Title: Meanwhile
Author: Jason Shiga
ISBN: 9780810984233
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Abrams, c2010.

“Are you an inventor?”
“Why, yes, I have over 150 patents to my name. […] In fact, I was just about to test some of my inventions when you walked in. Would you like to help?”
“Well, these are my oldest and most exciting inventions. There’s the killitron 2000, my untested doomsday device. Then we have the SQUID, which can transfer memories between people. And last is my time travel machine. Which invention would you like to play with, Jimmy?” (unpaged)

Jimmy’s first choice is whether or not to buy the chocolate or vanilla ice cream. From there, he could meet up with an inventor and have the opportunity to play with three different inventions. He could meet-up with himself from another time. He could have to save the world from his own mistake. Or, he could just go home after eating ice cream. The choice is yours in this graphic novel meets Choose-Your-Own Adventure type book.

Maybe I missed something in the execution. While trying out different paths, I kept coming back to the same outcome. I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure Stories when I was younger, but I kept getting a bad case of de ja vue with this book because it seems like a lot of paths end the same way. The twisting and turning format that forces readers to follow lines off the page reminded me of the snake game (does anyone else remember that game, where the snake eats the apples and grows longer? No? Maybe I am getting old.) In any case, the plot seemed to solely involve the time machine, and any other plot line was really only a delay in getting you to choose the inevitable.

The book warns readers on the very first page that “Most [of the different adventures] will end in DOOM and DISASTER. Only one path will lead you to happiness and success.” I really wish that wasn’t the case, because I think that probably encouraged my feelings of “where have I seen this before.” I feel other positive outcomes should have been possible. An interesting concept that I wish would have made more sense to my brain, because I was really looking forward to enjoying this book and was disappointed when it fell flat.