[[caption-width-right:218:[-To confront the viking ghost, go to page 87. To flee the viking ghost, [[RailRoading go to page 87]]. To find out [[CoversAlwaysLie if the viking ghost is even in the book]], turn to the next page.-] ]]

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


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 were many {{Crossover}} titles, including ones with Creator/{{Disney}} movies, ''Franchise/StarWars'', ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'', and ''Franchise/IndianaJones''. 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.
!!As you venture further down, you are confronted with the following tropes:

* AIIsACrapshoot: ''Supercomputer'', ''Your Very Own Robot'', ''The Computer Takeover''. Subverted in [[spoiler: ''The Computer Takeover''. Turns out Acorn is doing exactly what his designer wanted, trying to TakeOverTheWorld.]]
* AbandonedMine: A recurring location in several of the books. Sometimes, these mines hide a treasure and lead to a "happy ever after" ending ... or set up the main story where the reader and others are being pursued by the bad guys. Other times, it's a place where the reader is trapped -- or in at least one case, is taken (along with several others) by gunpoint by the book's bad guys, where the protagonists are transported (by elevator) to the bottom of a shaft several hundred feet beneath ground level and left for dead.
* 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.''
** In ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'', after '''The End''', you are given the choice to look back at the house despite being warned not to, which sets up one of the {{Nonstandard Game Over}}s below.
* AmbiguousGender: Except for a few books that need for you to be a certain gender to work (such as one where you are part of a Women's Olympic swim team) [[note]] ''The Gold Medal Secret'' [[/note]], your gender is presumably your own gender, even if the pictures show you as one or the other
* AnimatedAdaptation: An interactive DVD based on ''The Abominable Snowman'' and starring Creator/FrankieMuniz came out in the early aughts. Other adaptations were mentioned, but never made, seemingly due to a lukewarm reception of the first offering.
* {{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 endings 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."
* AuthorAppeal:
** R.A. Montgomery often gives his POV characters troubled backstories, e.g. the protagonist's parents are divorced or in the process of divorcing, one or both of the parents are dead, etc.
** Jay Leibold is fond of historical settings, e.g. World War II in ''Sabotage'', colonial America in ''Spy for George Washington'', Medieval Japan in ''Secret of the Ninja'' and its sequels etc.
* AuthorAvatar: The protagonist actually gets 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.
* BalefulPolymorph: This trope is the whole point of ''You Are a Shark''. As punishment for dishonoring a Buddhist temple, the monk curses you to live the lives of many animals until you learn from your mistakes.
* BatmanCanBreatheInSpace: ''Several''. The biggest offender is probably ''Your Very Own Robot'', where one of the good endings has you and your robot fly to Venus for the day and come home later. (And Venus itself looks like a mire with goo all over the surface.) Of course, that title was supposed to be for younger readers.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: In ''The First Olympics'', one of the endings has your character having so much fun in ancient Greece you wish you'd stay forever, all while looking at a statue of Zeus. Let's just say Zeus is more than happy to oblige, and promptly turns you into a statue, thus granting your wish... somehow.
* BittersweetEnding: Some of the "good" endings merely consists in the protagonist surviving or stopping the BigBad temporarily, or implying that ''perhaps'' he/she will have success in the future. i.e., Louise Munro Foley's "Highland Crest" has the ending where the main character [[spoiler:''almost'' gets roped into a complot against [[IronLady Lady]] [[BigGood Sara]] and, though the SmugSnake in charge [[AssholeVictim becomes a victim of the crest's curse]] and Lady Sarah forgives the protagonist, the talk they have is rather bittersweet.]]
* 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 Power Master'', he is TheSpock. The Purple Days war must have taken a toll on his sense of humor.
* 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? [[note]] Mind, the aliens make their captive specimens immortal. [[/note]]
* CoversAlwaysLie: To name just the first example in the series, the sinister bearded figure on the cover to ''The Cave of Time'' does not actually appear in the book.
* 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 a kidnapped scientist. She basically gives you a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech if you defend the government's policy concerning the military importance of the whalesong tapes. Your character basically brushes her off as a [[AnimalWrongsGroup pompous liberal windbag]]. 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: Tends to happen in many of the books of the series, leading the reader to different kinds of good endings that sometimes came out of nowhere.
* DiabolusExMachina: Tends to happen in many of the books of the series, leading the reader to different kinds of bad endings that sometimes came out of nowhere.
%%* DownerEnding: Lots of them per book.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: In an ending of ''Statue of Liberty Adventure'', after hunting a hidden fortune and duping some gangsters, you [[spoiler:slip at the top of a staircase and die immediately]].
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: You died? Flip back to the other page and choose a different option.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''By Balloon to the Sahara''. Only the third book in the series, the author was quite fond of punctuating his conclusions with something other than "The End".
