Review: Maybe Tonight?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Maybe Tonight?Maybe Tonight? by Bridie Clark
Series: Snap Decision #1
Published by Roaring Brook Press on August 6, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Maybe Tonight? opens as the reader is getting ready for the most exciting party of the year—Midwinter’s Night Dream, set in the frosty woods just off campus—with her roommates and best friends Annabel Snow, Spider Harris, and Libby Monroe. Choices unfold quickly and the reader must decide which risks to take in pursuit of social status, adventure, success, and love.

First Sentence: “Congratulations!”

Oh, the reviewer’s dilemma: if you want to read something but it’s going to be difficult to review, should you request it? While I could not resist requesting a choose your own adventure book, I find myself unsure how best to review it. Am I duty-bound to read through every possible path to correctly analyze it? Well, I hope not, because I didn’t. I completed a couple of the myriad branches, enough to determine that Maybe Tonight? does offer the choose your own adventure fun, but leans a bit too heavily on the morals.

As a kid, I refused to read any Goosebumps books that weren’t Choose Your Own Adventure. I would, inevitably choose the route that ended in my death, every time, then backtracking to try again. I delight in getting to be a part of the story, though I have to say I may be a bit old for them now, since they just do not seem to have the same charm that they once did for me.

The basic premise of Maybe Tonight? is that you are an incoming freshman at an exclusive boarding school. You’re a motivated, brilliant scholarship student, and a bit envious of your beautiful roommate, who has tons of money, a generous heart, and the hottest boyfriend, how you wish was yours instead. Despite your book smarts, you’re a bit vain and money-conscious. Depending on which route you take, you navigate one or a couple of days at school.

Now, if you’re like me, and you choose the safe options (not letting a girl cut you with a knife, not drinking when you might lose your scholarship, not ignoring a friend because he’s not popular), the story ends really quickly. My first path ended in like three choices, which was a bit anticlimactic. I wish there was a bit more doubling back and interconnection, but I think that once you make a choice, you can only move linearly through the book and they actually all come to an end fairly quickly. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be for reluctant readers or if the audience is intended to read through all of the possible outcomes.

The choices are often leading, completely not subtly lecturing the reader on proper behavior. For example, “ratting out the party is social suicide, no question about it, but it’s still better than expulsion.” Rather than just letting the chips fall where they may and teens to soak in lessons therefrom, the questions are basically telling you what your options are. In this case, rat out the party or get expelled. The moral element is just too heavy-handed, and I’m not sure how much fun that will be for a teen reader.

While I definitely enjoyed the nice quick read in my busy schedule, I’m not all that impressed with Maybe Tonight? and won’t be continuing with the series. If you enjoy choose your own adventure and have the perseverance to flip through every possible outcome, it might be more your speed.

18 responses to “Review: Maybe Tonight?”

  1. I was never a choose your own adventure fan. I want to read the whole story, not just part of it, so I would always go back and read all the parts (even at the age of 8 or 9 I was making spreadsheets) and it’s hard to keep track of all the choices.

    It sounds like a cute idea but I can see how it would be frustrating if the book ends in only 3 turns!

    • Christina says:

      I like having power, even if I do keep dying. Haha. I didn’t read all of them, my sense of needing to complete everything not applying here, because flipping back and forth is frustrating.

      It was over so abruptly. Or it didn’t tell me what to do. I was really confused. Seriously anticlimactic.

  2. I’ve never read a choose-your-own-adventure book, but they sound fun. I’ll have to try one. …just not this one 😉

  3. Dana says:

    Oh no! I remember choose your own adventure books from when I was a kid. I loved them so much that I jumped at the chance to get this one. It’s been sitting on my stack of review books to read. Bummer that you didn’t enjoy it…I was so excited to read this one~

  4. Girl, I hated this one. The only “negative” choice I made was to let my palm get sliced. The rest? I chose the least-assholeish thing. It ended really quickly, with no tension at all. A gigantic flop.

    I wish I had read those Goosebumps books you mentioned though. But Maybe Tonight? was actually my first chose-your-own-adventure book. Hmph.

  5. Eileen says:

    Ahh I’ve actually never read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but I guess I won’t be reading this one to start off my experience with them, because the safe choices do sound anticlimactic and really quick, which is probably what I would choose first just to see how that worked out and because I’m a total scaredy cat when it comes to getting injured or in trouble. ;D The way that the morals are spelled out for you kind of reminds me of something that you would give a kid, and I can see why it bothers you, because most teens wouldn’t learn if something was just like put in front of them. But I don’t know that’s just me pretending I know all the answers to being a teen.

    Fantastic review, Christina!

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, it’s a bit too much focused on forcing teens to make the “right” choices, rather than actually being fun. Sigh. I just don’t imagine teens would appreciate it.

  6. I’d been side-eying this one ever since I saw it was a YA Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. I’m all for CYOA, when I was a kid, but now? Eh. And it seems that the whole reviewing problem is so complicated. Every rating could be different because every reader could LITERALLY read something other than what another person read. Just seems messy. And I was under the pretense that it was about a party. Don’t know why I thought that.

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, this is a case where my inner child was all “shut up, bitch, we need this!” and I went with it, but bad things happened. Also, my id needs to stop grabbing the pretty covers. Sigh. It IS about a party, but I was only there for like two pages either time.

  7. Ouch, I hadn’t heard of this one and while I do like the occasional CYOA this definitely seems like one I should pass on.

  8. lgg0123 says:

    I used to love CYOA books back when I was a kid! My aunt bought me a bunch and sent them to me when I was in sleepaway camp. I was absolutely obsessed with this Atlantis one. I also seemed to die alot no matter what I did! This book sounds pretty lame from what you’ve said and I’ll definitely be avoiding it!
    -Scott Reads It

  9. I haven’t read a CYOA in a long time, and while the concept of this book seems really interesting, I’m not sure I’ll pick it up. They have to be really well done to work, and since this one didn’t quite cut it, I’ll pass. But it’s cool to see someone trying to take up the concept and put a fresh twist on it.

    • Christina says:

      In theory I like what’s happening here, but I don’t think it turned out well at all. More choices, less moralizing, more story, less telling you your personality.

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