I discovered recently that people really aren’t a fan of Patrick Ness, and I was baffled: he’s one of my favorite YA writers. I loved how dark and weird the Chaos Walking trilogy got, and I will never stop being disappointed that Charlie Kaufman is no longer involved in the movie adaptation of it. I thought what he did with the bare bones of A Monster Calls was lovely and touching. I thought More Than This was very weird, but interesting. I even liked Release okay. So it’s not surprising that I love this, and that it’s one of my favorites of his.
I should note that this was a re-read for me: I had just moved house this last weekend, and this was at the top of a box of books I started to unpack. After putting books away, I realized we didn’t have any internet yet. So I sat down with this and re-read it all in a day.
The Rest of Us just live here is about, basically, being a non-superhero in a town on the top of a Hellmouth. Crazy, end-of-the-world events keep almost happening here, and the “indie kids” save the day, but the indie kids aren’t who this book is about. As it says in the title, it’s about the rest of us.
The main character is a typical confused teenager, who also seems to suffer from OCD or something like it. He and all of his friends are about to go away to college and that change understandably terrifies him. The typical high school stories get covered here: coming out, unrequited love, being a total jerk to your friends and not understanding why you’re doing it, kind of hating your parents, and more. And at the beginning of every chapter we get a short update on what’s going on with the indie kids.
It’s a lovely book, full of empathy, that allows grace for all of it’s characters. Which is something Ness is great at. Which is why I’ll likely always defend him.