%%* EarnYourHappyEnding
* TheEighties: The rock musicians in ''Rock 'n' Roll Mystery'' and ''You Are a Superstar''. Mullets, new wave, and even more mullets.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: ''The Race Forever'', [[spoiler: in a literal sense. If you survive one of the two races without getting a bad ending, you are sent off to attempt the other race, with no option included to go to an ending where you've completed both]].
* ExcitedShowTitle: 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.
* {{Expy}}:
** One can't be blamed if they see Kay Mallett in ''Statue of Liberty Adventure'' as an Expy for Margaret of ''Comic/DennisTheMenace'' fame.
** Your character in ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (a spy adventure) has a physical resemblance to Steve [=McQueen=]. His beady eyes, humorless, taciturn nature, and regular stone faced expression might make you wonder if Paul Granger somehow got a hold of some {{Golgo13}} manga back in 1979.
* FaceHeelTurn:
** In ''Stock Car Champion'', one scenario has your stock car driver friend (now a [[WeUsedToBeFriends frenemy]]) hook up with a menacing new head mechanic. Suddenly, he's not as nice as he appears to be in other potential scenarios.
** The main premise of ''Sabotage'', as your commanding officer passes you a letter to be opened later on in the book, warning you that your fellow spy Raoul is a double agent working for the Nazis.
* 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. This happens because while usually a bad choice will kill you (or otherwise end the story) immediately, in a few cases the consequences don't become apparent until later, when you will find yourself faced with a situation where the only choices remaining to you are basically "How do you want to die?".
** Prolific CYOA writer R.A. Montgomery is particularly fond of these "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations.
** To be fair, there are ''some'' happy endings (out of 40+) on ''Space and Beyond'', but you never get to your dad or your mom's home planet, which is your first set of your choices in the book.
* 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.
* FissionMailed: One of the books tries to fool you; an illustration shows your character and his companions securely locked in a cell with the familiar words "THE END" clearly written. ''However'', reading the text shows that it actually says, "it looks like it might be THE END", and there's more to read. (This page leads to a good ending, although your dog - not you - becomes the hero.)
* 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!"
* GenderFlip:
** In the original release of ''The Treasure of the Onyx Dragon'' the POV character was a girl, while in the 2007 series' rerelease the POV character is changed to a boy.
** The POV character in ''The Mystery of Ura Senke'' is a boy, but in ''The Case of the Silk King'', which references the protagonist's achievements in the former book, the POV character is a girl.
** In ''Secret of the Ninja'', the POV chara is a long-haired boy. The sequel switches him to a long-haired girl. Though given that the illustrations in ''Secret of the Ninja'' depicted the protagonist as a girl, this might have been a case where it was intended for the protagonist to be female all along.
* GenreShift: ''Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?'' has you as a detective investigating a murder. It was given a sequel in ''Ghost Hunter'', which has you changing careers to get into ParanormalInvestigation.
* GoldenEnding: A few books have one specific positive ending that is much better than any of the others. For example, ''The Horror of High Ridge'' has several endings where you survive the [[HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday semicentennial massacre by murderous ghosts]], but only one where you end the curse permanently.
* {{Gorn}}: The bad endings can sometimes get a bit gratuitous. The most notorious example is the outright horror-genre "The Horror of High Ridge", which was frequently attacked by MoralGuardians for its massive death toll and graphic violence, including a very explicitly-illustrated decapitation.
* GuileHero: ''Every'' protagonist, hopefully, seeing as these gamebooks have no fighting mechanic. Richard Brightfield wrote a whole slew of books that were "Master of <insert martial arts style>", though, and Jay Liebold wrote a string of them where the character is a ninja master.
* HauntedHouse: ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'' (re-released as ''The Curse of the Haunted Mansion'')
* HaveANiceDeath: 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.''
* IChooseToStay:
** 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.
** One of the good endings of ''UFO 54-40'' has you choose to take an alien back to his home planet, even though it will take decades. (You get eternal youth out of the deal.)
** In ''Hyperspace'', you can enter a parallel universe, with the option to stay or return once you learn what really happened. The scientist to brought you there offers to take you back, but you never do go back.
* IncredibleShrinkingMan: ''Prisoner Of The Ant People'', ''You Are Microscopic'', ''Help! You're Shrinking''
* InfantImmortality: Averted. The main character is a teenager in most of the books. They can die. Many different ways. Crushed, eaten, drowning, fading into nonexistence, and many many more.
* KidHero: The majority of the books in the series. One notable aversion is ''Your Code Name is Jonah'' (reissued as ''Spy Trap'') in which the protagonist is 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.
* MeaningfulName: One of the bad guys in ''The First Olympics'' is a chariot owner named ''Demonicus''. And his chariot racing ace is named Nikos. You know, like [[TheDevil Old Nick]].
