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Ride the Blue Bazoo

Series: What If Books #1
Author: Clifford, Laurie B.
Illustrator: Marty, David
Release Date: 1983
ISBN: 0830709010 / 9780830709014
Length:97 pages
Number of Endings:29
User Summary: You wake up only to realize that you've forgotten about an important history test; in the adventures that follow, you often have an opportunity to ride the titular Blue Bazoo, a nerd's strangely modified moped.
Demian's Thoughts: This book is almost good, but it doesn't quite make it. The writing style is more flavorful than your average Choose Your Own Adventure, but its flavor isn't used to much advantage. Similarly underused is the book's frequent inclusion of more than two choices at the end of many sections, a fairly unusual practice in a genre where two choices seem to be the common standard. The problem is that most decision points, regardless of how many choices they provide, only lead to one section that isn't a dead end. This makes most of the other choices seem like pointless filler. Speaking of pointless filler, I also object to the fact that the same full-page illustration is printed twice in the book (see pages 26 and 85). It's also a little cheesy that every single choice begins with the words "what if." Another problem is that, since many decisions are of a moral nature, and "bad" decisions are always punished with an immediate ending, the whole adventure begins to feel preachy and predictable. In the end, despite the cover of slightly colorful language (I bet the publisher, and possibly the author, had no idea what "dorky" actually means) and some outrageous choices (you have to love the "what food do you force down in order to simulate stomach flu?" decision), the book's moral agenda ends up being a little too obvious for the reader's comfort, and this, combined with its other flaws, brings the whole book down.

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