Monday, October 19, 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here--Shelf Awareness

New review in Shelf Awareness!

YA Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (Harper Teen, $17.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 14-up, 9780062403162, October 16, 2015)

In British novelist Patrick Ness's The Rest of Us Just Live Here, 17-year-old Mikey Mitchell and friends want only to navigate their final days in high school before their school gets blown to bits, yet again, by unknown invaders.

No one talks much about the small Pacific Northwest town's various explosions, vampire infestations and soul-eating ghost episodes, or why the ultra-cool indie kids, "with unusual names and capital-D Destinies," keep dying. In fact, the parallel story of an Immortal Empress who wants to take over the world serves as a mere backdrop to the story's "real" action, narrated in Mikey's thoroughly engaging voice. Mikey is a worrier whose compulsive loops of hand washing and counting worsen as his troubles multiply: his sister may be starving herself again; his dysfunctional parents are almost entirely absent; he's desperately in love with his good friend, Henna, who has a crush on someone else; and his best friend, Jared, who is one-quarter cat god, is keeping secrets. Complementing the angst is plenty of creepy collateral damage from the current interspecies war, such as zombie deer--and police officers--with glowing blue eyes.

This clever sendup of traditional fantasy fare doesn't have nearly the body count as Ness's award-winning Chaos Walking trilogy, but it does have all of the heart, and then some. --Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.

Discover: In Patrick Ness's funny quasi-fantasy, graduating seniors are more concerned about relationships than the dangerous Immortals threatening their town.

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