So you’re a kid on your way to visit your uncle when you get stuck in a cave that changes time. Or they were taken by aliens. Or they were going straight to the bottom of the sea. When you make a mistake, you could get eaten by sharks, get stuck in the future, or be put to death for space crime. There were a lot of choose your own adventure books back in the day (and you almost definitely cheated by keeping your thumb between the pages, just in case you made the wrong choice). These books were a big part of our lives when we were young. What if we told you there were choose your own adventure books for adults, too?
If you want to read the classic choose your own adventure books again as an adult, that’s fine. The ant people don’t care how old you are. But there are a few game books that are for people of all ages or who are a little older. Literary adventures through Shakespeare or Austen, as well as role-playing games where you fight your way through high-octane fantasy worlds, are some of the things you can do on this game Keep your thumb ready in case you make a mistake and need to go back. Here are 23 books for adults that let you choose your own adventure.
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To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
You’re the Prince of Denmark, and your father has just died, so you’re in charge of everything. Even worse, your mom has already married someone else… to your uncle. How will you deal with that? Or are you going to skip all the angst and instead play as Ophelia? In To Be or Not to Be, you’re in charge of all of Hamlet’s decisions as he goes through Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy (or lack thereof).
Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster
As Elizabeth Bennet, you want to find a lucky and loving marriage. If you read Lost in Austen, you might find that there isn’t a simple way to get to Mr. Darcy from the first page. It’s possible that along the way you’ll stop by Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and pretty much every other Jane Austen book that she ever wrote.
Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz
As far as I know, Choose Your Own Disaster is more like a choose your own adventure book than anything else. A yeti won’t eat or trap you in space with this one. As one young woman tries to find herself in the many, many choices that her 20s have to offer, this long-form personality quiz is both funny and honest.
A Girl Walks Into a Bar: Your Fantasy, Your Rules by Helena S. Paige
Let’s be honest about this. What comes to your mind when you hear the words “choose your own adventure” and “adult”? Don’t try to hide it. We are lucky for you, though. Helena S. Paige came up with the steamy idea first, so she’s already done it. There is a girl in a bar. No, I won’t. You can get to know the bartender a little better. You could follow a mysterious woman to a second place. The choice is up to you in this fun, flirty gamebook that you can play.
Hotels of North America by Rick Moody
Hotels of North America by Rick Moody has a main character who hasn’t been seen for a while. Readers can enjoy this novel in two ways: by skipping around in the book and reading the hotel reviews in the order they were written, or by reading from the first page to the last.
Infected by James Schannep
Infected is a game that puts you right in the middle of a horrible zombie apocalypse, so that’s gross, too. Will you live? Or will you die and come back to life? Infected is a good movie for people who like scary adventures and zombie stories. There are a lot of surprises at the end of the movie.
If by Nicolas Bourbaki
In the beginning, you don’t have a name and you live in northern California. When you finish each chapter, you get to choose what you want to do next. Each decision you make in If changes both the literary style of the book and the story itself. This is different from most “choose your own adventure” stories. In this gamebook, there are a lot of different endings that you can choose from.
My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris
If you have ever been annoyed by a romantic heroine’s decisions, this book is for you. When you use My Lady’s Choosing, you can decide what will happen to our heroine. Because of his size, she might fall in love with the Captain of the Highlanders: Angus McTaggart. No, she won’t. Lord Garraway Craven is a very bad person. When the Lady Evangeline is on the road, will she be her “traveling companion?” It’s up to you to make your own crazy romance.
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
The choice is yours: will you have chocolate or vanilla. Or a killer robot or mind-reading or going back in time. You can choose what happens next in this comic book. Meanwhile, you can choose what happens next. He’s going to try not to destroy the world in his quest for ice cream, but you can help him figure out how to get there.
Into the Dungeon by Hari Conner
Hari Conner, the illustrator of this short adventure book, has written and drawn it. It takes readers down into the bowels of a dungeon full of loot. If you want to keep track of your steps, grab a pen and paper. Then, get ready to solve puzzles, make money, or have a bad accident.
Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel by Heather McElhatton
Make sure to take a few “do-overs” because there are 150 different ways to end the story. Pretty Little Mistakes lets you make your own way through the rest of your life after high school (just like real life, except that you can start over). Will you live in a fancy house? As a scientist who has won awards Ducks pecked him to death. You’ll have to read and see for yourself.
What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower by Margaret Killjoy
Suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a political fight between gnomes and goblins. You are just a steampunk character living in a fantasy steampunk city. Then again, maybe you’re taking off in a balloon to drink absinthe and meet rich people. Or you could run away with your lover and hide in caves. Everything is on the table in Margaret Killjoy’s What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower, which she calls a “adventure book of your own choice.”
Beauty Queen Blowout by Lilla and Nora Zuckerman
Take on the role of a beauty pageant contestant in this book by sisters Lilla and Nora Zuckerman, both of whom write for the TV show Fringe. He is disgusting and the other contestants will do anything to win. But can you pick your own way to the top of this game show? Beauty Queen Blowout tells you.
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
The memoir of one of the country’s best-known actors in a book that’s also a game. You can bet on it. Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography makes it easy for people to read about the parts of his life they want to. The way you think about it is kind.