Life as an Extra

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

by Patrick Ness

–review by Bronto Incognito

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Age: Young Adult
Contains: Cursing, death, bullying, sex

Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for its consequences, you’re responsible for treating it. But Michael, you’re not responsible for causing it. You’re not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumour.

Book-a-likes: hard to say.  A good chunk of this book is a parody of every other YA out there, from Twilight to zombie attacks.  The rest of the story… The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This book was…so much better than I thought it was going to be.  The story follows the lives of a group of normal kids living in a universe where all the other YA books you read are possible.  Like the vampire influx that happened a few years ago.  Henna’s older brother disappeared in that one, but he still sends her emails.
But only at night.

Or the ghost attacks or undead or tons of other things that have happened.  The only thing is, they don’t happen to kids like Mikey and his friends.  They’re background players.  No, the interesting things happen to the “indie” kids.  The kind of kids that always end up being the “Chosen One” when things happen.  They’re lives are touched by specialness, but then again they die more often so it’s kind of a tossup who has things better…

Mikey has his own things to deal with, though.  His anxiety and OCD are getting worse than ever before.  His sister is still recovering from the anorexia that almost killed her.  His best friend, a biracial girl named Henna, doesn’t seem to know that he’s in love with her.  Oh, and his other best friend, Jared is the grandson of a cat goddess from when the gods invaded a couple decades ago.

There are a lot of great quotes in this story, particularly in reference to parodying all the other YA novels…

“Now you’re sure we are not going to be murdered?” Call Me Steve says, actually looking a bit nervous. “Prom night. Group of diverse teens. Remote cabin…”

But really some of the best bits are the intros to each chapter letting you know what’s happening in the other half of the story.  The INDIE KID half of the story.

CHAPTER THE SECOND, in which indie kid Satchel writes a poem, and her mom and dad give her loving space to just feel what she needs to; then an indie kid called Dylan arrives at her house, terrified, to say a mysterious glowing girl has informed him of the death of indie kid Finn; Satchel and Dylan comfort each other, platonically.

Or, my personal fav, this one…

CHAPTER THE TENTH, in which indie kids Joffrey and Earth disappear from their homes, their bodies found miles away; Satchel goes into hiding at an abandoned drive-in with fellow indie kids Finn, Dylan, Finn, Finn, Lincoln, Archie, Wisconson, Finn, Aquamarine, and Finn; seeing a blue light in the night, Satchel meets the boy from the amulet, the handsomest one she’s ever seen; he tells her this isn’t a safe place for her or the others and that they should run; then he tells her she’s beautiful in her own special way and that’s when she knows she can trust him; the indie kids go back to their homes.

Seriously, tell me you haven’t read that book before.  Tell me you haven’t read it like a thousand times.

twilight edward life now bella

Both halves of the story are great, though I will say their casual views on sex and what it means in a relationship aren’t really my cup of tea, but it wasn’t a big part of the story so oh well.
Plus the book does a really great job of dealing with the issues surrounding mental illness and how to handle everyday life alongside it.

Overall I’d have to recommend this one, especially if you’re like me and tired of seeing the same 5 story lines over and over and over in YA.  For serious….

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–Bronto Incognito

bronto 10a

And don’t forget to check out some of our other recent reviews!!!

stargirl                                            killer extinct

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