I once read a discussion on secondary characters and how it must feel for them to have all this adventure happening around them or to be the best friend of the chosen one. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness explores this idea. The book follows Mike Mitchell, a high schooler about to graduate high school. He just wants to go to prom and spend the remaining weeks with his friends Henna, Jared and his sister Mel before they all leave to go to different colleges. What gets in the way of all this is the frequent times the world has almost come to an end. In Mike’s world they have had “1. the undead, 2. those soul eating ghosts, 3. the vampire cycle of romance and death” (Ness, 2015 pp. 83-84). Mike is not the chosen one, nor are his friends. Instead, they are just the regular people going about their business and while all the dooms day stuff is happening.
Each chapter begins with a short passage on what the chosen ones are doing. In this book, they are called Indie kids, they all have unusual names and wear unusual clothing. It reminded me of Twilight and other YA books. I liked reading those passages too and I would love it if it were turned into a short story too. I enjoyed all the digs at stereotypes like how there’s a love triangle and where it repeatedly says that the spirit from the other world is the most handsome boy the heroine has ever seen.
While the book spoofed the YA supernatural genre, there were serious issues presented in the book as well. Mike has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder stemming from anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. His dad is a closeted alcoholic and his mother is a politician who wants to pretend she has a perfect family. Mike’s sister Mel also is a recovering anorexic.
I liked Mike. I admired his protectiveness of his friends and family. He’s just a regular guy but when bad stuff happens he’s ready to help them. I felt sorry about his OCD and his continual habit of washing his hands and counting. It’s terrible to have something control you like that. I didn’t really relate to his feelings of worthlessness though because it was clear that his loved ones cared for him not just put up with him like he thought.
This is a cute book and fun read for those who like Young Adult supernatural fiction. I liked this book so much that I have earmarked pages of the quotes that I like from the book. I found the premise to be hilarious and original.