Four of Five stars on the Goodreads is what I gave this. I honestly could have given it a better rating if it wasn’t for the gimmick, though maybe the gimmick is why I read the book.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here follows four graduating seniors dealing with friendship, relationships, and family as they get ready to embark on the next stage of their lives.
Now the gimmick: They live in a world where supernatural stuff keeps happening around them, but they’re not the chosen ones, so they’re just trying to live normal lives while the indie kids go off to save the day and try not to get killed (and lots of indie kids get killed).
If it wasn’t for the gimmick, I think this might have been a better book. The supernatural asides didn’t make a meaningful contribution, even when they were integrated into the plot. It was mostly, oh look at this here, and moving on.
The bulk of the gimmick exists as summaries at the beginning of chapters to let you know what supernatural things are happening behind the scenes. Mostly, it was a forgettable distraction. When I was able to sit and read several chapters at a time, it was easier to follow that plot, but unnecessary.
As for the real story, it follows four friends (Mike, Jared, Mel, and Henna) working their way through the last few weeks of the school year. Mike and Mel are siblings with mental health issues. Henna is a sister whose brother disappeared with parental issues. Jared is a son whose mother disappeared with cat issues.
You’ve got a fairly typical base for telling a story about high schoolers, just with a gimmick thrown in. When I got into the flow of the story, it was interesting. You’re dealing in mental health and sexuality in a way you don’t get in these types of books typically. I think the story could be better than it’s selling point.
That said, the writing was a little rough at times. I appreciated some of the choices that were taken, but there were some little moments where he tried to nest in a subtle detail and then reference it later, causing me to backtrack. It just wasn’t really worth it.
I think there’s a better book hiding in here than what was written. That said, it was a light read. I enjoyed it. You don’t cure cancer with this book, but it was interesting.
Back to the gimmick. As I was reading this, it kind of made me wonder what it would be like to do a true deep dive into this concept. You could have one book that follows the chosen one then have another that then tells the story of the fringe characters. Imagine if someone told the story of Dean Thomas through seven books. He was a muggle seeing a magical world, and his most notable contribution was his roommate scamming on his ex-girlfriend and then watching said roommate save the world. That would be an interesting take.
The closest I can think of is Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On and Fangirl, where Fangirl shows the character who appears to write Carry On, though not having read Carry On, I don’t know if the actual book is based on the fan fiction in Fangirl or the actual fictional series in Fangirl, which is really confusing because I’m talking about fan faction based on a fictional story in a fictional book.
Oh well. Another day.