Ray (raycun) wrote,
Ray
raycun

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness

Science fiction is, as Samuel R Delany pointed out, a place where a metaphor like "her world exploded" can be literally true. Young Adult SF is where teenage emotions can be made real. All adults really are evil or useless. They really are out to get you. Your world really could come to an end.
Patrick Ness has written the books where the fate of the world rests on two teenagers, but here he's inverting the genre. Yes, okay, so there are strange blue beams of light and possessed adults and zombie animals - but who has time to worry about all that stuff when you're finishing school and the girl you love is a few weeks from leaving town forever without you telling her how you feel?
So - weird stuff is happening. Again. But that's an indie kid thing and while they (Finn, Satchel, Dylan, Finn, Kerouac, Finn, Finn and the others) deal with it, everyone else tries to get on with their lives. Going to the prom, waitroning at the weekend, and dealing with maybe being the least important member of the group of friends.
A book like this stands or falls on narrative voice, and for me that voice worked. Here's an excerpt -
"CHAPTER THE FOURTH, in which Satchel and Dylan sit in a coffeehouse with understated live music and discuss what Satchel’s uncle told them; Dylan also tells her it’s clear that second indie kid Finn has feelings for her; Satchel doesn’t see that this is Dylan’s way of saying that HE has feelings for her, too; later, the Messenger of the Immortals makes a surprising offer to indie kid Kerouac.

OK, look, I gotta get some stuff out of the way. I wish I didn’t, but it’s necessary. This doesn’t define me or any of the people I love, okay? It’s just life. And we’ve moved on.

But you gotta know.

So.

Four years ago, when I was 13 and she was still 14, my sister had a heart attack. It was caused by arrhythmia, which was caused by Mel starving herself to death.

In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, she died. They were able to revive her, obviously, but the fact remains that, for three or four minutes, she was gone, we’d lost her. She says she doesn’t remember anything about it: no lights, no tunnels, no angels or old relatives or prickly faced Labradors to help her with her journey to the other side. But weirdly, she doesn’t remember the opposite either. She doesn’t remember nothingness or emptiness or oblivion. Her memory stops before the heart attack and picks up again in the hospital."

The chapter headings are like that throughout, headings taken from the other novel that would be written about the indie kids and the Immortals invading the world. But the chapters are in Mikey's voice, and his concerns are more mundane.
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