Do you like tarot cards, choose-your-own-adventure stories, or books with a lovable group of friends? If so, this could be the perfect book for you. Able to be read either straight through or on a path of your own choosing, Major Detours by Zachary Sergi is a brilliantly flexible novel incorporating interactive choice-making elements inspired by the Tarot, including the importance of personality and interpretation.
Amelia, Chase, Cleo, and Logan are off on one last road trip before they all go off to college. They’ve chosen a route inspired by tarot cards, because their friendship is partially built around an unusual deck that was owned by Amelia’s late Grandma Flo. They plan to visit a few tarot shops and maybe learn more about the deck along the way, but they get way more than they bargained for when they discover the deck is a rare, one-of-a-kind collector’s item that holds clues to mysterious missing cards. Dodging obsessed collectors and avid followers of the deck’s creator, Carson Perilli, the four go on the hunt for the deck’s last four cards and the truth about Grandma Flo’s legacy. It’s up to the reader to decide the choices they make at crucial turning points throughout the story.
Never having read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, I found this format both exciting and engaging and also agonizing – making quick decisions is not one of my strongest skills. I did think it was original, and the choices you have to make are thoughtful ones, based around the characters’ personality traits and social goals. For instance, Chase is often torn between his best friend Amelia and boyfriend Logan, leading to some delicate moments where he (and you, as the reader) must choose how to keep peace, or which side to take. As someone with a hefty amount of social anxiety, I appreciated this spotlight on how subtle word choices can have big consequences for conversations and relationships.
The characters are LGBTQ-diverse, well-drawn, and distinct, and the adventure skillfully walks a delicate line to keep the action exciting but the mood light. If you’re looking for an escapist YA that reads a bit like a video game and also asks questions about art, legacy, friendship, and fate, this may be the book for you.