Book Review: The Other Normals

Perry Eckert is a socially inept, RPG playing, super-nerd (that’s short for Role Playing Game for all you non-nerds out there).  Creatures & Caverns is his respite from the harsh world of high school, his parents’ divorce, and his too-cool-for-school brother’s alcohol problem.  One day Perry comes across a rare copy of Creatures & Caverns Rule Book: Other Normal Edition and finds his life changing in ways large and small: he makes a friend; his parents send him to a camp to jumpstart his late-blooming tendencies; he catches sight of a creature straight out of his C&C book and is transported into The World of the Other Normals.

That’s right.

In this bizarre alternate version of Earth, “people” have fish, frog, and dog heads, horse and octopus bottoms, sparkling fingernails, and a princess held hostage by a poison-spewing monster.  There is also danger, a certain blue-haired girl, and the chance to play the hero—for real! Torn between his obligations on Earth and the World of the Other Normals, Perry must do what verges on the impossible; he must learn to be a man and possibly kiss a girl.  But how will he pull off such a feat?

Ned Vizzini has written a funny and adventurous tale that is both a coming-of-age story and heroic fantasy.  There’s an honesty to the characters that lets readers connect with the book’s outrageous plot, and the resultant novel is a lot of fun.  The Other Normals is an engrossing read that is bound to appeal to fans of John Green and Jordan Sonnenblick.

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