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3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  3,018 Ratings  ·  362 Reviews
Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a t ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Harry N. Abrams
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Sam Quixote
Jan 21, 2017 Sam Quixote rated it liked it
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Jason Shiga is a genius cartoonist. Meanwhile is a choose your own adventure puzzle comic that took years to make and he literally needed to write a computer algorithm to put it all together in book form!

It starts with his regular character Jimmy Yee going to get ice cream but must decide: vanilla or chocolate? The choice sends the reader on a complex journey where you’ll be flicking back and forth between pages guiding Jimmy hopefully through his adve
May 24, 2010 Betsy rated it it was amazing
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 darkne ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Janie rated it it was ok
When I first glanced at this in the library, I had a nerd-attack at the sheer genius of it. I mean, choose your own adventure COMIC?!?! However, after the first maybe, five endings, I got bored. I'm sorry! The thing about this book is that it's actually quite tricky to read the panels and follow the order of the story, and once you do get the hang of it, you have to start from page one to start over because virtually every single time because, unlike Choose Your Own Adventure books, the page tab ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Andrew rated it it was ok
Great gimmick and it's executed very well. It's a choose-your-own-adventure comic, and it works a lot better than expected. Unfortunately Shiga didn't find time to write an interesting story or interesting scenarios. I read it a few different ways and found myself repeating the same passages, some times multiple times in one 'play through'.

I kind of hope there's another attempt at this. The branching paths are executed very well, and there's some pretty clever time travel and multiple-universes
Holy awesome. I always felt kind of meh about choose your own adventure books (there are only so many storylines that end in certain death and still keep me interested), but this is way. way. cooler. Ever read a choose your own adventure comic book? Especially one with 3,856 possible path possibilities? With multiple storylines that run on the same page and secret hidden pages that can only be accessed with a code? In fact, I feel kind of weird saying that I've "read" this book, seeing as I prob ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it
Recommended to Miriam by: Ariel
Shelves: adventure
This visual variation on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books gets props for originality. The amount of work the author put in is staggering, and the story is fun. However, it is so difficult to follows the path from one panel to another that I couldn't really get into the story and enjoy it -- I was spending twice as much time finding the right place as actually "reading" since there isn't much text to slow one down. This might be better for a kid who is a slow reader. And maybe the techniqu ...more
Jorge Castanos
Sep 01, 2016 Jorge Castanos rated it liked it
¿Helado de chocolate o helado de vainilla?

Lo que parece una decisión fácil desencadena una historia con 3,856 posibilidades de resolución.

Jason Shiga ha creado con Meanwhile una pieza bastante original e inolvidable. Un proyecto que pareció consumir tiempo y, ¿porqué no?, neuronas.

Jimmy es un chiquillo normal: curioso, travieso y que gusta del helado, por supuesto. Pero Jimmy no es el protagonista per se. Uno mismo se encargará de seguir las andanzas del niño y tomar decisiones por él. Como dije
Oct 26, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
A choose-your-own-adventure done in a comic book format. Fun.
Jul 06, 2010 Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels

Jason Shiga is a genius and a madman. Branching-plot comics have been done before from time to time, but never to any great success and with no real innovation. Here, the innovation is in the reading experience itself: Instead of reading one page, then turning to a different page - as in most CYOA-type books - it's the comics panels themselves that twist and turn, with the reader's direction of flow guided by a series of pipes. Whe
Julie Suzanne
Jul 27, 2010 Julie Suzanne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sterling & Verdi
This is a bizarre new format (at least to me) of choose your-own-adventure. WOW. It had my 10-year-old, who loves "manga" (I still don't really know what this is), drawing, and comics, unable to come up for air. It was written with exactly the same kind of humor, drawing, and topics that my son loves...uncanny. I also had a lot of fun figuring out how it works with him. I'd give it 5 stars but I was quickly frustrated with having to go through the whole story repeatedly in order to make differen ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Pretty cool choose-your-own adventure-style book. This looks like it couldn't have been easy to create and I'm easily impressed by things that look like they wouldn't be easy.
Jun 04, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
A sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure graphic novel with a hint of Chutes & Ladders fun. Brilliant and wacky and non-stop fun.
Oct 18, 2016 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I cannot figure this book out. I think the concept is so fun and unique, but it just makes absolutely no sense to me.
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 17, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

Well, this *is* a book but a very unique one. You've never seen anything like this before: plastic pages with tabs all along the edges and tubes that run up, down, right, left and all over the place. In fact, this is more like playing a game than reading a book. You start out with the choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream and from there on every choice you make changes the story and the p
Amar Pai
Sep 11, 2010 Amar Pai rated it it was ok
Interestingly laid out choose your own adventure book / graphic novel. It's a simple story initially, but at many points the comic box presents with two choices. Rather than 'turning to page x,' you follow the line representing your choice to the edge of the text, where it matches one of numerous vertically spaced differently colored tabs. The mechanism is elegant, though following the comic boxes can be a bit difficult. (They're not left to right; you have to always look for where the next conn ...more
Ben Rowe
Nov 21, 2013 Ben Rowe rated it liked it
I have a lot of nostalgic good will for "choose your own adventure" type of books and I am always drawn to books that try to do something a little bit different so I was understandably drawn to Meanwhile which is the only choose your own adventure style of graphic novel I am aware of.

