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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

NewGen - YA Fiction   Books of the Month   eBook Favourites   
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Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Children's Book Award 2016.

September 2015 NewGen Book of the Month.

Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a dystopian adventure that mocks dystopian adventures while acknowledging the genre’s power to reveal truths, particularly about teenage lives. As one band of teenagers – those special ‘indie kids’ familiar from so many YA novels – battle to save the world from the Immortals, the main plot of the novel concerns another group of young people. Mikey is getting through his teenage years with the help of his friends and by focusing on graduating and leaving home. He also wants to declare his love for his friend Henna. It’s enough for anyone to cope with, the possibility of someone blowing up school only adds to his problems. The indie kids’ story is told entirely in chapter head summaries, the real drama is Mikey’s, and of course his story means the most to the rest of us. Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness. ~ Andrea Reece

If you like Patrick Ness you might also like to read books by Rob Ewing and kevin brooks.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Simon Marshall - 'Totally original, just what we’ve come to expect from the brilliant Patrick Ness.'
  • Danielle Shepherd - 'Mystical, magical and absolutely thrilling.'
  • Lauren Coffman - 'It was thrilling and exciting, and though it was about a world not like ours, it was still easy to connect to the characters.'
  • Aimee Sweet - 'This may be the oddest book I have read for a while, but certainly the most interesting and relatable one.
    I love it.'
  • Emily Kinder - 'Patrick Ness has created something new and fascinating, and it's amazing.'
  • Bethan Scarr - 'Any fan of Patrick Ness will not be disappointed.  A compelling read, with characters so real that you feel that you know them.'
  • Emma Hughes - 'A story full of mystery and love, and adds to Patrick Ness' number of brilliant novels.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'If you are a fan of Patrick Ness then this is a must read!'
  • Farah Alam - 'My first Patrick Ness novel, and it was ok.'
  • Rose Heathcote - 'It does
    cover important issues that can affect teenagers like anorexia and OCD and the way it could affect somebody’s life, this part of the book is written very well.'
  • Chloe Shortall - 'I really enjoyed this novel. It’s fun and clever, with a fantastic plotline and wonderful plot twists. I would definitely recommend this book.'
  • Cliona McKeown-Bittles - 'An honest and real take on the issues of ordinary life paralleled with the life threatening and suspenseful extraordinary existence.'
  • Ella Grabsky - 'A wonderful tale about learning it's ok not to be perfect. This book had me gripped from the first page to the last.'


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey?

What if you just want 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 might just be the God of mountain lions...


