and Finn3 – spot on!
      I realized after I finished my review that possibly one of the reasons I warmed to Mikey is because that’s the name of the main character in The Goonies. And then I started wondering if that’s why Ness called him that in the first place… If I ever meet him, I’ll ask 🙂


  3. Awesome review! I completely agree; it was kind of disappointing for what I’ve come to expect from Ness. I still can’t wait to read his Chaos Walking trilogy, though. I hear from everyone that it’s amazing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      Chaos Walking is indeed amazing. It tackles so many huge issues while also being incredibly entertaining. There are some genuine edge-of-seat moments too and the characters are wonderful.
      And this is why I have been a little disappointed with More Than This and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. He’s set himself a very high standard to beat/maintain 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I felt the same way about this book… I did enjoy it (especially the satire), but I was expecting something more. I’ve not read any other Patrick Ness books, but I’ve heard so many amazing things about them that I’ll definitely be giving some of the others a go in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! I absolutely loved Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, and his Chaos Walking trilogy—and More Than This was really good too! I’m glad you still ended up enjoying this book, despite it being a bit less up to the standards of Ness’s other books. 😉 I can’t wait to read this myself, I’ve been meaning to for so long yet still have not gotten around to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: WWW Wednesday 9th December 2015 | Art and Soul

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