The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
Expected Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Young Adult, Ages 13+
ARC copy used for review.
Personal Ranking 3.5 out of 5
"This is a story about becoming a man"Perry Eckert is just like any other fifteen year-old boy. Well, one whose parents are divorced and now dating their divorce attorneys and a brother who is in desperate need of rehab. Perry has found an escape from reality in the form of the role-playing game, Creatures & Caverns. In fact, if C&C is all Perry ever does again it would be just fine with him. Convinced his parents aren't paying attention, he starts skipping classes to play with a boy named Sam, a friend from a neighboring school. But, his parents concerned about his recent behavior and his lack of social skills decide to ship him off to summer camp at Camp Washiska Lake. But Perry is in for more than just the dull summer he bargained for when he stumbles into the world of the Other Normals. Turns out the world of C&C actually exists, and with the princess captured, Perry is in a unique position to help rescue her! But first, he has to face his real life and learn how to connect with other people. Only then can he help the Other Normals save their world.
What a fun adventure! Overall, I just really enjoyed this fun ride. I have spent a lot of time with teenage boys during my life, and have even observed them playing games like the one Creatures and Caverns was inspired from. Even if they aren't into role-playing games, this is a great book for boys of all ages who like a little bit of fantasy mixed in with their reality. Which is good, because the reality keeps changing in Perry's actual world as a result of his Other World adventures. It is hard enough to be a teenager as it is, but when you feel like you don't fit into to your world it is easy to become obsessed with with another. Then to find out that your "dreamland" actually exists? Its like Christmas! to Perry discovering the world of the Other Normals is the best thing that has ever happened to him. This is a world were he knows what to do and how to act. For the first time in his life he feels brave and confident. Its not hard to be the hero here. He also starts to fall for Ada, which makes it that much harder for him to complete his mission back at home.
It is not hard for me to see this book becoming a movie, in fact I hope it does. Even though octopus/human hybrids are not new, I loved the description of the way they moved around on land and would love to see it on a big movie screen. It also doesn't hurt that they are some of the bad guys.
But now that there is unrest and a possible revolution brewing in the world of the Other Normals, will there be a sequel? I hope so!