Meanwhile is very clever. The way the choose your own adventure works within the story is very well thought out and is a visually appealing follow the string/paths which are utilized together with tabs at the ends o
Jun 02, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
OK, so I didn't read it all. But give this visual Choose Your Own Adventure to anyone who loves math, mazes, and/or comics. The choice between chocolate and vanilla spins out into 3,856 story possibilities, many of which end in doom. This will keep you occupied for a while.

I don't even understand this note in the front: "Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm was written to determine the most efficient method to transfer it to book form. However, the problem proved t
Apr 03, 2013 Nick rated it it was amazing
Why did I read it?

It was suggested to me at a reader's advisory workshop last year, and I happened to see it on the shelf yesterday.

What happened?

Jimmy walks into an ice cream shop and has the choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Sounds like the beginning of a normal book, right? Wrong! Have you ever read a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel? Well, this one is just like that...just on steroids and in graphic novel form.

Shiga pretty much gives you complete control of what happens in this novel
This book is incredibly trippy - in a good way. It's kind of a Choose Your Own Adventure in graphic novel format featuring time travel, entropy, quantam physics, and a doomsday device. It starts out innocently enough - do you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Choose which path you want to take and follow the tubes to the correct tab, which takes you to another page where the story continues. Various other choices along the way cause the story to split yet again, revealing a story that grows s ...more
Christian McKay
Mar 03, 2010 Christian McKay rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
My experience with Meanwhile was sort of an inverted parabola. I entered into it with a great deal of excitement (having been swept to great heights by FLEEP and Bookhunter. So what is that? A parabola that starts high on the Y axis? Screw it, we'll just leave that analogy behind all together). Anyway, I was excited. Then I entered and beheld the lay out--the ingenious pipe system that not only defied all comic layout background knowledge but also utilized a tab system that doesn't allow you to ...more
Jul 16, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing
It is very rare that a book comes along with a completely different way of telling a story. This book does that and does so largely successfully. The linear nature of time is cleverly looped back on itself, as is time's potentially branching nature. And, the story is hard to imagine being told in any other way than the way it is (by following a maze of lines through cells of comic book art).

I also greatly enjoyed the stories exploration of entropy and the "best of all possible worlds paradox" (
Aug 15, 2015 Krystal rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book.

So like, I'm not smart enough for this book. It's completely deceptive. I actually ended up throwing it on a librarians desk because the science behind it fucking MYSTIFIED me. I'm just too dense to notice that the front page comes with instructions. :/

So enter my hero, who patiently guided my hand (and eyes) so I was fully able to enjoy this book. Thank you, Jesus. You always got my back.

And thank you hubs. For totally passing out early on a Saturday night so I could putter around o
I loved the concept, being a fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure series from forever ago, but the reality was a little less satisfying. I appreciated the work that went into this, but it was a challenge to read and follow the story paths. Someone who loves puzzles, riddles and challenges will probably really get into this. As i read, I kept seeing story lines that looked more interesting than mine, but couldn't figure out how to get there, and so I ended up reading the same handful of possibili ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Jess rated it did not like it
I think in theory it's a great idea and thought it would sort of be like some of the first chapter books I read as a kid, I loved seeing where my choices took me. This however, was not that! It was actually pretty difficult to follow your story and it wasn't terribly clear when a choice needed to be made. For those seasoned in graphic novel reading it might be a good choice. For a novice like me- not so much.
Mar 19, 2013 Rena rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Oh my gosh! This book drove me crazy! I am continuously going in circles over and over. I don't think I even actually reached the end of one version of the story. It is so confusing and addicting. The reason it isn't a one is because I physically could not put it down. I was determined to see it out to the end, and failed epically. *shakes head* I warn you, if you pick up this book, you will be driven to insanity.
Sep 17, 2011 Alex rated it did not like it
Once again, another terrible graphic novel. This one is hard to follow, boring, and never works out how you want it to. I hated everything about it, save perhaps the illustrations which were somewhat cute in a odd sort of way. Other than that it was just plain BAD!
Oct 17, 2010 Nora rated it did not like it
Shelves: older-elementary
A graphic novel choose-your-own-adventure. Sounds perfect! But, the paths are really hard to follow, and I spent more time trying to trace the right colored path than reading anything. I also don't think the tabs are going to stand up to elementary student use (they will rip), but we shall see...
Mar 16, 2013 Leo rated it did not like it
i just dont like this book. the cover says over 4000 ways. i can only find 3. the way he connected them with these confusing wires alwayse gets you frustrated. the story is not too good either. i mean, who buys ice craeam and then suddenly, finds a time machine. i dont recommend this book at all.
Jan 05, 2016 Andrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
If I had to to rate the visual part, I’d give it 2 stars
If I had to to rate the interactive adventure part, I’d give it 3 stars
If I had to to rate the story itself, I’d give it 4 stars
But I cannot rate “Meanwhile” as a book, it’s a piece of art, and it’s bloody awesome!
Kim Zarins
Jan 10, 2013 Kim Zarins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Brilliant formatting concept!
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Jason Shiga is an award-winning Asian American cartoonist from Oakland, California. Mr. Shiga's comics are known for their intricate, often "interactive" plots and occasionally random, unexpected violence. A mathematics major from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Shiga shares his love of logic and problem solving with his readers through puzzles, mysteries and unconventional narrative ...more
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