[[quoteright:218:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CYOA1_3088.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:218:[-To confront the viking ghost, go to page 87. To flee the viking ghost, [[RailRoading go to page 87]].-] ]]

''Note: This is the entry for the actual ''Choose Your Own Adventure'' series. For the entire genre, also known as "gamebooks", click [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure here]].''

AnAdventurerIsYou!

The ''Choose Your Own Adventure'' series is a famous and highly successful example of the [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure gamebook genre]] with 250 million copies in print. The series, begun in 1979, saw the peak of its fame in TheEighties, and after Bantam Books ceased publication of the books, was revived in 2007 under the independent company Chooseco.

The stories are told in SecondPersonNarration, which is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in a meta sort of way: you're the one reading the book and making the decisions about what to do next, so you should play the role of the protagonist. Plots included TimeTravel, UFO abduction, cross-continent racing, getting lost at sea, solving murder mysteries and coping with supercomputers. There are typically more ways of failing and/or dying than succeeding. Death sometimes comes in [[TheManyDeathsOfYou horribly]] [[HaveANiceDeath inventive]] [[{{Gorn}} ways]], yielding textual LudicrousGibs.
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!!As you venture further down, you are confronted with the following tropes:

* AIIsACrapshoot: ''Supercomputer'', ''Your Very Own Robot'', ''The Computer Takeover''
* AlternateEnding: In ''Space Patrol'', one of the endings has you sentenced to life in a prison colony on the moon. ''However'', a blurb after "The End" tells you "If you don't like this ending, turn to page 87."
-->''If you take this alternate ending, go on to the AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence listing.''
* {{Animorphism}}: ''You Are A Shark''
** One of the bad endings of ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'' involves being turned into a mouse, body [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody and mind.]]
** One of the ending of ''Hyperspace'' has you turning into a bat.
* AnyoneCanDie: Even (perhaps especially) yourself, if the page you chose has an unfortunate ending.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: One of the ''Space Patrol'' endings: "You leave your body behind and join your mind with the Xu'ka."
* AuthorAvatar: You actually get to ''meet'' Edward Packard himself in ''Hyperspace''.
* TheBadGuyWins: Any book with a clear villain, such as ''Space Vampire'' or ''War With The Evil Power Master'', is guaranteed to invoke this multiple times.
* BittersweetEnding: Some of the "good" endings merely consists in you surviving or stopping the BigBad temporarily, or implying that ''perhaps'' you will have success in the future.
* BuildLikeAnEgyptian: ''Secret of the Pyramids''.
* CatsAreMean: You can be shrunken down and ''eaten'' by one in ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock''.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: In ''Prisoner of the Ant People'', your Martian sidekick Flppto is a DeadpanSnarker. In War with the ''Evil Powermaster'', he is TheSpock. The Purple Days war must have taken a toll on his sense of humor.
* CreativeDifferences: Edward Packard, who pioneered the premise with his manuscript ''The Adventures Of You On Sugarcane Island'' and was one of CYOA's founders, had a falling out with R.A. Montgomery at one point. As a result, Chooseco doesn't reprint any of Packard's works, and Packard started his own book series titled ''U-Ventures''. (Guess [[IAmTheTrope who claimed the rights]] to the CYOA franchise.)
* CruelTwistEnding: A staple of the series. It's not uncommon to turn to a page that looks like it will have a positive ending, until the word "however" shows up.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: In UFO 54-40, one of the punishments meted out by the aliens is to send a person to Somo, to "sleep for a billion years", leading to some FridgeLogic - do you still get to live out your life afterwards?
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (reissued as Spy Trap) is a very cynical Cold War era entry into the series. You are in the role of a definitely adult government agent. Your antagonists are KGB (in other words, the Russians). The dialogue is very adult, including a memorable, very politically spiked conversation with the wife of the kidnapped scientist. She basically tells you off if you tow the governments line. Interestingly enough, in one of the endings, you are told by your boss, "If you have to let your conscience be your guide, you'll never make it as a spy!".
