The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
"Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich 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 to become a man. They want him to be outdoors playing with kids his own age and meeting girls—rather than indoors alone, with only his gaming alter ego for company. Perry knows he's in 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 other mythical creatures from the game, including the alluring Ada Ember, whom Perry finds more beautiful than any human girl he's ever met. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest, 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."- summary from Amazon
Wow, this was one really cool book. Perry's voice pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. I loved reading his journey and seeing his character develop over the course of the novel.
Vizzini did a great job creating the world of the other normals. I really liked being in that world and meeting those new creatures. I also loved the combination of action and humor. There's plenty of action-packed scenes in this book, which made for a compelling read.
Overall, a great read and it really makes me want to read more from Vizzini.
and here's an interview with Ned Vizzini:
1) How did you get the idea for The Other Normals?
After It's Kind of a Funny Story, I was trying to write an adult novel, but that didn't work out. So I decided to try YA again. This was in 2009. I started with a simple idea about a romance at summer camp. A guy and girl were going to fall in love and the girl would be named Summer so the book could be called “Camp Summer.”
I got about a quarter of the way through that book before I got this vision in my head: a man with red skin and a tail smoking pebbles in the woods. I wondered, What would this book be like if THAT guy were at camp? And the book turned from “Camp Summer” into The Other Normals.
2) I saw in your bio that you've written for TV shows like Teen Wolf and Last Resort. How did you get into screenwriting and is it vastly different from how you write novels?
I got into writing for TV by finding a writing partner. His name is Nick Antosca and he writes literary horror novels – very different from what I do. But we were friends for years and we loved some of the same things in TV, like The Shield and the pilot script for Lost. So we decided to write a TV pilot. That got us some attention and we came out to Hollywood and worked on Teen Wolf and now, Last Resort.
It is vastly different from writing novels. It's collaborative, first of all – not just with Nick, with everyone who makes a TV show come together. And the part of writing a novel where you are in a room drafting by yourself is accomplished in TV by “breaking story,” when you sit around a table in an office trying to talk out an episode. So you need to be able to have a four-hour conversation to write for TV.
3) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't eat those, favorite snack that you have while writing or as a reward for getting writing done?
I have never understood why people like jelly beans. My favorite snack for getting good writing done is peanuts and beef jerky.
4) What are you currently working on, and what book(s) are you reading or are about to start?
I'm currently working on Last Resort on ABC! I am typing this in Hawaii, where I am with Nick, on set for the episode that we wrote: episode 7, “Nuke It Out.” It will air on 11/15/12. You can see pictures from the set on @LastResortRoom.
As to what I'm reading: Year Zero by Rob Reid. Very Hitchhiker's, very absurd, very fun.
Thank you for having me, James, and for everything you do for YA!
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.