What if you weren't the Chosen One? The one supposed to fight the Zombies or the soul eating ghosts? What if you have problems bigger than the end of the world, and just want to graduate and go to prom? This is a novel about ordinary kids, their hopes, dreams and relationships, while the indies kids run around saving humanity in the background. Ness is a writer who always surprises and this won't disappoint. I greatly enjoyed the subversion of YA tropes - the chapter descriptions are a particular delight - but the warmth of the relationships stood out for me: siblings, friends and lovers. Smart, funny and original. Don't miss it. Fiona Noble The Bookseller -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller * This book is so excellent. So beautiful. So honest and so painful ... Ultimately, The Rest of Us is a story of the hope, fear, anxiety and uncertainty that comes with the end of childhood and the trepidation that comes with stepping into the life of adulthood. It condenses the pressures that young people feel at this stage of their life - both from the outside and from the inside, and weaves this sense of melancholy into the very bones of the words it uses. It also portrays mental illness in a blunt, honest and painful way that helps to break up stigmas and stereotypes. OCD is not liking your books in alphabetical order - it's a dangerous and debilitating disease. In this way, as well others, Ness has created a diversity in his characters that so many books still beg for, and certainly that the community is crying out for. -- Shinra Alpha * Shinra Alpha * I thoroughly enjoyed The Rest of Us Just Live Here as it truly tapped into the minds of all these individual voices and showed us how it can feel to be lost amongst people. -- SisterSpooky * SisterSpooky * This is Ness at his best. -- Marilyn Brocclehurst * The Bookseller * A new Patrick Ness novel is always an event and this smart, funny book is a highlight of the year for me. -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller * This is a brave, refreshing multi-layered novel from an award-winning author. -- Carousel * Carousel * If you're getting tired of the romantic tropes and general Chosen One vibes coming from YA books, then you'll love The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It provides a great tongue-in-cheek commentary to many popular series, but in a way that even fans like me can appreciate and enjoy. The cast is well-written and diverse. Not everything is tied up at the end, but in life it never is. I'd normally recommend a book 'for fans of', but I can't think of another book quite like this - I'm going to be throwing it at any and every person I come across who expresses a vague interest in reading. And all the others, too. I'm just going to recommend it to everyone, okay? It was an ambitious idea, but it was funny and angsty and heartwarming and I absolutely loved it. * The Guardian Online * The characters of Mikey and his friends are so well drawn that we are fundamentally not that interested in the otherworldly goings-on of the Indie kids, but that, of course, is the point of the story [...] This is a thoroughly satisfying read, and is highly recommended. -- Amanda Bell * Inis * Funny, smart, perceptive and original, this is a book about the extraordinary in the every day, and why all of our lives matter. * The Bookseller Children's Buyer's Guide * Fantastically witty, poignant, painful and very witty. * Bath Magazine * Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a dystopian adventure that mocks dystopian adventures while acknowledging the genre's power to reveal truths, particularly about teenage lives [...] Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness. -- Andrea Reece * Love Reading 4 Kids * Once the book had finished I just felt myself gasping for more of Ness's writing [...] as soon as you get your hands on it, I urge you to read this book. Try it, and you might just find one of the best books of the year. -- Young Reviewer * The Guardian Online * The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a brilliantly constructed novel that is intelligently and straightforwardly written with humour, wit and a tremendous amount of heart. I wish I had Mikey around to look up to when I was teenager rather than vampires or goblin-fighters. * Lonsome Reader * It is a book that succeeds in being simultaneously provocative, entertaining and witty, while exhibiting a profound and empathetic understanding of the phenomenon often too casually referred to as growing up . -- Robert Dunbar * Irish Times * This isn't a story about Chosen Ones. This is a story about Average Ones. And it's simply beautiful [...] Ness writes with a wit and insight that means you grow to love these characters - faults and all - rather than being emotionally blackmailed into loving them. * SFX Magazine * With incredible writing, captivating characters and a storyline that's a joy from the first page to the last, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a compelling read that deserves to be another massive hit for Ness. -- Cara Fielder * We Love This Book * Ness
latest novel, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, does not disappoint

; bold and well written, it provides plenty to think about, even though all the most urgent action is deliberately placed out of sight and off the page. -- Nicholas Tucker * The Independent * This is a clever, witty, and warm celebration of the battle to survive adolescence. -- Sally Morris * The Daily Mail * I really enjoyed reading The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Yes, it is another one of those high school coming-of-age novels, but this time coming from a fresh perspective. Powerful, beautifully written and laced with humour, this is a definite must-read for any fan of YA fiction - particularly those that fancy something a little bit different. -- Julia Mitchell * Inquire * Ness handles weighty issues with tender humour and concern that stops this book from becoming an intense novel of teen angst. With incredible writing, captivating characters and a storyline that's a joy from the first page to the last, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a compelling read that deserves to be another massive hit for Ness. -- Cara Fielder * We Love This Book * Carnegie medal-winning Ness brilliantly inverts the tropes of dystopian teen drama [...] so the ordinary ones - Mikey and his friends - are the ones whose stories grip you. Beautifully written and searingly truthful, it is full of love, fear and understanding. * Evening Express * Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a dystopian adventure that mocks dystopian adventures while acknowledging the genre's power to reveal truths, particularly about teenage lives [...] Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness. -- Andrea Reece * Lovereading 4 Kids * Written with warmth and intelligence, this wonderful coming-of-age story has everything you could want: adventure, mystery, love, humour, friendship, supernatural activity... * Inis Reading Guide * Just as with More Than This and his acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy, Ness shows he's a master at creating nuanced, rounded male protagonists and captivating tales with realistic young characters. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an excellent addition to his canon. * The List * I'm really excited about this! It's one of those rare books that I miss now I'm not reading it [...] The characters are also enviably brilliant and unique. They feel like real people: flawed, lovely, annoying and likeable. Even the minor characters feel well-developed, like each of them has a story worth telling [...] This is a moving, unique book that I'd recommend to absolutely everyone! * YA Under My Skin * A smart, funny and moving must-read! * Absolutely Dulwich * ...the enjoyment in the story comes from Ness
facility with character, action and, particularly, dialogue. We are presented with characters and situations that we have seen in one form or another in many novels and films for young people and the author consistently draws our attention to it. Nevertheless, this accomplished and intriguing novel is entirely convincing in itself

