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Item - Your Code Name is Jonah

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(Second printing)
(Second printing)
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(Early printing)
(Later printing)
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(Retitled edition)
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Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 6
Alternate Title: Spy Trap (reissue)
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (1-6) (Collection)
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 2 (6-10) (Collection)
Translated Into: Je codenaam is Jonas (Dutch)
Jona da zure klabe-izena (Basque)
Jou kodenaam is Jona (Afrikaans)
Nome de código : Jonas (Portuguese)
Nome in codice: Giona (Italian)
Rahasia ikan paus bungkuk (Indonesian)
Supai taisakusen [スパイ大作戦] (Japanese)
O teu nome de código é Jonas (Portuguese)
La teva clau és Jonàs (Catalan)
Ton nom de code est Jonas (French)
Tu clave es Jonás (Spanish)
Tu nombre en clave es Jonás (Spanish)
Author: Packard, Edward
Illustrators: Gabriel, Don (Retitled edition - cover)
Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don) (interior)
Dates: January, 1980 (First printing)
February, 1980 (Second printing)
March, 1982 (Ninth printing)
August, 1982 (Tenth printing)
ISBNs: 0553128183 / 9780553128185 (Second printing)
0553128191 / 9780553128192 (First printing)
0553140027 / 9780553140026 (Early printing, Later printing)
0553209132 / 9780553209136 (Ninth printing)
0553231820 / 9780553231823 (Retitled edition, Tenth printing)
094254515X / 9780942545159 (Hardback edition)
Length: 114 pages (First printing, Second printing, Early printing, Later printing, Ninth printing, Tenth printing, Retitled edition)
Number of Endings: 27 (First printing, Later printing, Ninth printing, Tenth printing, Retitled edition)
27 (erroneously listed as 40 on this edition) (Second printing, Early printing)
User Summary: As an agent of the Special Intelligence Group, you must fight Russian spies and discover the secret of a mysterious new whale song.
Aussiesmurf's Thoughts:

As a seven-year-old, I thought this book was INCREDIBLY cool. I mean, being a secret agent was pretty much the fantasy of every little tyke of my era. The tone was incredibly adult. Ideas like whale-song music and the possibility of being a marine biologist just whizzed over my head at that age. The choices and options are interesting, but parents should note that this story isn't shy about the idea of guns and shooting. This may be considered unsuitable for some young children.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This book has a rather dated and uninvolving story, but it's not all that bad.

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Good's Thoughts:

Your Code Name is Jonah! Definitely the most adult book in the series. Guns? 25 ends: most of which are bad, and other things that make this bad. To make it worse, I thought you walked through Jonah's shoes, and get swallowed by a whale. This is the first time Packard lost it. Mostly, he's the BEST author.

A 2.5/10

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

Your Code Name is Jonah is a classic. The Cold War setting may lead prospective readers to believe the book is dated, but that would be a huge mistake. The book mixes the classic tropes of the spy fiction genre with an environmentalist message, making for a deeper read than most gamebooks. There are many ways to complete the adventure successfully, and even some endings which, while not successful, are beautiful and thought-provoking. The book's main problem is that practically all of its storylines are way too short, so you seldom get the feeling that you are participating in an epic-scale mission. Consequently, the book takes several readings to appreciate for what it is. If you can look past this flaw, it provides a great experience.

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Madeye's Thoughts:

It surprised me how adult this book is. At times, the writing doesn't seem geared towards young adults at all ("Ah...threat and opportunity -- the creed of the day."). Also, this is one of the few I can think of where "You" are clearly an adult. It's a pretty ambitious book, and has some vivid spy encounters, but it shifts gears so many times, it's impossible to remember what's going on and what your mission is. Too many choices, too many characters, and too many merging plots make it fairly incomprehensible.

I have to say the Paul Granger art is excellent though. Though his work is kind of corny, his is the quintessential CYOA look to me. His illustrations here are really thrilling at times, though (see p. 51.)

My edition has a typo: the third choice on page 49 tells you to turn to page 74 and it should be 44.

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noonxnoon's Thoughts:

First off, I really enjoyed this book as a kid... 'specially back then as I had a big interest in "spy stuff." As another reviewer posted, you are an adult in this book... which is a nice change from always being a "dumb kid" or something similar.

The intrigue is a bit dated... the KGB and Russian motifs are stereotypical... but one can still get enjoyment from reading this book, and it adds a certain flavor and nostalgia. There were a few gadgets and weapons that fascinated me as a child. There are some over the top moments... but hey, the older James Bond movies have a similar vein!

There were many "plots" and choices one could make... but when I reread this book as an adult, I noticed a few bizarre choices. For example, your boss tells you go to track an enemy agent... and you are presented choices to do so, or to go and do two other items instead! I guess it was added to give another dimension for kids as the depth of your "authority" as an agent to be able to go to FBI headquarters and look up information, etc.

All in all, I did enjoy this book and think it is one of the best in the CYOA series.

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Shadeheart's Thoughts:

[Rating: 2/10]
[Recommended? NO]

Believe it or not, the premise of "Your Code Name Is Jonah" is more ludicrous than its undistinguished title. One might initially be alarmed at learning of the espionage-esque whale music research motivation or the pseudo-scientific fluctuations within in-story documentations, but the book is refreshingly fit for a more appropriately-aged protagonist to meet the story's demands. The ever-awful "Choose Your Own Adventure" series was released during what I have commonly referred to as a golden age of fantasy and interactive literature (1970s/1980s, save in Japan where the former genre has continued to flourish), and a number of conventions/mechanisms found in popular works of the day are imitated quite closely. That being said, Packard's book is noticeably elevated when compared to the deterministic writing of the insufferable R. A. Montgomery; there's a better sense of the scope of the story's choices (though a few options may catch readers off guard at having not seemed like a logical possibility), a more cohesive flow to the way it reads and an intrinsic grasping of what readers like to see and read. However, the book does fall victim to many of the fatal conventions of the series - ranging from the limitations of the format/presentation style to the unintuitive reliance on tropes/stock characters - and the narrative's ludicrous premise requires considerable suspension of disbelief, far more so than a story of this kind can normally get away with asking of readers. However, there's sadly little to distinguish this book beyond the trappings of the series it was stuck in; a creative ending or two doesn't redeem the story's many shortcomings, and the moments of enjoyability are are too infrequent to satisfy most readers.

At the end of the day I cannot recommend the book for any of its accomplishments or failings, nor do I generally recommend the ​​CYOA​​ series in general.​ It is DEFINITELY worth remembering, however, for its over-the-top excursion through the danger-filled war for the wallowings of the whales and amiably amibitious scope. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

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stevesterling's Thoughts:

This was one of my more favorite CYOA adventures as a kid, mainly because of the thought of being a spy and on the run from KGB agents... but the whale song plot I thought was a little iffy, as far as international importance and sought after by both American and Russian spies. Despite this, still a good CYOA book.

More reviews by stevesterling

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Known Editions

First printing
Second printing
Early printing
Later printing
Ninth printing
Tenth printing
Retitled edition
Hardback edition

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