* MillionToOneChance: Sometimes, the "safe" choice will kill you horribly, and the "unbelievably risky" choice will pay off big. Not always, but a lot more often than statistics would lead you to expect.
* MindControlDevice: Acorn implants one in you in the worst ending of ''The Computer Takeover''. Not only does he starve all humans into submission, but now you are doomed to be his puppet for the rest of your life.
* 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. The closest your character even comes to the StandardHeroReward is probably in "The Forbidden Castle". (He and the princess take shelter from the rain in the Cave of Time, resulting in her coming back to the present time with him; the final page consists of him assuring her the "monsters" - as in cars - won't hurt her and wondering what she'd think about a Big Mac and fries.)
* 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: Several of the books, especially ''By Balloon to the Sahara'', have at least one resolution that ends with something other than '''The End'''. ''The Mystery of Chimney Rock'' probably plays this trope the straightest:
** One ending 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]].[[note]]Another equally bad ending implies he was a former inhabitant of the house who died after falling off the roof.[[/note]] 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 in giant letters followed by a '''THUNK'''.
** Another ending 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'''.
* OhCrap: Many of the illustrations, especially if you're about to die. Any of the books illustrated by Judith Mitchell are guaranteed to invoke this multiple times, even when you're ''not'' necessarily at a death ending. The illustration accompanying one such ending in the original publication of ''Journey Under the Sea'' is a [[http://johnnycompton.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/CYOA-Journey-Under-Sea-Shark.jpg nightmare-inducing classic.]]
%%* TheManyDeathsOfYou: You die. A LOT.
%%* ThePlague: ''Killer Virus''.
* PlanetOfSteves: Almost every German character in the CYOA series with a known first name seems to be called Hans or Franz.
%%* ThePowerOfRock: ''Rock and Roll Mystery''.
* RandomEventsPlot: Some of the titles such as ''Supercomputer'' and ''Deadwood City''.
* RecurringCharacter:
** Dr. Nera Vivaldi has turned up in quite a few of Edward Packard's CYOA volumes.
** ActionGirl Jenny Mudge, who's your trusty sidekick in ''Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?'' and later on, ''Ghost Hunter'', which serves as a sequel of sorts to the former book.
* RobotBuddy: The whole plot of ''Your Very Own Robot''. Also, one of the paths in ''Supercomputer'' has your computer getting a robotic body, and the two of you [[TheyFightCrime fighting crime]].
* 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
* SchroedingersGun: Details of facts often vary widely based on your choice. The statement said to you in a foreign language can be totally different depending on your response to it, for example.
* SheatheYourSword: Played straight more often than not. Even if you're armed, trying to take most threats head-on tends to end pretty badly for you. Justified in that "you" are usually a pre-teen kid, while the things that want to kill you, well, ''aren't''.
* 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 [[{{Manga/Golgo13}} 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.
* TakeOverTheWorld: The goal of Acorn in ''The Computer Takeover'', and [[spoiler:his creator, Cedric Barkham]].
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: ''Stock Car Champion'' comes with such a disclaimer.
* ThoseWackyNazis: ''Shadow of the Swastika''. And Herr Kruptsch from ''Sabotage'', who always seems to be one step ahead of your character.
* TimeTravel: Many titles to choose from... ''The Cave Of Time'', ''Return To The Cave Of Time'', ''Journey To The Year 3000'', etc.
* TooDumbToLive: The first title, ''The Cave Of Time'', has ''two'' sequels, both because the original protagonist, who survived the first trip, was tempted to enter the eponymous cave again, now knowing he was risking his life. Twice. (On the other hand, most fans of the series think ''Return of the Cave of Time'' is [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel much better than the first one.]])
* TwoDunIt: [[spoiler:''Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?'' His niece and her fiance did - he retrieved a bottle of arsenic from the greenhouse, and she poured the arsenic into Harlowe's brandy bottle.]]
* 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.
* WarIsHell: Some of the R.A. Montgomery books are pretty empthatic about this trope.
* WeaksauceWeakness: The aliens from ''Invaders of the Planet Earth'' had technology so incompatible with human electronics that even the ''light from a flashlight'' can destroy one of their ships. Somehow. Their technological advantage is still so huge that they effortlessly conquered the planet a decade before when the story's set.
* 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.
* WouldHurtAChild: Given that the targeted demographic of this series is 10- to 14-year olds and with its use of second-person pronouns to refer to the main protagonist thus implied to be the reader, there are many graphic, highly disturbing and brutal endings to be read, all committed by people who have no qualms about hurting children. See CruelAndUnusualDeath above for examples of these unconscionable acts.
* YouWillBeBeethoven: Wait! You ''don't want'' to be UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan! (from ''House of Danger'')
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'''