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.
Why I liked it: The main plot line in The Rest of Us Just Live Here is fairly normal. Mike and Mel are brother and sister, just a year apart. He suffers from OCD and she is all recovering from anorexia. Their mother is a state senator running for Congress, their father is an alcoholic, and both contribute to the stress triggering Mike and Mel's issues. Since Mike and Mel are about to graduate high school and head off to college, they are especially concerned as to how their younger sister, whom they consider to be the best of all of them, will fare without them.
The subplot lines in the novel incorporate elements of fantasy and the supernatural. For example, Jared is Mike's gay best friend whose father runs against their mother in every political race, but he is also part god with healing powers and the strange ability to attract cats. There's also Nathan, a new guy at school, whom Mike suspects Nathan has something to do with the mysterious deaths of the indie kids. And then there's some zombie-like creatures, explosions, and incidents in the past that adults won't speak of.
Classroom application: This would be a great add to your high school classroom library as it would appeal to male and female students, realistic fiction and fantasy fans alike.
There are some very tender, small moments in the novel that could be used in excerpt form as mentor texts. Mike and Mel's visit with their grandmother, when Mike helps Mel eat by feeding her, and when Jared calms Mike after some incessant hand washing are all moments from the novel that could stand alone and serve as a model of how to focus in on a moment in time.
For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:
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