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Item - First Year At High School

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Series: Literally Immersive Gamebooks — no. 1
Author: Hirons, James A
Date: August 14, 2020
ISBN: 9798675412921
Length: 152 sections (164 pages)
Advertisement Blurb: The ultimate handbook for pre-High School boys, the ultimate nostalgia trip for men.

How would you fare if you could do that 'big day' all over again. This literally immersive book will help you find out.

Jack Steveson embarks on his High School career, faced with many challenges from the very first day. From dealing with bullies to other social stigma and, you, as the reader can help him navigate his way through these trials and tribulations by selecting which options you would take. At the end you'll get to tally up your score and compare it to an integrated social scale to see where you would fit into a class today.

Will you be a hero? A heart-throb? A bit of a git? Part story, part test, part game and ideal for everyone 10 years or older. (Contains mild coarse words)
hadlee73's Thoughts:

First Year at High School is the first gamebook (that I know of) from Author James A. Hirons. An interactive tale set in a high school, during student Jack Steveson's first year (as per the title), you must guide the main character (that's Jack) through several scenarios, encounters and difficulties as he attempts to find his niche in his new school. Along the way there will be drama, fights, naughtiness, sports and hopefully, depending on the reader's choices, some rewards for good behaviour. There are several recurring characters that Jack will interact with along the way; some friendly, some not so much, and others are somewhere in between, so you really do need to watch out who you trust!

The book doesn't really fit into a traditional gamebook genre, to be honest. It still has the feel of a traditional gamebook, with dice rolling and statistics to manage, but being set in relatively modern times (although this seems like it could be a decade or more ago, as there are no cell phones mentioned) you can't really categorise it as fantasy or science fiction. Drama, I suppose is the closest genre I can think of for this book!

The author, James Hirons, has clearly taken some stories from his own school days (and perhaps some from friends) and adapted those into the scenarios presented in this book. There will be several encounters where Jack may find himself making a difficult decision, or getting into a fight, or trying to work out what is right and what is wrong. The book asks the reader to keep tally of a reputation score along the way, but having more or less doesn't necessarily mean better or worse as you expect in a standard gamebook. No, you need to obtain some kind of balance in Jack's life; not too tough and dominating, though not too meek and innocent either. Going too far one way or the other doesn't help anybody, and this balancing act is part of the fun. What can you get away with without actually getting suspended? What good things can you do without looking like a complete wimp? Should you focus on sports, or academics? It all seems to be here in a tight package of less than 170 pages.

After reading First Year at High School I had to admit to recognising many scenarios that I, too, encountered while in high school. Whereas in my school days I avoided fighting (even though I was a good foot taller than the other children), and did not have contact with girls due to going to an all-boy school, there were still several instances in the story where my mind responded with, "oh gosh, I remember when this happened!" As a result I had both some bad recollections from my past, and the book also rekindled some fun memories.

Definitely give this one a go if you're looking for something a bit different away from Sword and Sorcery or Space Travel.

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Users Who Own This Item: hadlee73, Sir Olli, sireeyore

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