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Choose Your Own Adventure 6- Book Boxed Set #1 (the Abominable Snowman, Journey Under the Sea, Space and Beyond, the Lost Jewels of Nabooti, Mystery of the Maya, House of Danger)

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year old readers will travel to Kathmandu and explore the Himalaya Mountains, negotiating harsh weather conditions, facing down a band of violent smugglers, following mysterious footprints in the snow, and maybe even finding the Yeti! These are the original books, updated with revised text and new artwork, as well as brand-new titles. Some three decades earlier, Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Garden of Forking Paths” (1941) imagines the unfinished novel of a Chinese civil servant in which all the possible outcomes of an event occur, rather than just one. Choose Your Own Adventure, as published by Bantam Books, was one of the most popular children's series during the 1980s and 1990s, selling more than 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998.

It feels like grace, as if the book were not just forgiving but rewarding what you always considered to be cheating: flipping through the pages to find the endings you wanted, then reverse-engineering the choices that would get you there. Whether you want an alien-infested space adventure or a taste of what it’s like to live in the pages of a Jane Austen novel, there is something on this list for you. Packard’s book reminded him of those scenarios: their immersive perspectives, decision junctures, and forking paths. I came across this book on an impromptu trip to the National Games Expo at the NEC earlier this year.The series forms a continuing storyline, and each book can lead the reader to different starting points in the following volume depending on which ending is reached. Over Greek salad, strong coffee, and chopped pineapple, one grandson tells you that he was “a pretty risk-averse kid,” so he would always start a Choose book by making a set of conservative choices; then he’d go back and make far riskier choices, to see where they took him. Work alongside US Agents and the Brazilian Police Force to get to bottom of the this ever-darkening case, but be careful, not everything may be as it seems.

Books set in this world expect you to solve problems, make fast decisions and give you the thrill of desperately trying to escape a potentially fatal destiny. While fantasy and romance can be fun, young adult or older readers may prefer a book set in a slightly more realistic world, such as bustling modern-day London or California. I read them non-stop, almost obsessively, and, when I picture my childhood bookshelf in my mind, I can see whole rows of those thin white paperbacks with the numbers and red bubbles on the side.The number of endings varies from as many as 44 in the early titles to as few as 7 in later adventures.

You binged on these books, pulling tattered sun-bleached copies from your bookshelf: four, five, six in the course of a single afternoon. When his daughters were young, Packard told them bedtime stories about a boy named Pete, a literary alter ego of Andrea’s. You need to pay attention and be awake, and sometimes make notes of where you’ve been so you don’t end up stuck, because this book could very easily get one over on you given half the chance.There were quite a few CYOA books that I missed out then and so this is a wonderful opportunity to revisit them once again.

Why read a book with a single possible ending when you could read one that lets you choose from multiple? Both men went through divorces shortly before the series started gaining momentum, and ended up writing many of their books as single fathers. My daughter’s 5th-grade teacher just loaded up on this series of books because of a resurgence in popularity — all the kids, boys and girls, can’t seem to get enough. There doesn’t seem to be a penalty or a maximum score to avoid, however some choices present you with directions based on whether Alice passes or fails an insanity check (the opposite of the other traits, the roll must be higher to win) or whether she has to make a certain decision based on her insanity score.While Packard was invested in constructing logical cause-and-effect correlations between choices and their outcomes, aspiring to decisions that rewarded an analytic approach, Montgomery’s books read more like fever dreams, absurd and off the wall, featuring a well-organized ant bureaucracy, a planet full of babies morphing rapidly into liver-spotted elders, and plenty of stoned-in-a-dorm-room epiphanies: “You are and you have been a part of everything, always. These are not just books; they are fully interactive adventures that will have the reader guessing and guessing – what happens next?

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