Monday, June 20, 2016

The Rest of Us Just Live Here: A Book Review

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.


Let me start off saying, I LOVED this book!

Ness had such an amazing idea by telling the story of all the people who aren't the "chosen one."  It's funny because I've often wondered about all the "other" people during all the action pact movies I watch.  When a car gets stomped on by the transformer or goes careening out of control during the chase scene, I often lament that the unlucky car would be me if I were in that show.

Now, you get to hear about the characters who are in the background.  The ones who are fighting to save themselves and their families, not the entire world.  The ones who are fighting the everyday battle to get up, love their families, and struggle through their lives.  We may not have magical powers, but we fight everyday to be happy anyway.

What a wonderful idea.

*What's the point of lying about anything? We could keep being too afraid to say we don't know stuff and then the future will come and eat us anyway and we'll regret not doing all that stuff we wished we did.*

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that each chapter began with a short (often humorous) telling of what was going on with the "chosen ones".  As someone who enjoys reading paranormal young adult fiction, I loved that.  It was interesting to see all the "teen angst" from a different point of view.  Can you imagine someone outside the Twilight circle telling Bella's story?  How fun would that be?

But Mikey and his friends don't have to deal directly with vampires, or the Immortals, or zombies, or soul stealing ghosts.  They have to deal with messed up families, graduation, and friends moving on.  It was nice to learn along with Mikey that we are all messed up and we just do the best we can to live each day without regrets because you never know when it will be your last day before a herd of deer causes a near fatal car accident or your parents decide to take you to Africa.

We have to live each day, learning and loving, with no regrets.

*Just remember, please, most of that stuff is in the past. It isn't the story I want to tell. At all. You needed to know it, but for the rest of this, I'm choosing my own story. Because if you can't do that, you might as well just give up.*

While you, or I, may not be "the chosen one", we all have our stories.  The humor and wit that Ness gives his characters helps to keep the everyday problems of Mikey and his gang from feeling too weighed down and yet real enough to be relatable.

I don't think I would recommend this book to my young reader, but for older young adult fiction fans, this book is a thoughtful and enjoyable look at growing up and dealing this what story we will choose.