Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review: The Abominable Snowman by R. A. Montgomery (Choose Your Own Adventure #1)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Unique format and idea executed well
Cons: I choose not to see any cons
The Bottom Line:
Story dictated
By choices you make.  Choose it
And have fun reading




Where Will You Wind Up When You Search for the Abominable Snowman?

Growing up as a reader in the 80’s, I naturally found and read some of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books.  In fact, I’ve still got a few in my garage somewhere.  I was thrilled recently to learn that they have been updated and are back in print for a new generation.  I’ve read one of these updated books, The Abominable Snowman, and these books are just as fun as they were before.

If you’ve never read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, there are some things you have to know before you begin.  First of all, you are the star of the story and the main character.  Also, you can’t read this book straight front to back since the story jumps around the book.  Every page or two, you will be presented with two choices.  Decide which one you want to pursue, and then flip to that page to find out what happens next to you.  Just keep going until you reach “The End.”  Don’t like that ending?  Back up and try again.

In this book, you are a mountain climber, one of the best in the world.  You and your best friend Carlos have decided to go to the Himalayas and find proof of the existence of the Abominable Snowman, also known as the Yeti.  Carlos arrives a few days before you, and by the time you arrive, he can’t be reached on the radio.  What do you do?  Choose carefully because your choices could make your career with proof of the Yeti, lead to an encounter with poachers, get you kidnapped by aliens, or give you a new blissful home in Shangri-La.

There are a total of 28 different outcomes based on the choices you make, so I’ve just given you a small sample.  As you can see, this book clearly crosses into the fantasy realm, but that is much of the fun.  You never quite know what will happen based on the choices you make or where you will end up.

When I read these books as a kid, I would stick my fingers in at various choices, using them as bookmarks so I could easily backtrack.  After all, I had to be sure I read everything.  I found myself using the exact same method as an adult.  If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?

Of course, reading the entire book in one sitting can lead to whiplash at times.  A character who is your friend based on one set of choices becomes your enemy based on another set.  I don’t remember having that issue as a kid, but it was a good exercise in flexibility for me as an adult.

This series is the one time I’ve read a story in second person, present tense that actually makes sense.  After all, the story is driven by what the reader decides to do.  I never even thought about how unique it was as a kid, and it felt just as natural to be reading it as an adult.

The book is just under 120 pages, and it has pen and ink illustrations on some of the pages, which adds to the fun.

I didn’t think I’d read this book as a kid, but a few of the endings seemed familiar to me.  I guess that’s what happens to books you read 30 years before.  Anyway, I can’t speak to changes or updates to the story directly, although I did notice you are taking pictures on a digital camera.  I know that wasn’t the case in the original version.  There’s nothing here that is dated at all, so the updates were successful.

Reading The Abominable Snowman was a fun trip down memory lane to my childhood.  If you are looking for something unique for the special kids in your life, pick it up today.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

10 comments:

  1. These were always a hit in my classroom. Sad to hear the author passed away last year.

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    1. I'm sad to hear that as well. Hadn't heard the news.

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  2. So glad to see these are still around or just coming back!

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    1. Yes, it's nice to see these are available for today's readers as well, isn't it?

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Ugh, I hate when I can't edit comments. Errors always screw me up. ANYWAY, this book sounds perfect because winters in Massachusetts are crazy! Thanks for the rec! I'll look into this one! :-)

      ~Cindy

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    2. This would work for a quick read some snowbound night, that's for sure.

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  4. Thanks for letting me know these are still around. I should introduce my grandkids to these.

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  5. I remember reading these! Wow. That takes me back. Wonder if I could get my son interested in them. The make-your-own choice format might be comfortable for someone used to video games.

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    1. I had not considered the video game aspect to these, but that's a very good point. I bet those used to games would love them.

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