The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
Perry Eckert loves to play Creatures & Caverns in all of his spare time. He doesn’t have any friends to play the game with, so he just creates characters. When someone inspires him to create a character based on himself, he does. Of course the character differs in some ways, like his red skin, yellow hair and tail, but he is also not that strong, not that fast, but full of honor. Perry’s parents are worried about him being a social outcast, so they send him to summer camp. There, Perry is swept into a world where Creatures & Caverns is real! Even better, they need Perry to help them save their world. All it will take is Perry kissing the most popular girl at camp. No pressure.
Vizzini is a master of misfit characters. He takes Perry and throughout the book reveals much more about him than just his geeky exterior. Instead, we all discover that Perry is a true hero, filled with honor, who is intelligent and very brave. Vizzini throws in realizations that Perry has about modern American life, about thinking too much and acting too little, that will resonate with readers.
Vizzini does not shy away from swear words in critical places. There is also some nudity (on the part of Perry) but I won’t ruin those parts for you. Vizzini brings lots of humor to the story, enough to bring out big guffaws of laughter at times. There is also plenty of adventure, some death, enormous monsters, and everything that D&D players would want in a book.
Get this into the hands of kids you know who game. They will enjoy not only the game brought to life idea, but also the winning hero at the heart of a great adventure. Appropriate for ages 15-17.
Reviewed from ARC received from HarperCollins.