Adventure Your Way: Meanwhile

Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga (lexile? AR? pages??  All depends!)

This book is one-of-a-kind: a combination graphic novel and CRAZY WILD choose-your-own-adventure.  Unlike an ordinary comic book, you don’t read left-to-right, top-to-bottom.  Start at the first panel, and follow the thin color-coded tubes to the next one — left, right, up, down, forward, even backward in the book. When the tube splits into two paths, you get to choose.  The result is a story with THOUSANDS of possibilities — 3,865 in fact, according to the author.

The tale begins with you as Jimmy, entering an ice cream shop.  Will you choose chocolate or vanilla?  That choice branches into hundreds of others.  At some point Jimmy ends up in the lab of an inventor who has developed three amazing devices: a mind-reader, a time-travel machine, and the Killitron (which will destroy all life on Earth except the user’s).  Which will you try out first?  Many choices end up in DOOM and DISASTER — only one path leads to success.  Along the way there are secret codes to unravel, and a complex story  that reveals the inventor’s and even Jimmy’s own past.

When we first got Meanwhile at the library, I looked it over, decided it was too much work to read, and set it aside.  THEN I went to visit my brother and his family, and discovered my 10-year-old nephew (who has excellent taste in books and uncles) had a copy from school, having waited quite a while for his turn to check it out.  I spent an hour or so following several different storylines, and was fascinated.  The story is pretty good, and the experience of navigating the book is very cool.

So give it a try.  And don’t cheat.  And remember: vanilla is boring.

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