Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Walker Books, 27 August 2015, 352pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN: 9781406331165
Like those scenes from Austin Powers where we see the home lives of henchmen killed on the job, this book is the story of the rest of us – not the chosen few, not the demon/vampire/alien/zombie slayers, just those trying to live their lives and deal with growing up. Mikey, his sister Mel, and their friends Henna and Jared are in their final year of high school. All around them, strange things are happening – lights from the sky, people with glowing eyes, indie kids fighting and dying. But that’s the periphery – their main concerns are parents, family, relationships, friendships and graduating high school. The big things.
This was a wonderful read, sensitive and full of feeling for Mikey and his friends, and at the same time funny and wry. Each chapter is prefaced by a summary of what the indie kids (the “chosen few”) are doing. There are deliberate echoes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other teen supernatural TV shows in the high school setting, the obliviousness of adults and the paranormal activities. The main characters are so well drawn, so real, that readers will have no trouble feeling for Mikey and his group, their various problems and trials, and their hope for something better than today.
Highly recommended. This book should do well in public and upper secondary school libraries.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble