Choose Your Own Adventure Books For Grown-Ups
If you're like me and grow up in the 1980's, you too were probably one of those millions of kids addicted to Choose Your Own Adventure novels. I loved how YOU, the reader, controlled the story and decided your fate. All my copies had dog-eared pages so I could return to the available choices just in case I had chosen poorly. I loved the sense of freedom the books provided and was inspired by the plotlines to dream of far off places and dangerous escapades. Now that I'm all "grown-up" (something my wife might disagree with me saying), I long for the genre to have titles that reflect my current age and interests.
Unfortunately, when looking to major publishing houses for titles, there is nothing available for adults. During its run from 1979 to 2003 Bantam Books published tons of interactive books in a wide array of plotlines based around the popular Choose Your Own adventure format but regretfully stopped publishing the series without a single title for grown-ups. Thankfully the rights to the series were purchased by RA Montgomery, a prolific CYOA author himself, in 2005 through his new company ChooseCo, LLC. A quick glance at the ChooseCo website, many old favorites are back along with a few new titles – but still nothing for adults.
- To fill that void, check out the novel "Beer, Women, and Bad Decisions" available on Amazon which tells the tale of one guy in his late 20's out for a night of drinking and cruising for chicks – something most men can identify with. Along the way, the reader is allowed to make choices that can lead to an exciting night of drinking, debauchery, bar fights, crazy women, Klingons and * ahem * some poor choices realized after the fact. There are plenty of satisfying endings although it's not always an easy path to get there.
- Talk to any woman and there's a good chance that if she enjoys reading, she loves Jane Austen. The inscrutable Mr. Darcy is like catnip to women and most swoon upon the very mention of his name. (Trust me, women may not show it on the outside, but they are swooning like a pitching ship on the high seas in hurricane weather on the inside.) To capitalize on this, Emma Campbell Webster wrote two Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure novels: "Lost in Austen" and "Being Elizabeth Bennet" – both a MUST HAVE for any serious Jane Austen Fan.
- On the other hand, if a woman craves something a little more daring and modern, Lilla Zuckerman has written two entertaining news in the Miss Adventure series: "Tangle in Tijuana" and "Beauty Queen Blowout." The first book, "Tangle in Tijuana" finds the reader headin 'South of the Border with her best friend Lani for a day of "margaritas, men and mayhem in Tijuana". As the author says: There are many shots to call AND drink along the way! In her second book, "Beauty Queen Blowout", the reader hops on the road again – this time to Reno, Nevada to compete in the Miss Liberty Pageant. In this entertaining romp you deal with backstabbing competitors, a lecherous host and so much more. Time to fulfill all those childhood Beauty Pageant dreams of yore!
- As a "sister" novel to the aforementioned "Beer, Women and Bad Decisions" book for men, women may also want to check out "Night of a Thousand Boyfriends" by Miranda Clarke. This interactive romantic comedy gives the reader the opportunity as a young woman to find love in the big city.
For Gay Men:
- Not to be left out, gay men also have some wonderful adventures in store for them through "Escape from Fire Island" by James H. English. This book takes the reader on an escapade full of circuit parties, cocktails and speedos in the search for true love. Unfortunately things get a little harried when a vat of toxic waste washes up turning everyone into ZOMBIE DRAG QUEENS! Let the mayhem unfold in this wonderful novel.
So in summary, as one can see, there is plenty out there for anyone like myself who loved the Choose Your Own Adventure format but has outgrown the series. I urge you to check out one of these aforementioned books and enjoy an interactive story once again.