* DeusExMachina[=/=]DiabolusExMachina: Both tropes tend to happen in many of the books othe series, leading the reader to different kind of good and bad endings that sometimes came out of nowhere. See also CruelTwistEnding above.
* DownerEnding: Lots of them per book.
* [[DroppedABridgeOnHim Dropped A Bridge On You]]
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Of course.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: ''The Race Forever'', [[spoiler: in a literal sense. If you make the right choices, you don't encounter any of the endings and literally encounter a mobius loop taking you back to the beginning]].
* [[ExcitedShowTitle Excited Story Title!]]: Quite a few, mostly using just one word: ''Kidnapped!'', ''Mayday!'', ''Hostage!'', ''Vanished!'', ''Hurricane!'', ''Stampede!'', ''Earthquake!'' Also ''The Mona Lisa Is Missing!'', ''Search The Amazon!'' and ''Sky Jam!'' among others.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: There are a few occasions in some of the books in which the two choices which are presented to the reader both lead to a bad ending.
* FairPlayWhodunnit: ''Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?''
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: For a series aimed at preteens and young adults, there sure are a lot of grisly depictions of your demise.
* GenerationXerox: R.A. Montgomery's children Anson and Ramsey have written many books for the series. Edward Packard's daughter Andrea contributed one story, ''Secret of the Sun God'', and collaborated with her father on another, ''Mayday!''.
* GainaxEnding: One of the endings in ''Inside UFO 54-40'' has you warping through strange dimensions, until you've ended up "...here at this moment, reading a book!"
* GreekMythology: ''The Throne of Zeus''.
* HauntedHouse: ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'' (re-released as ''The Curse of the Haunted Mansion'')
* HaveANiceDeath[=/=]ItsAWonderfulFailure: See TheManyDeathsOfYou below. Your demise is described in all ''sorts'' of gruesome, gory detail.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: ''Spy For George Washington'', ''You Can Make A Difference: The Story Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.''
* IncredibleShrinkingMan: ''Prisoner Of The Ant People'', ''You Are Microscopic'', ''Help! You're Shrinking''
* KidHero: Just about the majority of them. One notable aversion is ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (reissued as Spy Trap) in which you are clearly an adult.
* LighterAndSofter: A couple of CYOA series were made for younger readers that had fewer [[DownerEnding Downer Endings]] than the original series.
* MacGuffin: The radiation neutralizer in ''The Brilliant Dr. Wogan''.
* MagicalComputer: ''Supercomputer'', ''The Reality Machine''
* TheManyDeathsOfYou: So many that there are [[http://loseyourownadventure.tumblr.com/ entire]] [[http://youchosewrong.tumblr.com/ blogs]] devoted to showcasing the worst ones.
* MindScrew: ''Inside UFO 54-40'' contains one ending that is inaccessible from any other page, in which you end up at Ultima, the "planet of paradise".
** This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in that particular ending ("No one can choose to visit Ultima... nor can you get here by following directions") and other parts of the book, where some people speak of a world called Ultima that is impossible to get to by conventional means.
** In fact the book says of Ultima that "no one can get there by making choices or following instructions"--which of course is the whole idea behind Choose Your Own Adventure books. Kids who read ''Inside UFO 54-40'' were helped to find Ultima by a two-page illustration that starts the ending (said illustration being much bigger than any other ending in a CYOA book).
* MultipleEndings: Obviously. The choices you make over the course of a story could lead you to the standard HappyEnding, a DownerEnding, or several different types of NonStandardGameOver.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: There are some endings that don't necessarily end with you dying, but you may still royally screw things up for everyone, and end up getting sent to prison... [[FateWorseThanDeath or worse.]]
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: ''Space Vampire'' and its sequel ''Vampire Invaders''.
