Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga (2010)

Genre: Graphic Novel
Interest Level: 9-14
MeanwhileGraphic Novel, meet Choose Your Own Adventure. This science fiction novel starts out with our protagonist, young Jimmy, facing that delightful choice — chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate, natch! That leads Jimmy to a mad scientist, who shows him his lab and makes Jimmy choose between a time machine, a doomsday device, and mind-reading device. And off we go. Each decision point requires Jimmy (and thus the reader) to make a choice, and there are dozens of decisions to be made, leading to nearly 4,000 possible endings. This is quite ingeniously designed. As it’s a graphic novel rather than a text, the author has cleverly avoided simply asking the Choose Your Path question in the last balloon on the page. Instead, every panel in the story has optional paths out of it – answer one way and you go up, answer the other way and you go left. And so on, always following a little path that eventually reveals the tabbed page you go to next. There you face another decision and so on. I’m quite sure obsessive readers will enjoy following the story to the end over and over and over. Truthfully, though, I lost interest rather quickly, once I figured it out. This is a library book and my germ-avoidance radar kicked in, and running my finger all over a page in a child’s book is just not the best way to stay healthy. But it’s quite brilliantly conceived, and I can see children enjoying the challenge changing just one decision and radically changing the outcome. I think that’s quantum physics kind of thing. Fun!
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7229730-meanwhile.

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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