The Other Normals

The Other Normals
Age Range
Release Date
September 25, 2012
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Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn't happening—not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls—rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he's in for the worst summer of his life.

Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he's ever met. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well. Bestselling author Ned Vizzini delivers a compulsively readable and wildly original story about the winding and often hilarious path to manhood.

Editor review

1 review
RPG fiction
(Updated: September 27, 2012)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Peregrine, aka Perry, is very involved in a Role Playing Game, Creatures and Caverns, to the extent where his divorced parents decide it would be best if he spent the summer at Camp Whisiska Lake . Perry doesn't want to go, because he's concerned about his brother, who seems to be slipping further and further into alcohol addiction, and because he has recently made a friend, Sam, who is also into RPGs. When he gets to camp, he finds that Sam is there but doesn't want to talk to him, especially about gaming. The other kids are tough, and Perry gets into a fight. When he ends up at the nurse's office, he meets Mortin Enaw, the author of the manual for Creatures and Caverns, and is suddenly whisked into the world of The Other Normals. Perry is thrilled at first, but soon finds out that things are not going well; Martin has a problem smoking "earth pebbles", and the whole world is in danger of collapse because the princess Ophisa has been captured. In order to get her back, he needs to go back to his own world and kiss a girl named Anna. He tries, but it ends very badly, and he heads back to the Other Normals. There, he and a group of Martin's compatriots, including a beautiful girl named Ada, have a number of adventures while trying to avoid being arrested, eaten, and otherwise abused while trying to restore Ophisa. Juggling the two worlds is difficult, especially since going from one to the other usually ends in Perry being naked. After the various journeys, Perry begins to realize that what happens in the World of the Other Normals effects what happens in his world. Can Perry solve the problems in both worlds AND get a girl in one of them?
Good Points
There isn't a lot of fiction about RPGs, and big fantasy readers are often interested in these games. This was fairly adventurous, and Perry is a character that many teens will understand. I could see my geeky 16 year old son enjoying this one a lot, and since he is out of the country, I've given a copy to a student who is into Dungeons and Dragons, and he's enjoying it. Vizzini paints a convincing world of game characters come to life and there are some laugh out loud funny moments in this book.
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