Challenge 26 ~ “A book everyone is talking about.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It’s strange to think it was only about a year ago that I heard about this book. Ever since I’ve been mentioning it non-stop, eagerly awaiting the release (that coincidentally coincided with my brother’s birthday. I somehow managed to restrain myself buying a copy for him just so I could read it.) It wasn’t until Christmas day, however, that I finally got my hands on this book, and then not until the festive season was over that I could dive in. This provided ample opportunity to fantasize the plot in my head, and the wonders Ness would bring to the novel, whilst equally fearing that More Than This had just been a one-off. (For those of you who aren’t so aware, I struggled to finish and failed to enjoy both Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, and A Monster Calls, making More Than This his first novel in which I really began to appreciate his writing.)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here had one of the best blurbs, and from the instance I heard it I was hooked. It’s quite a novel concept to consider the ‘others’ in a culture where the world is repeatedly being saved from vampires, werewolves, metahumans and all sorts of other fantasy creatures in books, films and television. As someone who would definitely be one of the indie kids, it’s also great to see these stories from a different perspective, in which they lose their shining ideologies of heroism and triumph. Ness manages to simultaneous present his own story, whilst having the reader re-think all these other heroic adventures they’ve been told, and has certainly changed my view on many of these other extraordinary adolescents.
Ness’ interpretation of the plot was nothing like that I’d imagined, but he still crafted it into an engaging read. Rather than a constant series of catastrophes that shaped the lives of these non-indie characters and was the sole focus of their day to day lives, the supernatural was relegated to a short summary at the beginning of the chapter, and the real lives of the characters explored. That’s not to say they didn’t converge at times – when someone blows up your high school, it’s hard for that not to impact your life – but Ness kept the focus on the lives of ‘the rest of us’, and all the complexities of these. In a way, Ness’ alternative imaging of the storyline only proved to reinforce the ways in which these background characters are always overlooked in favour of catastrophic events and life-changing adventures.
As guaranteed by a Ness novel, the standard of writing was superb, and the characters so real they felt more alive than your next-door neighbour. Once again Ness makes writing look like a breeze, and finds ways to express the inexpressible – if you ever need an example, simply read the blurb and try to explain the novel to someone else without it sounding lame. Whether you’re a fantasy novel fanatic, comic book adorer or simply looking for something to read, The Rest of Us Just Live Here has something to offer everyone, and will find it’s own unique way to resonate with you. So just clear a few hours from your schedule and open the first page – you’ll still be thinking about it long after the final page has turned!
Recommended for fans of:
- Paper Towns by John Green
- The Last Survivors Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- The Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix