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The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
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The Other Normals (edition 2012)

by Ned Vizzini

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20613100,792 (3.34)2
"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.
Member:miracosta
Title:The Other Normals
Authors:Ned Vizzini
Info:Balzer Bray (2012), Hardcover, 400 pages
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The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini

  1. 00
    Locked Inside by Nancy Werlin (Runa)
    Runa: both feature novels with protagonists who are into RPGs who must transfer their gaming skills into their real lives.
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
For me, the best mark of a fantasy book is whether I’d want to live in the world.

It began with Narnia, as it almost always does. Who wouldn't want to adventure in a world where nothing ever seems to go *super* wrong, and even if you're responsible for the death of the creator of the world you still win the consolation prize of being the freaking King.

It's a bit easy, though, isn't it? That's why with books that were clear descendants of Narnia but had more bits of realism stuck in the way (to a point), like The Phantom Tollbooth or, more recently, The Magicians. Obviously Tollbooth isn't quite realism, but the consequences seemed much more logical and directly resulting from the character's actions more than the "Well, you tried your best" aesthetic employed by Aslan.

This is all by way of explaining my ambivalence toward The Other Normals. It's a nice idea but I feel like it's been much better and to better effect elsewhere. It's a pretty standard postmodern fantasy draw-in: Boy obsessed with a particular media series (in this case, a D&D stand-in) gets magically whisked away to the world that media was based on, goes on quests, etc. Only this one involves a lot more "intentional indecent exposure at a high school dance" than the Pevensies ever dealt with.

I had troubles with the narrator. On the one hand you can say he was more realistic because of his many flaws, but his actions seemed more random and spastic than indications of character facets to be overcome. The mystical connection between the worlds, which serves to alter events and realities, only seemed to work when absolutely necessary and seemed woefully inadequate to explain what actually happened.

I don't want to seem too negative — it's a nice introduction to fantasy, particularly the kind of fantasy that seems more real because kids like you can get drawn into it, and probably would serve as a good bridge for the tween/teen who's familiar with Narnia but not really ready for Lev Grossman's The Magicians Trilogy. For the rest of us, though, there are better places to get the same fix. ( )
  kaitwallas | May 21, 2021 |
A couple of years ago, my daughter read Ned Vizzini's "It's Kind of a Funny Story" in school, and enjoyed it immensely. Although it didn't sound like my kind of reading, this book did, so with her recommendation of him as a good writer, I thought I would give it a try. She was right; he's an excellent writer.

About halfway through, I began to worry that the author (knowing, as I did, that he was more a mainstream writer) was going to cop out at the end of the book and play the "it was all a dream" card, or something similar. I should not have doubted him! The end was wonderful and stayed true to the promises the book made all the way through.

Fun, engaging, and fast-paced. Highly recommended for YA readers and anyone who lived through being an "other" at school. ;) ( )
  sdramsey | Dec 14, 2020 |
For me, the best mark of a fantasy book is whether I’d want to live in the world.

It began with Narnia, as it almost always does. Who wouldn't want to adventure in a world where nothing ever seems to go *super* wrong, and even if you're responsible for the death of the creator of the world you still win the consolation prize of being the freaking King.

It's a bit easy, though, isn't it? That's why with books that were clear descendants of Narnia but had more bits of realism stuck in the way (to a point), like The Phantom Tollbooth or, more recently, The Magicians. Obviously Tollbooth isn't quite realism, but the consequences seemed much more logical and directly resulting from the character's actions more than the "Well, you tried your best" aesthetic employed by Aslan.

This is all by way of explaining my ambivalence toward The Other Normals. It's a nice idea but I feel like it's been much better and to better effect elsewhere. It's a pretty standard postmodern fantasy draw-in: Boy obsessed with a particular media series (in this case, a D&D stand-in) gets magically whisked away to the world that media was based on, goes on quests, etc. Only this one involves a lot more "intentional indecent exposure at a high school dance" than the Pevensies ever dealt with.

I had troubles with the narrator. On the one hand you can say he was more realistic because of his many flaws, but his actions seemed more random and spastic than indications of character facets to be overcome. The mystical connection between the worlds, which serves to alter events and realities, only seemed to work when absolutely necessary and seemed woefully inadequate to explain what actually happened.

I don't want to seem too negative — it's a nice introduction to fantasy, particularly the kind of fantasy that seems more real because kids like you can get drawn into it, and probably would serve as a good bridge for the tween/teen who's familiar with Narnia but not really ready for Lev Grossman's The Magicians Trilogy. For the rest of us, though, there are better places to get the same fix. ( )
  thoughtbox | May 27, 2016 |
Very cool book. Quite fun to read. It has real characters that I actually gave a fuck about. This is a rare thing, in my experience. There was romance, and sexual tension. Lots of real-world battle, not just in-game fighting.

In fact, this book isn't really about a game. It's about letting go of games, and living life for real. And monsters, of course. And weird alternate realities. But, real life, nonetheless.

I got so hooked on this book that I stayed up all night to finish it. I can't remember the last time I actually finished a full-length novel in one sitting. But, I did it with this book, and it was well worth it.

And fuck the princess in her dirty rotten asshole. Because she's a fucking skank whore. There, I said it. Somebody needed to say it, goddamnit. ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
This book has no redeeming qualities at all. I picked it out because my husband brought me into the world of D&D 4 years ago, I thought this book seemed like a fun idea. I read the inside flap and I SWEAR the summary made it sound like this was a story of a teen boy who is forced to go to camp to get away from his anti-social behavior and obsession with C&C (the made-up RPG for this book). There at camp he meets others that play C&C and he learns how to make friends and stick up for himself. Cool! NO. Instead the main character, Perry, is written in such a way that I couldn't stand him. He's so cliche and awkward and terribly written I couldn't care an ounce for the kid. I can understand giving faults to a character and having them rise above it, or learn, but Perry with his bowl cut hairdo, not a friend in the world, unable to talk to girls, bullying brother, incredibly un-supportive parents, never got less annoying. Plus, what the hell is up with his obsession (and the author's obsession writing about) his single, newly-spouted pubic hair??? For the love of God, no one is so stupid as to expose themselves to a girl to show off a single pubic hair to prove he's a man. Not without mental issues, which Perry (among his thousands of pathetic traits) was not introduced to having.

Perry does make it to another world, The world of Other Normals, but it's shoddily described and put together. The characters are slightly nicer to him, but it's only because everyone on Earth seems to hate Perry's guts.

Speaking of terrible cliches, no one in this book acted like a human being. I mean, seriously, EVERYONE in Perry's life is cruel to him? EVERYONE? All the students and campers beat up on him and bully him? Both his parents are shallow and pick on their son for not being "manly" enough and also bring their lawyer significant others into ganging up on their child?

Did the author, Ned Vizzini ever even LOOK at a rule book for a tabletop RPG? It seems he mentions the only elements he thinks he knows about ("Oh, my speed must be about 7, and my HONOR is 50") and rapes the character building process as well as world building. Jesus, take about an hour of your life to learn about an RPG before making it a main plot in your book!

I'm sorry Ned, I know you're dead, and your death notice made me want to read one of your books, so I picked the one I felt I could relate to the most with RPGs. I'm sorry to say I chose poorly. ( )
  WickedWoWestwood | Feb 15, 2014 |
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