Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Meanwhile” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,931 ratings  ·  437 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Meanwhile, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jacek Love the book 'til you can't stop reading it.…moreLove the book 'til you can't stop reading it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,931 ratings  ·  437 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Meanwhile
Sam Quixote
Jan 21, 2017 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 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 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
L. McCoy
I hate to say it but this book is a confusing mess. I tried playing through it a few times (as in at least 10) but it either left me an unsatisfying ending or confused me to the point that it felt less like a fun comic adventure and more like an annoying maze. It’s also not as funny as I had hoped it would be.
The art’s good and the idea’s fun but other than that... nah. I think I’m better off sticking with Demon for my Jason Shiga stuff for now (which I recently read and loved
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mir 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
Dec 08, 2015 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
This book was very fun to read and can be re-read many times. My third grade son and I had a lot of fun with it and the artistry was excellent.

5 Stars!
Jul 06, 2010 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
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A choose-your-own-adventure done in a comic book format. Fun.
Julie Suzanne
Jul 27, 2010 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
Jun 04, 2010 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.
Feb 09, 2015 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. ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while a book is found that is worth reading again and again. With each reading, something new is encountered and the experience of the reader grows. Normally, books with this quality treat heavy emotional themes, or carry a profound commentary on life. However, Jason Shiga’s graphic novel Meanwhile manages to pull its audience through multiple readings while lacking a serious tone or a deep commentary on human existence. His book is just fun to read. It is a graphic variant of th ...more
Comparisons to Steins;Gate flow into my mind by that small, enticing tab sticking out of the panel leading into the next. Unlike SG though, (view spoiler). Jason Shiga takes us to the truth of a little boy, a scientist, and the nature of ice cream. Pick vanilla, you normie, or pick chocolate, and regret your decision. Because you'll be flipping back and forth over and over again, trying not to die by the good ol' Killitron that apparently has oth ...more
Thomas Ray
What do you want to do?

Have a (view spoiler) ice cream.

(view spoiler) loop repeatedly through the same scenes & choices, not seeing enough to figure out what's going on.

(view spoiler) loop through world destruction and travel back to an earlier time, but (view spoiler) able to stop it.

Be told that in the nothing-ever-happens interpretation of quantum mechanics, every event spawns a universe whe
Michael Huff
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book get's a 5 just for sheer effort it took to make it. However, it's also a really neat examination of the nature of time, choice, and chance. Please go through it at least once, but realize you need to discover at least 2 codes within your travels to get to the "happy" ending.

"Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm was written to determine the most efficient method to transfer it to a book form. However, the problem proved to be NP-complete. With the use of a
Hannah Givens
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, graphic-novel
As others have said: The book design is amazing, and the story (when you get there) is really cool. It reminded me of an interactive The Masterplan by Scott Mills, one of my favorites. The design can also be really frustrating though -- not just because you replay conversations, but because there are a lot of little connectors that don't actually mean anything. I had to look up a walkthrough to figure it out, and then realized that I'd just gotten stuck because I didn't realize one panel was con ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patile Ouimet
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The possibilities of this book are insane. Sometimes Id get glances of other options and would go out of my way to figure out how to get to them.
I was upset at what happened when you chose vanilla though.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is such a clever idea--a choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel! So much fun exploring the possibilities.
ashes ➷
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Re-read this again, this time going through every possible story! Definitely worth it; absolutely loved this book. Shiga is a genius.
May 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Jason Shiga might be the most innovative thinker in gamebook history. His system of using tubes to branch out into many, many more storylines than any other interactive book I've seen could have revolutionized the gamebook industry, were it not for the extreme complexity of its design. From the introductory note to Meanwhile: "Meanwhile began as a series of seven increasingly complex flowcharts. Because of asymmetries in the branching, a special notation had to be invented for the final three ch ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 17, 2010 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
Mar 08, 2010 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 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
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I like the idea of a chooseable-path graphic novel, and the execution of that part of the concept is sound. The art is distinctive and fits well with the visual style of the panels, and it's fun to trace the little pipes all over the place (except the few times they are a tangled mess to discourage cheating, when it's easy to lose track of the pipe you're supposed to be on and you get shunted to the wrong next panel). The plot, with its allusions to the pop physics concept of alternative realiti ...more
Jun 02, 2010 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
Becky B
Definitely the most unique graphic novel I've ever seen. This tale starts with a simple question of whether the character wants chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and choices from there can lead to countless different plot lines involving a mad scientist and adventures with his time travel, mind swap or doomsday machines. You need to read the inside front cover and the note on how complicated it was to put this creation into book form. Crazy! Jason Shiga gets big time creative points for even knowi ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a puzzle, and a comic, and a basic physics primer, and a novel, and a homage, and, oh yes, just a tinsiest bit dystopian. Like the Choose Your Adventure books it pays tribute too, it rewards close attention and full investment. Given that it requires persistence in the face of failure, and it takes some repetition to get you somewhere new - and that sudden enlightenment can come from an inadvertent mistake - you could also argue that it operates as a metaphor for the process of scie ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Binky the Space Cat
  • Robot Dreams
  • Summer Blonde
  • The Dodgeball Chronicles (Knights of the Lunch Table, #1)
  • Super Amoeba (Squish, #1)
  • Bone, Vol, 1: Out from Boneville (Bone, #1)
  • Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit (Lunch Lady, #5)
  • How Mirka Got Her Sword
  • Glitch
  • Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute (Lunch Lady, #1)
  • Copper
  • Brave New Pond (Squish, #2)
  • Superman: Secret Identity
  • Idées noires : L'intégrale
  • Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown (Lunch Lady, #4)
  • Out of Nothing
  • Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians (Lunch Lady, #2)
  • Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes (Lunch Lady, #7)
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will be long remembered as a Dumpster fire of a year. But the nice thing about time is that it...
341 likes · 156 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »