YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE by Bridie Clark


From the "Snap Decision" series, volume 2
Age Range: 14 - 18
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Told with second-person narration, Clark’s sequel to Maybe Tonight? (2013) returns “you” to your elite boarding school for your sophomore year of high school, as before ending chapters with Choose Your Own Adventure–style scenarios.

This type of “interactive” story often engages readers by forcing them to choose between two unfamiliar physical hazards for survival. The strangeness of the choices is often combined with threats of physical injury, creating tension as readers must debate about which option increases their survival odds. This effort also attempts to engage readers by requiring them to make similar choices to manipulate the plot. But unlike the physical challenges of many Choose Your Own Adventure stories, this novel tends to provide moral dilemmas that too often have a clearly “right” and “wrong” answer. Flirting with a married employer, riding with a drunk driver and abusing prescription medications can only realistically lead to negative consequences. By contrast, assisting a bullying victim and revealing a coach’s willingness to overlook student athletes’ unhealthy behaviors can only be rewarded. Though some readers will enjoy exploring various scenarios, others will quickly find the predictable results tiresome.

This format, which rarely devotes more than a few pages to any particular character or topic, results in a novel that skims, rather than explores, the pressures many high school students face daily. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-59643-817-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014