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.
Tl;Dr: The Rest of Us Just Live Here is simultaneously a hilarious side-eye at the regularly repeated “choosen one” trope in YA lit and a painfully accurate window into the mind of someone suffering from anxiety and OCD. It will give you a lot of feelings if you can relate to Mike’s anxiety, I don’t know that it would impact someone who does not share that experience the same way.
I expected this book to be kind of a silly reverse of the typical YA book plot. I did not expect it to be a serious story about some of the very real issues the rest of us not chosen ones deal with that would be give me all the feels. It turned out to be both.
Let me start by saying I have anxiety. I spend a lot of time worrying that people don’t actually like me and just tolerate me to be polite, and probably an equal amount of time feeling like I’m the friend people wouldn’t miss.
I am telling you all this because this is something that Mikey, the main character of The Rest of Us Just Live Here, experiences regularly. As the book is written in first person, these experiences are regularly and heavily emphasized. Personally, I think this is the reason the book has such mixed reviews. People who relate to Mikey really enjoy it, people who don’t understand what he is experiencing seem to get bored. This is kinda disappointing for me because I want to say this is a fantastic book to read if you are fortunate enough to not have to deal with a mutinous mind to help better understand those who do, but a lot of people instead seem to find what I found really relateable to be an annoyance. Which is a bummer, and I think shows society has a long way to go in terms of breaking down the stigma of mental health, but that is neither here nor there.
The book is really about recognizing that you don’t have to be “the chosen one” for your life to have meaning. Those of us who don’t wake up with weird powers and visions speaking of the apocalypse have still have valid problems and experiences and there is no shame you doing you.
The book is also an exceptionally on point sass-master response to the whole “chosen one” trope. Every chapter starts with a quick explanation of what is going on with the indie kid story in the background. I thought this was super, super clever. First, because it was just interesting to have the narrative flipped so that what is normally the main story gets moved to something going on in the background. Second, it is just so accurate it hurts. This is coming from someone who LOVES YA fantasy/adventure stories, okay. Those books are fabulous- I actually intend to write quite a few myself- but that doesn’t make the commentary any less accurate. I genuinely laughed out loud multiple times. Its fabulous.
Personally, I loved it. Loved every second of it. I loved how real Mike was. I loved how when he actually was acting like a jealous twat Henna always put him in his place. I really loved the hilarious descriptions of the indie kids’ stories at the start of every chapter. All around a fab book.