Patrick Ness' snark towards nowadays' YA novels about the Chosen One and the heroine with the quirky name always in the middle of a love triangle, was pure gold! It made me chuckle everytime because I could recognize the pattern of almost all of the dystopias I read in the past year and a half. About the genre, he was not trying to shame on it, he was merely taking the sh*t out of these stories, pointing out how poorly contemporary authors plot them. And I agree.
The book doesn't focus on this matter though, not in the way you might think diving into it.
"We share out craziness, our neuroses, our little bit of screwed-up-ness that comes from our family. We share it. And it feels like love."
The story focuses on a group of friends, Mikey, Jared, Henna, Mel, Meredith and Nathan and their struggles through adolescence: crushes, mental illnesses, sexualities etc Every now and then they find themselves witnessing explosions, weird zombie-like beings, mysterious lights, indie kids running around town (and eventually dying) without ever being involved in the action. They just wait for the entire place to blow up or for the end of the world or for the Chosen One to save the day. It's an old story. Happens almost every year. We find ourselves in a universe that recognizes vampires and ghosts and deities and other paranormal entities as real threats (at least teenagers do, adults always deny the obvious because *angsty teenage voice* they don't understand us! *drama queens her way out of the room*).
I was surprised at how little action we witnessed. I thought we were going to read about a group of kids actually being around the heroes and looking at them while they saved the world. The book instead was about a normal group of friends who just wanted to graduate and find their place in the world. Which was fine but wasn't what I signed up for. Hence the 3 stars.
I liked it though, the characters were flawed, and not flawed because they were oh so different but because they were going through what every one of us goes through, so I found them pretty relatable. Also, I liked the take on mental illness:
"For now, as a start, I'd like to put you on some medication. Why are you making that face?"
"Medication... is a failure?"
"The biggest one. Like I'm so broken, I need medical help."
"Cancer patients don’t call chemotherapy a failure. Diabetics don’t call insulin a failure."
And the characters didn't just heal because a pretty boy/girl kissed them on the cheek.
I'd recommend it to you if you're looking for a normal gang of teenagers who just happens to live in a town full of Chosen Ones that never fail to blow something up. And because Patrick Ness' writing is hilarious! I'll surely check other books of his in the future!