5 Reasons I Gave The Rest of Us Just Live Here 5 Stars | A Review with Buffy Gifs!

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a book that’s been on my to-read list since before it was even published. Reading the blurb, it felt like it was written for me. Every sentence had me doing a little fist pump and a not entirely dignified flail. Plus, Patrick Ness is a wizard with words so you, know, IT HAD TO BE GOOD RIGHT?

The thing is, once I actually got my hands on the book, I started to feel dread that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, so it became a kind of ritual when picking my next read to go along my bookshelf, give the gorgeous cover a little stroke, and then move on, picking something else. Well this summer, I thought, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I WILL BE A STRONG BOOKWORM. So I gave myself a little pep talk and opened the first page, and well. I’m so glad I did because it lived up to ALL the expectations.

So let’s get some blurb up in hither and we’ll talk about 5 reasons I gave The Rest of Us Just Live Here 5 stars!

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 Review

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1: Flipping the ‘Chosen One’ trope on its head was ingenious and gave me all the fangirly, nostalgic feels.

Buffy apocolypse

So true story, I am a major supernatural/paranormal show fangirl, and my favourite of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was hand-picked to fight the vampires, demons and forces of darkness, to burn bright and (probably) die young. There’s a well-known scene in the last series where Xander, one of Buffy’s inner circle talks about how it feels not to be the chosen one.* If you’ve never seen it, watch the clip now, it’s all kinds of emotional.

* “They’ll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn’t chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realises because they’re not watching me. I saw you last night, and I see you working here today. You’re not special; you’re extraordinary.” *(and yes, I did recite that from memory.)*

In Rest of Us, the ‘Chosen Ones’ are mockingly called indie kids and they’re always saving the world from some *eye-roll* apocalypse, making a mess for everyone else to clear up, loving overdramatically, and hogging the spotlight. Their problems are obviously so much tougher because LIFE OR DEATH except, well, they aren’t. Sometimes, making the decision to get up in the morning is the bravest possible thing you can do.

Ness gives us insight into how it would feel to be one of the normal kids watching the craziness from afar, seeing the indie kids rush in and out of danger with their hair freshly blow-dried, and I literally felt like I was getting to see the other side of the Buffy-verse, and actually, it looks pretty hilarious!

2: The writing is incredible, and the ‘Chosen One’ snippets at the start of each chapter are legendary.

Buffy chosen one
The thing about Patrick Ness, is that all his stories and concepts are very different, but while you’re never sure if the story will be for you, you always know that the writing will be. It’s smart, playful, sarcastic and emotive all in one, and The Rest of Us allows Ness to put his full skills on display.

Each chapter of the book starts with a superhero style except, where we get to hear what the indie kids are up to and all the supernatural goings-on – these are all in a satire format, and every single one had me cracking up. An indie kid doesn’t just throw a stone, for example, they throw it, soulfully, and their lips taste of honey and vegan patchouli, obviously.
It’s wildly clever, especially when contrasted with the rest of the chapters which read mostly like a contemporary novel.

3: There’s amazing mental health rep which is always for the win.

Buffy world live in it gif

The ‘Chosen One’ side of the story is even more contrasted by the fact that our wonderful protagonist, Mikey, is struggling with his mental health… like 1/4 of our ‘normal’ population (and he’s always worried that out of everyone, he is the one that matters the least). Not only that, but his sister is also suffering. In Rest of Us, we see both of them dealing with their own issues, mental health blips and regressions, going through therapy, and debating whether life is worth living. It made me scrunch up into a BIG BALL OF EMOTION AND TURMOIL, however, it also filled me with hope and made me want to hug strangers so, powerful stuff.

However, the best part of this rep is not only that Mikey’s OCD and his sister’s eating disorder are sensitively explored, it’s that it’s just one tiny facet of their personality – who their crushing on, their grades, family struggles, where they’re going to college are all just as important, if not more so. It was so perfectly balanced. CAN I GET AN AMEN?

