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The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - Review

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where did I get it? I bought it, last year sometime. Recently I decided that I'd read all the Carnegie Shortlist books, so I bought the rest, but this one I already owned. I've got them all piled up and my friend Stacey suggested I picked this one up first. 
What's it about? This is a really funny, tongue in cheek novel. Mike Mitchell is an ordinary 17 year old who's only a few weeks from graduating high school. He lives in a tiny rural town in the middle of nowhere, and he's got Problems. He has quite severe OCD and gets stuck in "loops" that he can't get out of. His older sister (also graduating) had an eating disorder that she's still working through, his mother is running as State Governor and leaves her children to it, and his dad is an alcoholic. Mike's in love with his friend Henna, but she's got a crush on new guy Nathan. His best friend Jared's dad is Mike's mum's main rival in politics. All this is going on anyway, but also the town is a little bit weird and every few years something strange happens with the indie kids in the school - they have to fight zombies or vampires or zombie vampires. Eight years ago the school blew up, so everyone's hoping that won't happen again - or at least not before Mike and his friends get to graduate. Not everyone can be the Chosen One, you see - some people just live their lives while all that stuff goes on in the background. 
What age range is it for? 14+
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, Jared is gay and Mike is... flexible? He says a couple of times that he and Jared have explored sexually, although he doesn't go into details and says it was merely something to do in a small town. However, I feel that Mike's representation is important - he isn't afraid to experiment with a boy or to tell the reader that. It was a very lovely way of showing this, I felt.
Are any main characters non-white? Yes, Henna is mixed race 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, Mike has OCD and his sister Mel is a recovering anorexic. TRIGGER WARNINGS exist therefore for this novel - there's plenty of descriptions of Mike's compulsions, and a little about Mel's issues around food. Take care of yourself.
Is there any sex stuff? Very, very little - it's not explicit but it is clear what has happened, and safe sex is practiced. 
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, some of it is a little gory. 
Are there swear words? A few but not many. 
Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. I loved this; it's only the second Patrick Ness I've ever read (the first was The Knife of Never Letting Go which I read for my Children's Lit module for my MA) and I much preferred this. It made me laugh out loud more than once, which is very unusual for me. I felt it was a little like Buffy the Vampire Slayer - very clever and witty. It's very realistic with elements of magic/fantasy too, which is my perfect mix. 
How many stars? Ten out of ten - it isn't perfect but it's very close to it. 
Where is the book going now? I'll keep it, but first I'm going to lend it to Stacey!

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