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The Other Normals Hardcover – September 25, 2012

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-Perry Eckert loves to read Creatures and Caverns rule books and make up characters, but he doesn't play with anyone. That changes when he meets Sam and creates a new character that is a ferrule-a humanoid with red skin, yellow hair, and a tail. When Perry begins to cut classes to play with Sam, his parents decide to send him to Camp Washiska Lake where he will have to interact with "regular" kids and be without his beloved game. Not long after arriving, Perry meets an actual ferrule and travels to the World of the Other Normals. The ferrule, Mortin Enaw, and his intern, Ada Ember, explain to him that our world and theirs correspond to each other so that actions in one affect the other. Mortin studies these correspondences and has determined that if Perry kisses a certain girl at his camp, then the princess of his world will be rescued from a giant snake/insect creature. Adventures ensue in the other world involving police with octopus tentacles instead of legs and frog-headed courtesans but, in the end, it is at the summer camp where events come to a head. Vizzini has created a likable geek in Perry and an interesting alternate world that could easily be the setting for more adventures. This book will be enjoyed by readers open to something that straddles the line between fantasy and science fiction.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this uproarious fantasy, the fate of the world rests on a simple kiss—only, for “Mini Pecker” Perry Eckert, kissing a girl is far from simple. Stuck at summer camp because his parents think his obsession with role-playing games is stunting his growth, Perry chances upon a real-life version of a creature from his game and discovers the World of the Other Normals. It’s just like his RPG so Perry feels at home, but he is disappointed when the quest they assign him is in the world he would prefer to leave behind. In order to free a kidnapped princess in their world, Perry must kiss her correspondent in his, an unattainable girl named Anna. To succeed, Perry has to develop an entirely new set of skills—social skills. Despite the occasional strain on credulity, Perry is lovably awkward, and his goofy eagerness is offset by his bitingly funny observations. The fantasy world—full of creatures, monsters, and battles—will appeal to genre fans, but Vizzini’s true strength is in authentically depicting the skills needed to survive growing up, puberty and all. Grades 9-12. --Krista Hutley

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; First Edition edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062079905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062079909
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karielle @ Books à la Mode on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 387
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review

I've been a Ned Vizzini fan since way way back. I recall purchasing a first edition hardcover copy of Be More Chill at a school book fair the moment it hit the shelves; reveling in his next release, It's Kind of a Funny Story; and the pride/nostalgia/elation I felt when I discovered the latter had been turned into a movie.

So I was a little more than excited to try his newest, The Other Normals, which is for a slightly different audience, but regardless full of his typical teen angst (see what I did there?) and literally laugh-out-loud-able humor. Many thanks to Ned for the ARC!

The book could read middle grade because of the high-fantasy elements that teenagers might rather roll their eyes at, as well as Perry's inexplicable dorkiness -- though it is the essence of his character, which I absolutely loved -- but the content is more mature: a bit of mild swearing, sexuality, and just plain giggle-worthy inappropriateness... giggle-worthingly inappropriate for middle-grade boys, that is (penis jokes, anyone?). Nothing offensive to me obviously, but I can imagine some parents disapproving. On the other hand, it's extremely child-friendly. The Other Normals is the kind of book you want your children to stay away from, but whose story you don't want them to miss out on. Honestly, if you're a parent reading this, just be a cool mom/dad and hand it over to your kid. So what if they learn more than a few ways to name the male genitalia? The deep recesses of a teenage boy's mind are bound to contain far more incriminating thoughts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JB on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I must be a 15 year old boy at heart because I think this book is freaking awesome. It's funny, amazingly sharp, and very enjoyably satirical about RPG's, summer camp, ethnic and gender and cool vs nerd tensions (like when a friend is forced to ignore you due to the threat to their own social status), and also the ridiculous demands of plot whether in fantasy or for-the-sake-of-argument realistic worlds. Great moments: the sign outside Camp Washiska stating "No Lawyers Beyond This Point", and the behavior of creatures in a fantasy world strongly resembling our own: "Centaurs, perhaps, would catch us, but the centaurs are as amused as everyone else, watching with the same detached glee that people do when there's a fire in Manhattan or a car accident or a homeless person yelling at a rich woman for no reason."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Addison Crowell on February 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was amazing. It is a great book for kids who like video games and fantasy stuff, had stuff about strange summer camps,and a lot of stuff about gender. It was extremely funny, especially when Perry took his pants off. I had to admit it had a lot of swears and stuff in it. I would probably recommend this for kids 11+. Kids who play RPG games would definitely get more out of this then other people. It was well paced and had a good story. I'm a gamer myself and its nice to see people writing a book about a awkward kid.

I really liked this author's book, I have been segregated a group of kids who love video games and fantasy stuff,and I will probably look up to this book in the future. It was funny to meet his RPG idol in another world! He's very similar to me as my parents always force me to go to summer camps, and always insult my fantasy hobbies. It also had a lot of "crude" humor (coming in naked to the world of other normals,racism, and penis jokes". This was probably one of the best gaming and RPG books ever. However I would have to rate this a 4 because of swears and stuff... I freaking' loved it because of everything else.(;
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CTMom on November 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Much of this book was entertaining, but other parts seemed to be a bit forced. Perry was an fun main character, but he was supposed to be 15. He acted, however more like he was 12 or 13 & I found that really distracting. He's at his best, and seems more his age, though when he's transported into the world of Other Normals- a world seemingly ripped from the role-playing game that he loves and would spend all his time playing if only the grownups in his life would leave him alone.

I think kids who are interested in RPGs will get a lot more out of this story than most other readers. It's certainly a creative story, but it stumbled a bit for me in the way it reinvented itself as it went along.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What a shame it is that this author passed away. This book could have easily become a beloved series. It captures the youth of this realistic non-cookie-cutter teenage boy so perfectly. He's an outcast, someone who doesn't fit into any of the cliques. His parents are divorced, and both dating their divorce attorneys (hilarious, by the way). And all he wants to do is create characters for a role-playing game (which he's never played, because he has no one to play with him). That alone makes this book remarkable and moving. BUT IT GOES ON! In today's fiction market, there's a category called magical realism. What Ned Vizzini has done with this book is give the reader Fantasy Realism! (Yes, that's an exclamation point. And honestly, this book does it so well that I'm going to leave three more here just because that's how I really feel. !!! ) For my fellow Harry Potter fans-- Imagine if you found a portkey and it took you to Diagon Alley. That's basically the idea here. Oh, and then you'd have to escape some evil wizards to get back. And then deal with dating and dances as a teenager attempting those things for the first time. And your world would be different, but you're the only one who would know. And then more stuff would happen to make this even more "epic" yet. Yes, that's a way to describe this book. If you read or write fantasy, if you've ever felt like you didn't belong to ANY of the available groups or cliques, or if you enjoy tabletop RPG -- go, read this book. Now. Seriously. You're welcome.
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