Patrick Ness may have just hit movie theaters with his best selling novel A MONSTER CALLS, but he's far from a one-trick pony. He's written multiple novels that span different subject matters and genres. When I first heard about THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE, I'll tell you: I didn't really think twice about it. Contemporary isn't really my thing, so it takes a lot for me to sit up and pay attention. When someone (probably the publisher? I forget!!) posted this image on Twitter, I was suddenly intrigued:
YOU GUYS. I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I suffered with Buffy. I knew what she went through as the Chosen One. I knew what the Scooby Squad went through because they WEREN'T the Chosen One, just....lucky enough to be involved because they were her friends. Or unlucky. Both, really.
So a book where there's Paranormal Activity going on in town and it's NOT about the Chosen One?
Okay, yes, I want to read that!!!
We can't all be Special, Unique Snowflakes Destined to Make a Difference in the World. We just CAN'T.
So what happens when you're ordinary in an extraordinary town?
Well...........not a whole lot, really!!!!
I mean, you're ORDINARY. You don't get to have the fun of your life hanging in the balance. You don't get to mourn a deceased friend you watched die first-hand. You instead get the pleasure of homework, of worrying about prom, about whether or not your parents are getting divorced, about ALL THE THINGS students are SUPPOSED to worry about day-to-day.
Which makes for an interesting concept. While I wish the novel was a little better executed--or, well, maybe my expectations were too high, because it just wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be--it was still a really intriguing idea. I liked that the Chosen One's story took place in little blurbs at the start of each chapter. You sort of-kind of knew what was going on. But not really, just like the main characters. I liked that the main characters were super removed from the action. At the same time? I wanted them to be a liiiiiiittle involved in the action. I mean, even Cordelia got to kick some paranormal butt, and she totally started off as a secondary character in Buffy, amiright? But this book is about LIFE. It's about the every day. It's about the ordinary.
Not a lot happens outside of the ordinary for a lot of us, and that includes most of the students in town despite all the paranormal going-ons. Granted, there's still stuff going ON. The book deals with various disorders that afflict many teens. There are a few romances to root for, including a LGBT one. There are family issues. There are a lot of great topics that are relatable and that really make these characters feel "real," like they could be just like any other human in the reader's life--maybe even like the reader.
THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE absolutely takes the Chosen One trope and turns it upside down. If you're sick of reading about the All Powerful Main Character, this book is for you! If you want to peek in at the people living on the sidelines amongst the madness, this book is for you! It's different, and while I ultimately have mixed feelings largely due to my own unrealistic expectations of this book, it was still an enjoyable read!