. * Books for Keeps * clear frontrunner amongst the new fiction titles is Patrick Ness
novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Lyrical prose, a tightly woven tale and fascinating ideas combine to make this powerful story one that lingers in the mind long after the final page has been turned

[...] Sharp, funny and thoughtful in its unusual approach, it's a book to savour through the long evenings. * Ham & High * The story combines pathos with slick and funny dialogue, genuine suspense and moving relationships. * i (The Independent) * The story combines pathos with funny dialogue, genuine suspense (that dead deer is especially creepy) and moving relationships. There are more positive role models than you can shake a stick at and if it all gets a bit mushy by the end, at least the world, even when the school explodes, is not some dystopian nightmare. * The Independent * The beauty of this fast-paced, funny and light-hearted novel is that in slightly shifting the spotlight away from the Chosen Ones, the expected heroes, the obvious saviours, Ness makes a critical comment on our anxiety of being forgotten and our desire for life to have meaning. It's an anxiety and desire we all feel from time to time, but something that will resonate especially strongly with teen readers. * The Scotsman * Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short [...] Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness. * Absolutely Dulwich * A new Patrick Ness novel is always a cause for celebration, but this one is also a delightful surprise - a witty send-up of all those YA novels, films and cult TV classics where a group of teenagers battle alien invasions, angels, demons, vampires, zombies and the like and save the world of course. [...] This life affirming novel is Ness at his best. * The School Librarian * What if you aren't born to be a hero? [...] From this acclaimed author, you can be certain that the answer is right out of the ordinary. * Families * This is a clever, enjoyable take on the high school movie [...] Readers will love the smart, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque dialogue and whip-fast pace. * Literary Review * I was bowled over by Ness's brilliant ability to create characters the reader can care about and identify with. Although they live in a fantasy world, these teenagers have lives beset with genuine teen age anxieties (OCD, unrequited love, sexual confusion, difficult and/or overbearing parents, anorexia, jealousy), and it is this especially which makes The Rest Of Us Just Live Here such a rewarding read. * Armadillo Magazine * The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is guaranteed to entertain and fascinate as it plays with and pokes fun at trends and conventions in young adult fiction (vampires, demons, paranormal activity) while showcasing the outwardly uneventful lives of those usually cast as background characters in the average fantasy high-school tale. [...] As in When I Was Me, eventually it all implodes, and then it makes brilliant sense. * The Observer * I thought that this book started with a really interesting premise because usually in a book like this you follow the action heroes and not the bystanders. This meant that reading it was far better because it's difficult to relate to someone who's slaying vampires whereas someone who has OCD and is dealing with homework issues is far easier to understand. -- Reader Review * Teen Titles * This book was a really good mix of sad and funny and expertly explores the lives of more ordinary teenagers in a YA world - though it also shows that no life is `ordinary'. [...] It's a really good insight into a teenage life [...] and is a must-read for any teen going through the fun(?) if growing up - they'll see themselves reflected in the book, and learn that change is OK (really). * Teen Titles, reader review *

About the Author

Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. His father was a drill sergeant in the US Army. He lived in Hawaii until he was almost six, spent the ten years after that in suburban Washington state, and then on to Los Angeles, where he studied English Literature at the University of Southern California.

His main job after graduating was as corporate writer at a cable company, writing manuals, form letters and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival (this is true). If you're American and hated your cable company, he probably wrote you a letter of apology.

He got his first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on his first novel when he moved to London in 1999. He's lived here ever since. Sometimes he teaches creative writing but mostly he tries to write 1,000 words a day, 'come hell or high water'.

In May 2008, he published The Knife of Never Letting Go, his first book for young adults. It won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize and he hasn't looked back since. Click here to read a Q&A with Patrick.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Patrick Ness

1. He has a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. He has run two marathons.
3. He is a certified scuba diver.
4. He wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. He has never been to New York City but...
6. He has been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. He got accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. He was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. He is no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will he eat onions.

Author photo © Helen Giles

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Book Info

Publication date

27th August 2015


Patrick Ness

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Walker Books Ltd


352 pages
Interest Age: From 14 years


NewGen - YA Fiction
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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