The Other Normals

The Other Normals

Book - 2012
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"A boy is sent to camp to become a man--but ends up on a fantastical journey that will change his life forever"--Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Balzer + Bray, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062079909
Branch Call Number: YF Vizz
Characteristics: 387 p.


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Mar 02, 2019

Ned Vizzini writes great books. As with all of them, this book is full of weird characters who are easily related to. This one does a good job of addressing anxiety without necessarily delving into the disorder. The plot was definitely engaging, and I would probably have liked it even more if I was more familiar with RPGs. I did have a hard time with how the book talked about and viewed female characters, which was kind of hard to stomach because the book also seemed to make an attempt to assert the importance of treating women with respect. It was strange, because on one page a female character would tell a male character that you shouldn't ask women if you can kiss them, you should just kiss them, and then on the next page a male character would be outraged by other men sexualizing women.

Which, like, okay, heads up guys: you definitely shouldn't just go around kissing girls. Ask them if it's okay first.

FindingJane Dec 10, 2014

Ned Vizzini’s talents as an author remain indisputable. Here, he deftly captures the escapist fun that lies at the heart of any geek boy’s love of RPGs as well as the inherent danger of being sucked too deeply into them. The novel takes the idea of fantasy game playing and plays tribute to and derides it at the same time.

Both Perry’s human friends and attenuate allies (the other normals of the title) try to dodge the freakishness that Perry willfully saddles himself with, against all advice. His lone fellow player Sam is eager to play with him on the sly but avoids Perry when Sam’s with his “cool” friends. Girls don’t like game players so Perry can’t connect with them at all. Perry also suffers the additional stigma of being the only white kid at the summer camp his parents force him to attend.

In short, the protagonist is the ultimate outsider and his efforts to blend in result in disaster and hilarity—sometimes both at once. It’s a thrilling, tongue-in-cheek adventure about a quest that never happens, rescuing a captured princess that may not exist and getting the wrong girlfriend. “The Other Normals” captures the wit and amusement that “Geek Fantasy Novel” should have had and utterly failed to achieve.

Dec 29, 2013

A great and funny book by the sadly deceased author, Ned Vizzini. How tragic that the last twelve months have seen the deaths of such greats as Iain Banks, Ned Vizzini, and several other fine authors! His last book, so do enjoy it!

Dec 04, 2013

This book is so amazing, it is so easy to picture what the author is trying to depict. I just loved how it's so similar to Dungeons and Dragons (although I've never played it but been around to know what it's about) I completed reading it last night-[reading 45 chapters at 2AM]. Tis book is so addictive i could not put it down!
-Richard D. Dye

JCLChrisK May 27, 2013

Okay, one quick example: Perry, the book's main character, plays a game called Creatures & Caverns, which is clearly meant to represent Dungeons & Dragons. At the start of the book he goes to a game shop, where the owner offers him a new rulebook and a pewter miniature to represent his character. He immediately says yes to the rulebook since his parents will give him the money for that, but tells us the figurines are much more expensive and he'd need a job to be able to afford one. I play D&D, and the last time I was at the game shop the rulebooks were running around $40 and the miniatures usually less than $10.
It's Vizzini's story and he can make the prices of his imaginary game whatever he wants, but that example illustrates my experience with just about every aspect of his story: all of it was just a little off and I couldn't quite buy into it. Not just little nit-picky facts about obscure games, but the way Perry acted and thought, character dialogue, reactions, and interactions, the plot and action; none of it jived with reality enough for me to find it believable or meaningful.
And while the action was fun and at times engaging, Perry's growth and the life lesson we're supposed to learn along with him were just as off as the rest of the book. I might have given it a better rating just for the ride, but that's what ultimately ruined it for me. He's supposedly a more confident, mature, social guy at the end who has learned not obsess about fantasy stories, yet he didn't learn that from any of his interactions in the real world, but from the fantasy one, and we're supposed to learn it too by enjoying this fantasy story. That just didn't work for me.

branch_reviews Mar 13, 2013

Concerned for 15 year old Perry Eckert, his parents send him off to summer camp. They worry that Perry spends far too much time playing the game Creatures and Caverns, a magical, action filled role playing game. Perry is so absorbed in the game that he feels more comfortable there than anywhere else. Because of this, Perry’s parents send him to camp hoping to separate Perry from Creatures and Caverns. Camp is nothing what Perry expected as he stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. Perry meets one of the creators of the Creatures and Caverns game and other mythical creatures. He also meets Ada, the prettiest being he has ever seen. Now Perry has found his help, someone is needed to help these otherworldly beings save their princess. If Perry wants to save the princess he must learn to make connections with real people. Find out if Perry can be the hero for the Other Normals. Reviewed by MH


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Aug 11, 2020

olive_cobra_82 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

branch_reviews Mar 13, 2013

branch_reviews thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 15


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JCLChrisK May 27, 2013

“You can't see stars in New York."
"That's horrible. How can you live without stars? What keeps you from thinking about yourself all the time?


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