Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities (Hardback) by Jason Shiga
Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started withMeanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (which is as ominous as it sounds). Down each of these paths there are puzzles, mysterious clues, and shocking revelations. It’s up to the reader to lead Jimmy to success or disaster.
Meanwhile is a wholly original story of invention, discovery, and saving the world, told through a system of tabs that take you forward, backward, upside down, and right side up again. Each read creates a new adventure!
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Reading Level: 8-9
"Holy awesome. I always felt kind of meh about choose your own adventure books (there are only so many storylines that end in certain death and still keep me interested), but this is way. way. cooler. Ever read a choose your own adventure comic book? Especially one with 3,856 possible path possibilities? With multiple storylines that run on the same page and secret hidden pages that can only be accessed with a code? In fact, I feel kind of weird saying that I've "read" this book, seeing as I probably only experienced 10 or 12 of the 3,856 story possibilities -- but this book is more like an interactive experience than a book.
I hope I can pull of using this in a middle school book club this summer, because, as I've said multiple times in this review ---- holy. awesome."
"It is very rare that a book comes along with a completely different way of telling a story. This book does that and does so largely successfully. The linear nature of time is cleverly looped back on itself, as is time's potentially branching nature. And, the story is hard to imagine being told in any other way than the way it is (by following a maze of lines through cells of comic book art).
I also greatly enjoyed the stories exploration of entropy and the "best of all possible worlds paradox" (I forget the term for that). And all of these deep concepts are tied up in a form that is perhaps best enjoyed by a younger child. The only downsides to the book are that some of the paths don't exactly make perfect sense (particularly in how the characters act), and that the book can be frustrating to read at first (it requires a great deal of patience to fully explore the book and discover its secrets).
Nevertheless, this is one of the most unusual, engaging, and rewarding books I have read in a while."
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