The astounding and engaging novel asks what if you aren’t the Chosen One? What if it isn’t you who’s meant to save the world from a universal crisis? What do we do then, because truthfully, not all of us can be the Chosen One. I mean, that’s the whole point, right? The Chosen One?
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.
An exceptional novel from the author praised by John Green as “an insanely beautiful writer”.
When I was scrolling online, I came across a quote from Ness that read, “I have so much sympathy for the unchosen ones because I always assumed I’d be one of them.” It sounded awfully melancholy and pessimistic to me, so I kept scrolling. But I found that days later I was still thinking about it, unable to get it out of my head.
So I decided to do some research; I thought if I at least found the context in which he was speaking about I could put it to rest and stop thinking about it. Only when I discovered that, in fact, he was talking about his book, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, the exact opposite happened and I knew that I absolutely had to read it.
Of course I was interested in it. A book that’s main characters weren’t actually the ones going through what was happening? That’s rare. How often do you find that a novel’s protagonist isn’t the person in the midst of everything that is going on? Never. But more than that, how can you write a story about something without the characters actually being there and knowing very little about it? At the very least I wanted an example of how some writers can be so brilliant that they can actually pull this off.
I can genuinely say that I fell in love with this book. It’s honest, realistic and true, and shows us how it can can feel to be lost amongst people, yet also how to let the people who care about you find you.
I sort of expected the main characters to tell the story as if they’re watching it, like a third narrator, because I didn’t know how else the story could be told. But I realise now that what’s actually happening, the crisis that everyone needs to be saved from, wasn’t actually the point in the story.
The story is about the lives of the people who are not involved. Sometimes the problems in the world have nothing to do with us, and we can’t always be the ones to save everyone from them. What matters is that we live our own lives and manage to find happiness despite all that is happening around us, because most of the time, that’s what the rest of us that just live here do.
Ness taught me that I don’t need to be a superhero to inspire or to have a great story. Living life the way I want to, in the way I choose, despite of everything happening around me makes me remarkable in my own kind of way.
“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. 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.” – Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
Not everything is tied up at the end of the book, but in life it never is. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers in life, and most of the time we aren’t the ones “chosen” to find those answers. For the most part, we just have to find a way to be ourselves and to be happy despite everything that’s happening in the world around us, because we can’t fix everything. Sometimes that’s the best and most freeing thing.
So I’ll let you in on a secret: not being the “Chosen One” isn’t the worst thing in the world.