The Rest of Us Just Live Here, an awesome new novel by Patrick Ness, is the story of nerdy-cool indie kids Satchel and Finn and how they save their town (and also the world) from being overrun and enslaved by blood-thirsty immortals from another dimension. There's mysterious deaths, there's a love triangle (with one side being an immortal prince), there's betrayal, and there are several explosions (one of which destroys the local high school on graduation day).
Actually, scratch that. Sure, all of that does, indeed, happen in this story, but only sort of in passing. The real story here is what happens to the (mostly) very ordinary Mike, Mel, Henna, and Jared while all the drama between the immortals and the indie kids is going on. These four teens are dealing with some very real-world problems in the weeks coming up to graduation. Mel is still recovering from an eating disorder that almost killed her a year earlier, Henna is worried about having to join her missionary parents in a nation torn apart by civil war, Jared is struggling with what will happen with his divorced father when he goes away to college (there's also the cat problem, but that's another story), and Mike just wants to graduate and get away from his alcoholic father and politically-obsessed mother (not to mention his OCD is getting worse...and he's in love with Henna). None of these four are the Chosen Ones who will save the world. Yet, somehow, their stories are so much more compelling. Their characters so much more real and relatable.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a fascinating concept that Ness carries out so masterfully you, the reader, forget how very ordinary and uneventful the story actually is (it's about every day life). But I do the book an injustice by saying this. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of the best books I've read lately. Perhaps the best book I've read all year. So if you, like me, ever wondered about the lives of side characters who are so sidelined they barely register as a blip amongst all the zombie fighters, vampire slayers (kissers?), and terminal cancer patients, this is definitelty the book for you. I highly recommend it. In fact, go check it out now! Right now! --AJB