* NoHuggingNoKissing: Not even in the few books where your character is supposedly an adult.
* NonIndicativeTitle: In ''Prisoner of the Ant People'', you don't spend much time interacting with the titular Ant People, let alone as their prisoner. The book reads more like a prelude to [[spoiler: ''War with the Evil Power Master'']].
* NonstandardGameOver: One of the endings of ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'' has you leaving the haunted house after encountering a ghostly creature who threatens you with his fate [[DontLookBack if you ever look back at the house]] - another equally bad ending implies he was a former inhabitant of the house who died after falling off the roof. If you don't like that ending, you can choose to look back one last time anyway, the resulting page of which simply has a bloodcurdling scream down the page followed by a '''THUNK'''.
** Another ending from the same book has your character accidentally breaking the resident witch's china cat and being cursed to pick up the pieces for all eternity, complete with '''There Is No End'''.
* NorseMythology: You get a crash course in it with the introduction to ''The Trumpet Of Terror''.
* OhCrap: Many of the illustrations, especially if you're about to die.
* TheManyDeathsOfYou: You die. A LOT.
* ThePlague: ''Killer Virus''
* ThePowerOfRock: ''Rock and Roll Mystery''
* RecurringCharacter: Dr. Nera Vivaldi has turned up in quite a few of Edward Packard's CYOA volumes.
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: ''The Third Planet from Altair'', complete with a [[http://www.ethblue.com/cyoa/deathrat.jpg good up-close look at one]] should you decide to [[TooDumbToLive sit down and rest]] after outrunning it.
* RubberForeheadAliens: The Derns of ''Planet of the Dragons'' look like short humans with enormous noses.
* SaveScumming: Admit it, you've kept your finger on one page to go back to in case of an ending you didn't like.
* SecondPersonNarration
* ShoutOut: In the original issue of ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (aka Spy Trap), artist Paul Grainger may have based the protagonist's character design on [[{{Golgo 13}} this guy]].
* SpeculativeFiction: Some stories, such as ''Forecast From Stonehenge'' or ''Mystery Of The Maya'', get real imaginative about real-life ancient artifacts.
* TakeAThirdOption: Sometimes you'll get three or more choices as to how to proceed.
* ThoseWackyNazis: ''Shadow of the Swastika''.
* TimeTravel: Many titles to choose from... ''The Cave Of Time'', ''Return To The Cave Of Time'', ''Journey To The Year 3000'', etc.
* VagueAge: Nera Vivaldi appears in a few contemporary settings as well as at least two which noticeably take place in the future. ''Space Vampire'' at least implies that she is in her fifties but that's not much of a change given that that story (as well as ''Third Planet From Altair'') is probably set a little farther than NextSundayAD.
** [[WildMassGuessing Perhaps she invented a time machine, too?]]
* ValuesDissonance: In one of the endings for ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (aka ''Spy Trap''), you decide to quit your job as a spy saying "I want to study whales, not exploit them." Your boss responds by saying that "It's not done! It's unpatriotic". He eventually accepts your resignation but then concludes his fuming with the bottom line: "But don't think for a moment that being a spy is immoral. After all, we are the defenders of freedom." Today, it would be hard to not feel embarrassed for him. It must be remembered that in this 1979 book, you are in the role of an American government agent versus the [[DirtyCommunists Russians]].

* WarIsHell: Some of the R.A. Montgomery books are pretty empthatic about this trope.
* WingedHumanoid: The Hyksos of ''Planet of the Dragons'', although it turns out that their "wings" are artificial ones, strapped to normal humanoid arms. If you choose to join them, you get your own set of wings.
* [[IChooseToStay You Choose to Stay]]: One of the endings in ''Mystery Of The Maya'' has you becoming the ruler of the ancient Mayan kingdom until you die of old age. You have the option of going back to your old life, but you choose not to.
* [[YouWillBeBeethoven You Will Be Genghis Khan]]: Wait! You ''don't want'' to be GenghisKhan! (from ''House of Danger'')
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Suddenly, after warping through various strange wormholes and multiple dimensions, you find yourself in front of a lighted screen, reading a TV Tropes web page.

'''The End'''
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