January 28, 2016

BCP - What we loved about The Rest of Us Just Live Here

This is a new feature here at Not-So Teen Reads!  Years ago my coworkers and I started a YA book club that meets semi-regularly throughout the year.  It’s really an excuse to take ourselves out to dinner and spend some time together, but over time we’ve gotten better about discussing the books we pick.  We try to shake up our usual reading patterns, so we’ll read any genre under the sun.  BCP stands for Book Club Pick (obviously) and I’m going to post our thoughts on the books we read.  This month’s read was the much-hyped The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

Author: Patrick Ness
Pages: 352
Publisher: Walker Books
About: 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.Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

Me: 5 stars
B: 5 stars
E: 3 stars
Y: 2 stars

Mixed reviews from the club, which made the discussion a lot of fun.  I was initially going to give it four stars but when I sat and thought about it there was nothing I didn’t like about it.  My final hurdle for five star books is re-readability and I would gladly reread this one.

- The chapter bumpers:  It’s so cool that they tell the indie kid story, what would be the main plot of another book, in just a few short sentences at the beginning of every chapter and then we get to spend most of our time with the normal kids, who are just fighting the everyday good fight.

- The indie kid names: this got mixed reviews from our group.  Some of us felt they were confusing; I loved them with all of my being.  I thought it was hysterical that so many of them were named Finn.

- The family stuff: watching Mel, Mike, and Meredith take care of each other was one of my favorite parts of the story and the whole group agreed.

- Jared being part god, but it not being a big deal: He’s part cat god so all the cats flocked to him.  Cutest powers ever?

- That sometimes you and the best friend you’ve been in love with forever just don’t work in the way you wanted to and that’s okay.  You move on from it and no one is mortified and you’re actually a little bit closer because you’ve faced these questions together and come out on the other side.  It doesn’t always have to be true luv 4 evah.

- That this book doesn’t feel heavy, even though there’s so much going on, which I guess is part of the point.  Everyone is living their own story, not just the heroes, and when you have groups of friends like this one, their lives are your lives too.  You have Mel’s eating problem, Henna’s not wanting to go to Africa with her parents,  Jared’s secretiveness, Meredith and the Bolts of Fire show, the new kid trying to join the group, Mike’s OCD, their mom running for office, their dad’s drinking, Mike’s relationship with Henna and how it’s changing, Mike’s relationship with Jared and how it’s changing, impending prom and graduation, but I never felt bogged down by it.

- The references to Chosen One YAs: Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars, etc.  So fun and done in a way that showed love for the genre.

“There’s nothing out here but woods and the huge great Mountain on the very near the horizon that’ll blow up one day and flatten everyone and everything in this part of the state.”

“'I wonder if realizing you’re not sure about stuff makes you a grown-up?'
'Lots of adults seem really sure about things.'
'Maybe they’re not grown-up either.'”

“And that was the end of our high school.  Which was only eight years old, because it had replaced the last one that had been blown up to destroy the soul-eating ghosts.  The circle of life, I guess.”

* * *

So that's it for the first installment of BCP.  Love it?  Hate it?  Let me know.  They probably won't be an every month thing, but as often as book club is able to meet there will be a post.

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