The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm not only surprised and delighted after reading this, but I was surprised and delighted *while* reading it from almost the very start.
I went, "Oh cool, it's almost like the UF YA version of a Redshirts satire, where the Indie kids all die or don't while immortals create rifts in the high school universe and there's multiple Indie Flynns and gods and ghosts and vampires roam the halls, fall in love, and then die like little preeeecious flowers,... and everyone else just lives there. Satire! A light, YA satire or even a full-on lampoon of the entire industry."
I was hooked. I had only been reading a few pages.
Little did I know that I could *then* begin reading it on multiple levels, even having our endearingly flawed non-Indie narrator spelling it out for us, that all the magic doesn't necessarily have to be real for us to believe it, but he does, and so does his friends, and that's cool and he doesn't have to believe our reality, either. :)
Okay! That's pretty damn well awesome and clearly stated and I can't love either interpretation more than I already do.
And strangely enough, all these quirky-queer deer-god encounters only compliments and deepens the other half of the story, which is actually about finding your way to adulthood and exploring possibilities.
But you ask, "Isn't that what all these UF YA novels do?"
Sure, but I haven't read any that has been as self-consciously entertaining, creative, or straightforward about it. Ness knows the industry like a master. All those quirky flavors of the mass market teeny-books are expressed so deftly and interestingly in their own right, and I fairly stood up and started clapping at the chapter summaries... (Right before I began parsing how those chapter summaries *actually* fit into the real text. (Which is often not clear at first glance, but also completely unnecessary for our enjoyment of the text.:))
I think Patrick Ness might be becoming one of those *always read* authors for me. I can't *not* trust that he'll be creative, clear, and a veritable master of his craft. Not only that, but I seem to be having a huge amount of fun every time I read his work.
Okay, it's only up to two books, now, but you get the idea. Anyone who can hit a home run like this, twice out of two, has got my attention.
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