When I was growing up, I always loved a good choose your own adventure book. What could be more fun than interacting with, and choosing your own story? In a way, it was almost like you were the author of your own destiny. True, there were always those cheap deaths that would happen when you were forced to make blind choices like which path to go down, but at least you could always go back and start over again!
I think that it is a sorry shame that a lot of readers leave the choose your own adventure type books behind in their childhood. There are actually some very entertaining books for adults as well, although there are not nearly enough of them! It was difficult to come up with ten. This list combines choose your own adventure for younger readers as well as the more adult oriented ones.
Also, I am aware that “Choose Your Own Adventure” is technically used to refer to the series of the same title, but I use the term for any book where you are able to choose your own path. The generic term to use is “gamebook,” but I do not think many people would recognize this word. In my mind, if you can “turn to page 53 to ride that dinosaur or turn to page 32 to cast magic missile,” then it qualifies as a choose your own adventure book!
I would love to see your lists, so make sure to leave a comment!
- Death by Halloween by David Warkentin– This is a recent adult choose your own adventure book. It is best to read around Halloween, but it is still a fun horror adventure all the same.
- Infected by James Schannep – Infected is an entertaining zombie apocalypse themed choose your own adventure for more mature readers that I recently discovered in eBook form. Ebooks work well enough with choose your own adventure, although I still prefer to have the physical book.
- Can you Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier– This adult style choose your own adventure book is serious in tone and really lets the reader role-play their chances to survive in the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
- Nintendo Adventure Books series by various authors – These are very difficult to come by, but there was actually a brief 12 book series published in England with choose your own adventure for Mario Bros and a couple about Zelda.
- Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny series by various authors– A Doctor Who themed choose your own adventure? Need I say more? Bow ties are cool.
- Fighting Fantasy series created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone – I only recently found out about this series even though it is a childhood favorite of many other readers that began in 1982. It is basically one of the best choose your own adventure ideas I have ever seen because it draws on all of the best nerdy genres like fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero. If you do not know where to start, I recommend trying The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
- Zombocalypse Now by Matt Youngmark – See if you can fight your way through the zombie hordes! Zombocalypse is a solid example of a modern, adult choose your own adventure book seasoned with a healthy dash of humor. Oh, and did I mention that your character is actually an anthropomorphic stuffed bunny?
- Choose Your Own Adventure series by Edward Packard, R. A. Montgomery, and various authors– This is really the series that started it all, and definitely is the longest lived with 185 books in the original series, although there is a modern version of the series that I have never read. Prisoner of the Ant People, anyone?
- Give Yourself Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine – R. L. Stine is one of my favorite childhood authors, and I can assume that the same is true for almost anyone who is reading this list. My favorite book in this series is called Escape from the Carnival of Horrors. It has some pretty intense endings in it, as I vividly remember having my head ripped off by a monster after I made one too many poor choices.
- To Be or Not to Be by Ryan North– To Be or Not to Be is for adult readers, and is essentially a hilarious choose your own adventure version of Hamlet. This was actually the first book I ever reviewed for the site, so go and read the full review here!