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Item - Mystery of the Secret Room

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(book club edition)
(reissue cover)
Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 63
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (63-67) (Collection)
Translated Into: El misteri de l'habitaciĆ³ secreta (Catalan)
El misterio de la habitaciĆ³n secreta (Spanish)
Author: Kushner, Ellen
Illustrator: Mitchell, Judith
Date: December, 1986
ISBNs: 055326270X / 9780553262704
0553276948 / 9780553276947
Length: 117 pages
Number of Endings: 24
User Summary: While taking care of your eccentric great-aunt's house, you come upon a secret room in which she has prepared a surprise for you....
DavidSky's Thoughts:

This is justifiably one of the most acclaimed CYOA books because of its excellent writing and fascinating, clever premise. That said, the three main directions the story goes in aren't evenly developed; the "future" one is somewhat lame compared to the others, but this is partly because the other two are so good. There's an interesting backstory for the book's premise (it's on page 3 if you don't want to look for it), but the ending it leads to isn't very satisfying, and there are a few other abrupt, unsatisfying endings. Overall, however, this is probably my favorite CYOA book and worth re-reading. You can see my map of it here.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This book is a real treat. The adventures in this series tend to feel fairly bland to me, and I was expecting this to be yet another overly restrained story. The introductory segment certainly suggested that this was going to be the case, since great-aunt Celia's eccentricity wasn't portrayed in as outlandish a fashion as one might hope. However, once things got going, this turned out to be quite possibly my favorite entry in the series thus far. The humor that the author displayed occasionally in her previous works is brought further into the foreground here, and the comedy is quite violent at times; thus, the book never feels overly sanitized, and it is certainly one of the few entries in the series that I think an adult audience could really enjoy without embarrassment. Because of this potential crossover appeal, and despite the fact that some of its material is a little dated, I feel that this book deserves a reprint -- I have a feeling it could be well-appreciated by the post-Harry Potter generation.

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Jordashebasics's Thoughts:

A real quality CYOA book.

The writing is good. The characters are well-defined. There's a pleasant sense of whimsy to a lot of it. But it also can flip on you. There are some dark aspects to the book. There is the possibility of a dog death! There's an ending where two characters kill each other, leaving you to clean up the mess.

The book actually needs to be longer. The primary choice is choosing to open boxes labeled Past, Never, and Future. Each of these opens up to a separate story, and it would be great to see those fleshed out. Especially the Future box, which got a pretty short treatment.

If you haven't read this one, it's definitely worth tracking down.

More reviews by Jordashebasics

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