Mikey is about to graduate from high school and head off to college, escaping his small town and irritating parents, but leaving behind some amazing friends. His anxiety is through the roof, trapping him in loops of hand washing and counting, and that’s before the indie kids start dying.
There’s something strange happening in this town. Again. There’s been soul eating ghosts and vampires and gods and now there’s something else lurking in the woods causing the deer to freak out and the police force to act shady. And all Mikey wants to do is keep his head down, protect his friends and family, and graduate. Before they blow up the school. Again.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a nice twist on the Chosen One genre. Instead of focusing on the main action and those involved (the indie kids here), each chapter starts with a brief rundown of what is happening elsewhere before turning back to Mikey and his seemingly ordinary problems. It’s quite tongue in cheek, and it is funny, but it’s also moving and lovely. Which is what I usually find with Ness. His writing always seems effortless and yet I’m sure it’s not at all easy to convey things the way he does. I love his characters – it’s a nice crew of friends caring for each other and giving each other shit – and how they react fairly nonchalantly to the crazy goings on around town. It’s not their story, they’re adamant about that, yet they end up slightly involved anyway.
It’s a coming of age story with a bizarre twist and it works.
And as I get older (and one day deal with my own teenagers), I need to remember this: ‘The mistake of every adult, though, is to think darkness and hardship aren’t important to young people because we’ll grow out of it. Who cares if we will? Life is happening to us now, just like it’s happening to you.’