Title: What If . . . Everyone Knew Your Name
Series: What If…
Author: Liz Ruckdeschel
Genre: Interactive Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Mandy at Edge of Seventeen
Published: June 27, 2006 by Delacorte Books
Meet Haley Miller. She’s a 15-year-old girl of average height, average weight, and an average sense of style. Installed in her first public high school, Haley faces the toughest choices of her young life. And guess what? She’s all yours.
In this interactive novel, readers lead Haley through the halls of Hillsdale High for better or for worse. Until graduation do you part. Do you guide her away from the pitfalls of peer pressure? Or into the vortex of bad boys and parties? Send her to homecoming with the captain of the soccer team . . . or have her skip the dance to go on a road trip with the hot rebel. Give Haley a makeover or teach her to love herself the way she is. Pick which crowd she’ll hang with. Tell her how often to do her homework. And decide whether she drinks or inhales.
You determine her fortune. Her grades, her friends, her love life, her future. With Haley’s many positive traits, you should have no trouble achieving success . . . or will you? It’s all in the way you work, love, and play with Haley Miller, the girl with the most potential at Hillsdale High.
When I was younger, about 11-12 years old, I used to read the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Remember those? What happens in the story is completely up to you. You make the choices; you choose which path to take all the way up to the ending. I would always go back to the beginning and start all over to try to get a better ending. The very first CYOA book I read was The Worst Day of Your Life (#100). I think I died in a tornado.
Flash forward to today and to a series called A Choose Your Destiny Novel. Same premise as CYOA except you're a teenage girl in a teenage world with choices to make. Choices that will either make you the most popular girl in school or choices that will make you commit social suicide.
I learned of this series from Mandy at Edge of Seventeen. She did a review where she posted her journey as Haley and, in her words, she died a horrible social death. She asked if someone was up to reading the book and blogging about the choices they would make to see if they could come out with a better ending. I took her up on the challenge and she sent the book my way.
Let me take you my journey as Haley, aka Haley Vixen:
The book starts off with Haley Vixen moving across the country with her parents, from California to New Jersey. Her father's job took him cross-country so now Haley Vixen will have to go to a new school and make new friends. What a social nightmare! Until she sees the boy next door, Reese, who's a hottie. Next morning, Haley Vixen's waiting for the bus with Reese, hoping to get a seat next to him. A convertible with the popular girls stops in front of them and Reese catches a ride with them. It's time for you to make the first move. Are you going to have Haley Vixen call her dad and beg him to come pick her up or are you going to make her brave the bus alone? I'm going to brave the bus solo.
On the bus, I meet Irene. We don't get off to a good start but Irene does help me with my look. Per Irene's advise, I ditch my sweater, put my hair down and sport my reading glasses. When we arrive at school, Irene also saves me from Annie, the Hillsdale High welcome committee. I check out my schedule. Irene tries to convince me to switch to her 3rd period Honors History class to the Art class that she and Johnny Lane, another hottie and a friend of Reese's, are in.It's only the first day of school and already two paths are diverging in a yellow hallway. The rest is up to you. Make Haley Vixen take the one less traveled or have her preserve her perfect transcript. I'm going to ditch Honors History and go to art class with Irene and Johnny Lane.
In art class, Irene gets mad at me for peeking at her portrait of Johnny Lane. As the bell rings to signal the end of class, Irene tosses her books in her bag and leaves hastily, without me! Do you think Irene is overacting and want to send Haley Vixen home at the end of the day? Or do you want Haley Vixen to apologize to her new friend and try and work things out? I'll try to work things out with Irene.
After school, I go to the restaurant where Irene works and we kiss and make up. Then walk in the popular girls who gave Reese a ride to school this morning. They check me out and look me up and down and finally invite me to go with them. Do you keep the talented Irene in the picture or do you widen Haley Vixen's circle and possibly edge her toward the popular crowd? I like Irene over the popular girls so I'm choosing Irene.
Irene ditched class and I covered for her. I went looking around the school for her and found her near some graffiti artwork. Should Haley Vixen be suspicious of Irene's behavior or do you think she should trust her friend? Public display of art doesn't bother me. I'm trusting Irene.
Irene takes me shopping at a vintage clothing store. We're bonding. I get a text from Gretchen, my BFF from back home in Cali. She shares some gossip with me then we disconnect. Then the clique girls walk into the store. Should Haley Vixen continue her friendship with Irene or go to the Halloween party with the clique girls? Coco and her crew are annoying me so I'll stick with Irene.
I go to Irene's house to chill. What do you know, she's a bookworm just like me. I spy an ancient old leather bound and ask her about it. It's an ancient Chinese oracle. There's a picture in the book that looks just like the graffiti artwork I saw Irene near. We ask a couple questions and get some vague answer. Irene knows my question but won't tell me hers. Hmmm. My dad's here to pick me up. Should Haley Vixen talk to a teacher about the vandalism, or take a step back from Irene and go check out a rock show (where Reese will likely be) or should Haley Vixen stand by her friend no matter what and maybe get to know a certain cute photographer (that she met at the vintage clothing store) a little better? I'm not about to rat out my one and only friend and Reese is complicated so I'll go with Irene (again) and check out the photographer.
Some kid from school gets falsely accused of the graffiti so Shaun, a guy who's crushing on Irene even though her mind is on Johnny Lane, comes clean. Shaun gets some detention time and Irene, Devon (photog boy) and myself volunteer to help clean the mess. When we're all done we all walk home together. Devon talks about his photography and mentions that he's submitted some work to The Mission magazine. He said that the winner gets a pair of tickets to Frisco! I would love to win free tickets to go back home. I would take Irene with me and the three of us would have a blast. We decide to go swimming at Shaun's place. Are Devon and Frisco too tempting to resist or is winning that contest a long shot and besides, Haley Vixen's better off with Reese? I'm so over Reese. I want to enter that contest and visit my friends from Cali. And photog boy's cute.
I'm done swimming. My mind is on that contest. I get out of the pool to dry off and spy Irene's sketchbook peeking out of her book bag. I don't know what possessed me but I ripped out the portrait of Johnny Lane before anyone saw me. I left shortly after. The next day, I take the drawing to an art store and get it matted. I submit it (for Irene of course) and it won! Great, how am I going to tell Irene that her work is going to be published in a magazine. I asked her about it and she clearly doesn't want to show off her work. Now I've done it. How am I going to tell her that her work won and we get to go to Frisco together? Should Haley Vixen fess up and tell Irene about The Mission or will Irene never forgive her, and that Haley Vixen should tear up the tickets and pray Irene never lays eyes on a copy of The Mission instead? Tough call. I guess I'll come clean and tell Irene. I hope she'll forgive me and go with me to Frisco.
I confess to Irene but she already knew! She knew I took the portrait from her sketchbook. She forgave me but warned me to never look at her sketchbook again. She also told me she wasn't take me to Frisco. Damn! Devon pulls up in his birthday ride and the four of us (Shaun, Devon, Irene and myself) go for a spin. I ask Irene if she's taking Shaun to Frisco and she tells me that she's taking me! She was just making me sweat for a moment.
So, in spite of all her mistakes, life was working out for Haley Vixen and she couldn't wait to see where it would take her next. Like on that date with Devon, and after that, California with Irene and Gretchen. What more could Haley Vixen want? The End.