From Ned Vizzini, the best-selling author of It's Kind of a Funny Story and the co-author of the New York Times bestseller House of Secrets, comes this geektastic tale about role-playing and growing up. The Other Normals is a story from one of the most brilliant voices in teen literature about the winding and often hilarious path to manhood.
Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, a role-playing game 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.
Perry is bracing himself 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 mythical creatures from the game. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest together, 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.
In a departure from the realism of 2006's It's Kind of a Funny Story, Vizzini turns to fantasy with a twisted sendup of the alternate fantasy world genre. Fifteen-year-old Perry Eckert is obsessed with the D&D-style role-playing game Creatures & Caverns, to the point that his parents send him to summer camp to take a break from his obsession. There, Perry finds his way to the World of the Other Normals, a parallel world filled with fantasy creatures and danger. Flipping between worlds, Perry joins a band of stalwart rebels, embarks on a quest to save a lost princess, and tries to master his destiny. Sometimes funny, sometimes painfully awkward (Perry is so socially incompetent, he takes the stereotype of the nerdy, conversationally inept gamer to the extreme), this coming-of-age adventure captures the confusion and drama of adolescence. It lacks either the bite of satire or the earnestness of a more straightforward fantasy, leaving it somewhere in the middle, as out-of-place as Perry himself. Nevertheless, fans of surreal adventures like Libba Bray's Going Bovine will appreciate the story's odd appeal. Ages 13 up.