I have been trying to read some of the runner up choices for book club in addition to the ones we pick. So far, I’ve read Venetia by Georgette Heyer and this book, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. This one feels like a bit of a cheat, since I had already requested it from the library before I put it on the list of voting options (although I had also figured out how to procure The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian before the vote as well).
I was intrigued by the reviews here at Cannonball, and really wondered how the author would tackle the story of all the other characters populating the world in which vampires have already been a scourge, and for a while all those indie kids were dying beautifully of cancer. It sounded to me like it could be a YA version of Longbourn, and since I loved that book so much I should certainly give this one a try. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t spectacular in the way I was hoping.
Patrick Ness can write like a motherfucker. That is not up for debate. If I were reviewing for a more official review, I probably would have rounded this one up to four stars, and not down to three, based purely on his prowess with the craft. But, I am writing this review for myself, and for the Cannonball crowd, where we are equally as concerned with plot and execution as we are with wordsmithing and a good core idea, so this book is rounded down to three.
The story is pretty straightforward – our group of characters are in the final weeks of their senior year and they’re just hoping their high school doesn’t blow up before they have a chance to graduate. In blurbs at the beginning of each chapter Ness outlines the peril being faced by the indie kids (Immortals are trying to take over the world) and the reverberations of that story are felt in the day to day of Mel, Mike, Jared, and Henna. However, while these characters aren’t the indie kids whom are found at the center of crises points, that doesn’t mean that they are without interesting foibles, problems, and inner lives. Ness weaves a story where it is easy for us to realize that even if the things we’re dealing with are “ordinary” they are still ours to combat.