Recently, Maureen at By Singing Light had a post called Not the Chosen One. This is one of the books she talked about, which I just happen to have finished recently. It’s also one I considered putting on my Top 10 Audiobooks, except that I’ve only listened to it once so far.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. Performed by James Fouhey. Blackstone Audio/ Harper, 2015.
Mikey is about to finish his senior year of high school, and he and his circle of friends are all hoping that things will go OK. He’ll (hopefully) be graduating with his older sister Mel, and his friends Henna and Jared. It all seems like a perfectly ordinary kind of set-up with a cast nicely sprinkled with mental and physical diversity – Mel is recovering from eating disorders, Henna is half Finnish, half African-American, Jared is overweight and gay, Mikey struggles with anxiety and OCD. All of them have parents who are incompetent in various ways. Mikey’s long-term silent crush on Henna is disturbed by the arrival of a handsome new boy to whom Henna is instantly attracted. But Jared is also part divine, a minor cat god who’s followed by cats wherever he goes. He even more than the others works hard to avoid becoming an Indie Kid, and they all know their hopes of a calm senior year are doomed when they see a column of blue light coming from the woods by their school and one of the Indie Kids runs past.
Because the Indie Kids are the ones things happen to. What happens depends on the year – beautiful vampires, ghosts, or the Indie Kids dying beautifully of cancer. (Those who follow trends in teen entertainment will recognize many of these.) Some things, though, stay the same. The Indie Kids will usually save the day, some of them will die, some regular kids might get caught up in it, the high school will likely be destroyed in the big final battle. And the adults will not notice anything unusual happening.
In a delightful twist, the chapter headings tell the story of what’s happening to the Indie Kids, while the main story continues with Mikey’s point of view, trying desperately to keep out of things, stay sane, keep the people he loves safe, and find the courage to ask Henna to the prom. His voice is both snarky and serious and a delight to listen to. Narrator James Fouhey does a great job transitioning between epic movie announcer voice for the chapter descriptions and Mikey’s not-quite-settled into his adult voice. My love and I both very much enjoyed the audiobook. Recommended for fans of Buffy, snark, and subversive storytelling.