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A Turn of Events

Christina McLaughlin, Writer

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The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner Trilogy, The Divergent Series and many more are examples in the YA (young adult) book genre that showcase stories involving a savior and a quest.  This storyline has become a little overplayed as almost everyone knows about the vampires, zombies and other science fiction monsters. It’s time for some creative spark in the genre.

Which brings us to The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. A sci-fi novel published on October 6 2015, which centers around high school seniors, Mikey, Jared, Henna and Mel, trying to survive the last four weeks in hopes that the school won’t blow up (again), before they graduate. Nothing more, nothing less. Mikey and his friends are average teenagers experiencing real world problems and supporting each other to work through them.

Now, what makes this book truly science fiction are the “Indie Kids”, the teens’ peers who as Mikey explains, “… That group with the cool-geek haircuts and the charity shop clothes and names from the Fifties. Nice enough, never mean, but always the ones who end up being the Chosen One when the vampires come calling or when the alien queen needs the Source of All Light or something.”

As you can see, the main characters in this book aren’t the Chosen One but just normal teens living in a sci-fi dominated world. Well, except for Mikey’s best friend Jared, who is worshipped by cats but that’s another story. There are many sub-plots and storylines in this book, but Mikey and his friends are the cornerstone of it all.

Patrick Ness brings comedy and reality back to science fiction, not to mention a male lead which is a rarity in this female dominated genre. Ness brings to light mental and social disorders such as anxiety, depression, O.C.D and A.D.H.D which makes this book instantly relatable to today’s generation. Not to mention, the hardcover version of this book features a “Glow in the Dark” cover artwork which features the main and supporting characters and gives some insight into what this story is about.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here brought much to the table in terms of new storylines, creative outlooks and realistic outcomes. The overall message of this book can be simplified to Jared’s words to Mikey, “Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing the things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.” A deep quote coming from a senior in High School… Which is what makes this book unique all in itself.

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A Turn of Events