When Kathleen Barnes from Choose Your Own Adventure books offered to send me one of the new books, I knew I had to take a look! It's been years since I have read one-- Surly Teen Boy was in about second grade when he became obsessed with them, and I spent many an hour going through all the possible combinations of stories with him. How else can you read these books?
McMurty, Ken. Zombie Penpal.
This is an all-new title, and draws on hurricane Katrina to work the increasingly popular idea of zombies into the story, which I thought was fun. There are 16 different endings, so I am not sure how to describe the story! The pen pal shows up in several, but some of the plots involve a teacher who is resurrecting the dead and having them do his bidding. The CYOA web site recommends these for rainy days at summer camp, and that's actually a great idea, since the book can be read so many times with so many different twists.
The new interior artwork is a VAST improvement over the old, and the covers are more appealing as well. The books seem to be available mainly in paperback, but I would have sworn mine were hardbacks without dust jackets. Perma-Bound has the older titles available, so be careful if you order so that you get the updated versions, which really are superior. They are also available in Follett Bound.
Montgomery, R.A. House of Danger.
This title was originally published in 1982, and the revised edition I have is from 2005. You can see the difference in the covers. The darker cover will be more enticing to students. The interior illustration are not as appealing, but I think this will be a big hit because the "you" who is the main character is an adult who can drive. The plot is more diverse than the previous book, at times involving evil monkeys, at other times aliens.
While Choose Your Own Adventures have gone out of favor a bit at my library, I'll definitely be brushing some of them off when I unpack books in August. I was very impressed with the company web site, which categorizes books by genre and also by reading level. There is a Dragonlarks series for ages 5-8, which would have been fabulous for my son, and I was intrigued by the Fabulous Terrible title that is listed for ages 12+. The girls who want to read Twilight and other paranormal books would probably find the cover and plot of this appealing. It was a good decision to label this one "The Adventures of You" instead of Choose Your Own Adventure, since in general these books appeal to slightly younger students. I would say that these are best for ages 6-12; I can't quite see my 8th graders reading them.
Of course, that said, I noticed that both of these books weren't where I left them this morning, and they showed up in Surly Teen Boy's room! I'll have to see what he thought of his sentimental journey!