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Literature / The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

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The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is a 2015 Young Adult fantasy novel by Patrick Ness.

What if you aren’t The Chosen One? ("Indie kids," in the book's parlance.) 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...


The Rest Of Us Just Live Here contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: The explosion at the amphitheatre.
    • Mikey and Henna’s car accident.
  • The Alcoholic: Mel and Mikey's dad, on top of having embezzled funds from his brother-in-law's car dealership.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Mikey, Mel and Meredith’s grandmother, who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, keeps mistaking Mikey for a man named Phillip. However, nobody has any idea who he is and it’s not her late husband. It’s never revealed, but there’s some implication that Phillip could be a former lover.
  • Anyone Can Die: The "main" fantasy plot happening in the background seems to be this, with the traditional Indie protagonists dying left and right, while there are surprisingly few if any "civilian" casualties.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Averted. Mel has an eating disorder that actually killed her, and Mikey has OCD.
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  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Mikey's dad is an alcoholic who stole money from his brother-in-law, his mother cares more about her career than her family, his grandmother has Alzheimer's and is not at all lucid or stable, Mel has an eating disorder that killed her (temporarily, obviously), and Mikey has OCD. Meredith is the only one who doesn't seem to have any severe problems, but that might be because of how young she is.
  • Boy Band: Bolts of Fire. In an interesting twist, they’re a country western group instead of the more typical pop group.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Of Young Adult urban fantasy literature and “The Chosen One” narratives in general. The main cast notes that the Indies never seem to be online, and always have ridiculously unique and cool names like Finn.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The setting seems to be this, as part of the Deconstruction. It has Gods, vampires, soul eating ghosts, and a transdimensional race of immortal beings that inhabit the dead.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: The authorities' explanation for the explosion at the amphitheater.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Humans possessed by The Immortals have glowing blue eyes, and seem bear the scars and broken bones from when they died.
  • Healing Hands: Jared, as part of his divine heritage, can heal felines of their injuries as well as (to a less effective extent) humans.
  • Hero of Another Story: The indie kids. Their adventures get only a single-paragraph summary at the beginning of each chapter and only occasionally have an impact on the main story of Mikey and his friends.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jared gives up his chance of a normal life in order to become the God of Cats, because taking the gods' deal would give him the power to heal people and help his friends.
    • A couple of the indie kids die this way.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: All the beginning paragraphs describing the adventures of Satchel and the other indie kids take this format. Played for laughs a little- most of the "in which" paragraphs are very long-winded and full of semicolons, while the one during the chapter after graduation is simply "in which they blow up the high school".
  • Kid Detective: Meredith.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The entire novel is essentially one, with the teens and classmates of protagonists observing, reacting to, and wondering what all supernatural phenomena and the 'Indies' are up to.
  • Mama Bear: What Mikey's mum says she'll be.
  • The Masquerade: Most of the adults ignore the supernatural events. The gang theorizes some pretend they never saw anything, or that there's a Weirdness Censor that kicks in after a certain age. Later chapters hint that Mikey and Mel's mother does in fact remember the attack of the soul-eating ghosts and is (partly) fighting so hard to be a powerful politician to make the world safe for them.
  • New Transfer Student: Nathan, who's viewed with suspicion by Mikey for having transferred to the school five weeks before graduation.
  • Planet of Steves: One beginning-of-chapter summary lists five indie kids named Finn. Lampshaded in-universe when Mel says she thought all the indie kids were named Finn.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mikey resents and is suspicious of Nathan because he's got a thing for Henna and Henna seems to like Nathan. Nathan is actually gay and winds up having a thing with Jared, but Mikey is the only one in the group who didn't know. Had Mikey found out somehow before the bust-up with Jared, a lot could have been avoided.
  • Protective Charm: The Medallion that the indie kid Satchel has. It protects her from the Immortals, but as long as it's on Earth, they can come and chase her for it.
  • Pun-Based Title: Bolts of Fire's biggest hit, "Bold Sapphire."
  • Reality Ensues: The book makes it very clear that your typical urban fantasy novel is going to have a lot of collateral damage for everyone else, with things like buildings blowing up for no reason, people turning up dead, the herd of undead deer, and so on.
    • It also shows the kind of impact growing up in a family like Mikey's can have on someone: Mikey has virtually no respect for his parents, nor can he really trust them to be able to help when needed, because one's an alcoholic who goes to pieces a lot and the other is obsessed with her career. Too often, he and Mel are stuck handling their problems themselves, and they're both worried about Meredith becoming screwed up as well.
    • Mikey lampshades this trope when he talks about his Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother. As opposed to being a Cool Old Lady who sprouts funny and touching one liners, she’s barely lucid and doesn’t recognize her family, in particular Mikey who she keeps calling "Phillip."
  • Refusal of the Call: Jared has all of the makings of an indie kid: he’s gay, he is part god on his mother’s side and his first name is an Awesome Mc Coolname “Mercury”. He is fully aware of this and, knowing the kind of trouble this brings and would rather simply wash his hands of the whole thing and enjoy a normal life. Averted in the case of his subplot. After his grandmother — the original God of Cats — retired years ago and his own mother off doing her own business, the Gods come to Jared time and time again to ask him to take her place. He eventually agrees on the condition that they up his healing abilities and they allow him to go through college before he ascends.
  • The Rival: Mikey views Nathan as this.
  • The Shrink: Of the Awesome variety with Dr. Luther.
  • Suburbia: Mikey describes where he lives as "a suburb of a suburb of a suburb of a suburb of a city that takes about a hour to get to."
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Mikey and Mel went to (and Mikey later on returns to see) a therapist for their issues.
  • Weirdness Censor: The coverup for the supernatural explosion in the arena is a gas main exploding.


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