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Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. (Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens) Hardcover – March 1, 2010


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Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. (Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens) + City of Glass: The Graphic Novel (New York Trilogy) + Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 - 9
  • Series: Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810984237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810984233
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Shiga introduces readers to a whole new technique of reading comics. Jimmy must decide if he wants chocolate or vanilla ice cream. That's the first choice readers face in order to determine the fate of the world in this "Choose Your Own Adventure" style graphic novel. Rather than reading panels left to right, color-coded tubelike lines send children in the direction the panels should be read, from right to left/left to right, up to down/down to up, and flipping backwards to pages rather than going forward. Tabs on the edge of the pages help move the tubes along, directing readers to which page to read next. If a tube splits into two paths from a panel, readers then must choose which scenario to follow. Illustrations are drawn in ink, with color overlay. The text is clearly written by hand and will be easily deciphered by readers. Seasoned graphic-novel fans will be entertained by selecting scenarios throughout this action-packed book while developing problem-solving skills. Thousands of story possibilities will guarantee them a different experience each time they pick up this book. However, some readers may have to run their finger along the tube lines to keep track of their place in the story's path, as some of them can be quite long or zigzagged.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In this graphic-novel mind boggler, Shiga blows the choose-your-own-adventure concept out of the water. Readers play the role of little Jimmy and on the first page make the seemingly innocuous decision of ordering a vanilla or chocolate ice-cream cone. Tubes connect panels in all directions and veer off into tabs to other pages, creating a head-spinningly tangled web of a story (well, stories; the book claims to have 3,856 different possibilities). The crux is that Jimmy stumbles into the lab of an affable mad scientist and is allowed to tinker with three inventions: a mind reader, a time machine, and the Killitron, which obliterates all life on earth aside from the user’s. Jimmy’s carefree fiddling with the three devices isn’t merely a way to lead readers through the subsequent head trip of an adventure; it’s also just about the perfect kid-friendly initiation to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (no, really), in which each decision and action split reality into distinct parallel universes. It’s unfathomably, almost unreasonably complex. Given this book and a distraction-free hour or two, readers will either end up looking like Jimmy on the cover—clutching their skulls in googly-eyed exasperation—or will arrive at a nifty new way of looking at reality. It’s maddening and challenging, all right, but that’s precisely what makes it so crazy fun. Grades 4-9. --Ian Chipman

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Customer Reviews

The book is part graphic novel and part 'choose your own adventure'.
Mark J. Pescatrice
Figuring out this book was a fun adventure, and I recommend it to everyone who likes a graphic novels or puzzles.
G. A. Foran
I still feel like I'm a ways from really getting my head around the book, but I'm enjoying the ride.
Dienne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Quantum physics, parallel worlds, probability, entropy. Yes it's all in a day's work for your average everyday choose your own adventure book. Now just substitute the words "average" and "everyday" in that previous sentence for "extraordinary" and "twisted" and you've got yourself a pretty good description of Jason Shiga's graphic title "Meanwhile". Simple enough in its concept and art that a ten-year-old would feel confident picking it up, yet jam packed with an insane degree of whimsy and darkness, the book isn't afraid to trust the brains, and the decisions, of its audience. "Meanwhile" is hoping that you're gonna be a pretty smart cookie if you pick it up. Better not disappoint. There could be consequences to pay along the way if you aren't, after all.

Jimmy walks into an ice cream shop. He makes his decision. Either Jimmy chooses vanilla or he chooses chocolate. From that decision, you see two Jimmys now. The vanilla Jimmy storyline suddenly develops a line that you must follow to a tab. Open the book to that tab and you see the result of his decision. Follow the line and tab that connect to the other ice cream flavor, and suddenly you're plunged into an intense storyline. Jimmy meets and befriends a local inventor who has come up with three objects. There's the time machine, the SQUID which can transfer memories, and the appropriately named Killitron that can either kill everyone in the world not inside of it or make delicious ice cream. Jimmy decides which of the three to play with and along the way discovers a horrific story behind not just the inventor's life, but his own as well.

There are plenty of impressive blurbs on the back of the book to ogle. There's one from Scott McCloud and one from Gene Luen Yang. Fine cartoonists, the both of them.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alison's VINE VOICE on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Moms shouldn't choose their son's books, and this is why. While flipping through this book made me a bit dizzy and confused, my son devoured it in one day, and has read it over and over again.

It's a choose-your-own adventure comic book - and even cooler than it sounds, if such a thing is possible.

I have to admit, if I saw Meanwhile in the bookstore, I would have picked it up, not understood it, and walked out without buying it...and my son would have missed out on this great reading experience. Not only did he really enjoy this book, but it has opened him up to comic books and graphic novels - something he had no interest in before!

The story is hysterical, the pages feel really neat to the touch (you'll see what I mean), and the artwork is colorful and engaging.

The Kid's Review:

My favorite part of the book was when Jimmy saw him self from ten minutes ago in the bathroom and threw a book at him. I recommend this book to my friends because it's funny and action-packed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By GreenBeanTeenQueen on March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
About the Book: It all starts with a simple question-what flavor of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla? From there Jimmy is sent on the adventure of the reader's choice. Follow the paths and see where they lead.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I have been excited to read this one since I saw a starred review in Booklist. The premise intrigued me-a choose your own adventure comic? I had to check it out.

Meanwhile is the most inventive and creative book I have come across in a long time. I don't know how Jason Shiga put this book together-I'm amazed at his talent and creativity. The book doesn't read like your typical book. There are paths to follow and tabs to turn, so the reader is always moving around flipping pages and choosing new paths. Even though it's marketed as a children's book, this book is for all ages. This is one parents and children will have a blast reading together and letting each other choose which way to go.

Meanwhile is a twisty choose your own adventure comic fun. Even if you've never picked up comics before, give this book a try. It's too much fun and once you get the hang of how the book works, you won't want to stop reading. The cover says there are 3,856 story possibilities, so I'm sure Meanwhile will be keeping readers busy for a long time!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ohio Mom VINE VOICE on December 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
PERFECT!

This book truly deserves that caption. I can't imagine many books that would cause an 11 year old reluctant reader to ignore his other Christmas presents (wii games, Rubik's slide, Bop It, etc.) and his beloved iPod and DS - this one has.

More than 3 hours have been spent enjoying "Meanwhile" today both in solitude and with other family members that "just have to read this!".

End of story. :)

8-11 Still Perfect

I had to ammend my review. My son had to take something to camp to do during quiet time each day. I tried to persuade him to take a chapter book worried that he would get bored. Nope, he wanted to take this book. It was the hit of the cabin. ALL of the boys LOVED this book. I will be buying this for gifts and to donate to classrooms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Seppo Helava on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I really, genuinely love it. Mechanically, it's brilliant - a comic book take on a Choose Your Own Adventure -and if that's all it was, it'd be neat. But it's not neat. There are times when the panels circle back on themselves - where the time travel in the book is shown to the user in a *brilliant* way - illuminating panels that you've seen before, but weren't looking at. There's the whole narrative structure of the book, which plays with the design of the panels and the connections, and has anti-cheat mechanisms, and itself cheats at times. There are puzzles to solve, and things to remember, and if you're not paying attention, you won't get anywhere - but oh god when you are everything is completely bonkers.

It took me months to get to the end of it - to really dive in and get the book to reveal its secrets. It starts out as a cute novelty. Then it becomes a beautifully designed piece of art. And then it's hilarious. And then it's insane.

This is the kind of book that everyone should have read, because there's nothing else like it. This is the kind of craziness that we should all hope to encourage. Get it. Get 10. Give them to your friends.
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