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Item - Follow the Lone Cry

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Series: What If Books — no. 2
Author: Clifford, Laurie B.
Illustrator: Marty, David
Date: 1983
ISBN: 0830709134 / 9780830709137
Length: 99 pages
Number of Endings: 26
LC Cataloging in Publication Summary: The reader makes choices dealing with going to the Yukon in search of treasure.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book is a little bit unusual, as it could be best described as a character study. The reader is given a backstory, some family obligations and even a gender and nickname, and the choices often involve balancing obligations and desires. It's quite interesting, because it takes some old Choose Your Own Adventure standbys (globetrotting parents, treasure hunting) and treats them more as emotional obstacles than as fun plot devices. It also stirs up a moderate amount of childhood nostalgia and occasionally displays a mildly twisted sense of humor. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? It almost is, but it has all the same problems as the last book. There's one long path through the book, and if you don't make the right choices, the story just ends abruptly. I'd much rather have had more detailed but shorter paths in place of this "one strike and you're out" design. It also really bugs me that the reader can't get away with making choices that aren't entirely mature, responsible and selfless. This would be a much stronger book if you could do something wrong and see how your actions impact your friends and your future. Instead, we're treated to logic like "you tried to hurt your parents' feelings, so you got run over by a truck." Oh well; you can't have everything.

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