Release Date: October 6th, 2015
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.
"The Rest of Us Just Live Here is just a beautiful book that I will treasure forever. It's quiet, raw, and subtly perfect."
This book has been on my radar for a while now, but I got even more excited after attending Ness' book signing at Books of Wonder and heard him speak about it and the different themes in the book. I was not disappointed; this book delivered and more.
This book won't be for everyone. It's about the "other" people, the ones who aren't off saving the world. It's about all the people that feel like they could never be the hero and probably wouldn't want to be. It's even about how being "the chosen one" (or in this case, the "indie kid") isn't all that great if you were actually to be one of them. Some people will find portions of this slow and boring, and maybe it is at times, but I liked the slow nature of some of the parts of this story. I love how this doesn't just forget about all the school stuff, about the "real life" stuff. I love how there was more of the mundane because it's what most of us go through every day in high school. It may come off as boring, but there's so much drama in that (but different from the drama in other contemporary novels). It's about showing how our every day lives are just as important as the lives of the "indie kids."
I loved the focus on friendship in The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Yes, there was a bit of romance, and I wasn't always the biggest fan of Mikey's obsession, but I could understand it, and I think it was handled well in the end. I didn't have the amazing group of friends in high school that they have in this book, but I loved every minute of their interactions because it felt real to me.
The support they provided one another was also really important to me. The honest portrayal of friendship and of defining family for oneself and of mental illness was HUGE. This is the kind of book I wish had come out while I was still in high school. So many of Mikey's anxieties and doubts were/are similar to my own. His insecurities are so much like mine, so I think that what he learns from Mel and Jared and the rest of them are so impactful and could honestly help so many teens. A lot of my deeper connection with this aspect of the story also came from what Ness said during the signing, and it's something that will stay with me for a long time.
The conversation about being the one who belongs the least in the group, of being the least important, is very much something that has stuck with me in the time since I finished this book. The week or two after finishing the book were tough for me because I was feeling exactly this, but I'm not going to lie about how much the book helped me get through that time. To say I read this at exactly the right time would be an understatement. Overall, I just think he does such a great job of having a raw, open, real portrayal of mental illness and of how it affects a family.
But moving on, this book was also hilarious at times. The short inscriptions telling the reader about the indie kids' situations at that point in time were such a treat, showing not only a progression in time but also how those "hero" stories and their timelines would play out in real life. It's an added layer that adds just enough flavor. And there is enough action to keep the story moving but without overwhelming the characterization. The way it picks up and comes together at the end was just brilliant.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is just a beautiful book that I will treasure forever. It's quiet, raw, and subtly perfect. It's not about being flashy and all out. It's about the little moments and how those little moments mean so much to us, something that can be forgotten about when we have action-packed books. I highly, highly recommend this read.