Book Festival preview: Patrick Ness

This article is from 2015

Book Festival preview: Patrick Ness

credit: Debbie Smyth

Chaos Walking author launches new Young Adult novel at the book festival

If the memory of coming home from school and watching Buffy leaves you with a warm glow in your stomach, Patrick Ness' new book is for you. But rather than being yet another 'Chosen One' story, The Rest of Us Just Live Here focuses – as its title suggests – on a group of high school students who exist on the sidelines of magical happenings.

'A lot of people mention "The Zeppo" episode of Buffy,' Ness says, 'where Xander has his own adventure. This book is about all those kids that didn’t even get to speak a line, the ones that sat at the back of the class and just wanted to graduate without a giant snake eating them.'

Ness comments on the proliferation of 'Chosen One' books for young people; the Harry Potters and the Hunger Games of this world – even his own award-winning Chaos Walking series. In The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Mike and his friends are working up to the end of high school and tackling their 'ordinary' problems – unrequited love, neglectful parents, mental health issues – while other, more-lavishly named indie-kid high schoolers fight demons in the background.

'Why do heroes and heroines tend to have slightly … let’s say unusual names?' Ness laughs. 'What about Mike, you know? Why doesn’t Mike ever get his own book? So in a way this is kind of the Book of Mike, because he deserves a book too.'

He'll be launching the novel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, two days before the rest of the UK gets its hands on it. 'I love Edinburgh,' he says. 'I’ve been there five or six years in a row, and it’s been sunny every single time. So I think I bring the sun.' Here's hoping.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 25 Aug, 5pm, £4.50.

Patrick Ness

The writer discusses and signs copies of his latest novel Release. American author Patrick Ness writes short stories, screenplays and novels, for both adults and children. His books include The Rest of Us Just Live Here and A Monster Calls, which was adapted into a 2017 film starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and…