4: Sexuality is so not a big deal in Ness’s latest world.

Buffy Willow

I’ve read a lot of books with good reps lately, but this is my favourite so far re sexuality to date. One of the characters in the novel has had relationships with both guys and girls and this is made out to be so not a big deal. It’s not overanalysed or discussed in great detail, it’s not even a big part of the novel! It just is, and that is SO AWESOME AND REFRESHING, and we need more of it!!

5: There’s all kinds of heartwarming and emotionally crippling family dynamics.

buffy spike thumbsup

It’s worth noting that there’s no real central plot in Rest of Us, it’s very much an exploration of Mikey’s life and relationships, and struggles (so if you’re the kind of reader that needs that structure, this book may not be one for you. )

A lot of the novel focuses on Mikey’s relationship with his siblings Mel and Meredith. Their dad is almost entirely checked out, while their mum is often only checked when it’s convenient so they’re all fiercely protective of each other. It was so endearing to see how they helped each other when things were tough, to the point where even though their family was super dysfunctional, I wanted to be a part of it. Mikey’s friendship group also felt like his second family, and I really just wanted to chill out with them on the school playing field and talk about life!

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Review Patrick Ness The Rest of Us Just Live Here

So overall, while I’ve picked out 5 things I loved about this book, really, there’s everything to love. I could go on more about the side characters (like Jarad, the cat God), how the mix of genres was both confusing and kind of revolutionary, or I could write a whole post about how Mikey really is the hero of his own story, despite not being an indie kid – but then, I would be here forever, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself!

9Let's Chat 9.1


Have you read The Rest of Us Just Live Here or any other Patrick Ness novels? Are you a fan of his work or are his stories too out there?
Which Chosen One-verse would you most like to live in? I would HAVE to go with Buffy, although Harry Potter would be a close second!

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness Review

20 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Gave The Rest of Us Just Live Here 5 Stars | A Review with Buffy Gifs!

  1. Haha, wow. It’s amazing to read an outlook so opposite to mine. I absolutely hated this book. Gave it one star in fact. I couldn’t find a single thing to compliment about it, especially not those things you mentioned. It was my first Ness book too, so that was quite disappointing. 😦

    • Oh wow, that’s sad to hear! However, I do get that feeling – I read one of his other books More Than This and had a very similar experience to you – didn’t like the premise, characters or execution. I gave it 2 stars purely for the writing. I think a lot of it really depends on whether you can get behind the concept of each book or not.
      Based on that, I would definitely still recommend giving one of his other books a go – maybe A Monster Calls? Don’t give up yet! 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me when I read it though I do like the concept and thought it was executed well. I was caught up in the hype of it so my expectations were really high.

    • It’s SO hard when there is a lot of hype around a book, that’s one of the reasons I left it so long before I read it. I can also see why some people wouldn’t like this book, because it’s not got a central plot and the mixing of genres was kind of weird so I can see that it wouldn’t be for everyone!

  3. Kudos for quoting Buffy by memory! Xander was a great guy. The only bit of Buffy I can quote from memory is “They got the mustard outtt…!”

    I had a paradox with this one: I was having so much fun, I didn’t want to stop reading it. But I wanted to stop reading so it would last longer and I could spend more time with the characters.

    I see “More than this” down there. Have you tried that one yet?

    • Haha, I can quote a LOT of Buffy from memory. I’m also known as a ‘Buffy pusher’ around these parts, I’ve forced all my friends to watch the series and converted them to fans, ha! I also have the CD for the musical episode which, yes, includes the mustard song. 😀

      I had the same feeling, I didn’t want it to end but couldn’t put it down, so it was over too quickly.

      I did try and was hugely disappointed with More Than This. It was a 2 star read for me. Just couldn’t get into it – a bit too science fiction for my taste as well, I’m more of a fantasy girl.

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