Here’s the start of another series from author James Riley, although in his bio he claims to be non-existent. I know his writing from the popular Half Upon a Time trilogy. With Story Thieves he has brought forth an intriguing concept – two kids, Owen and Bethany, leap in and out of a book’s pages and experience what is happening in the story they’re in.
It gets quite involved as they get separated in one of Owen’s favorite stories (One you won’t find on the bookshelves, but there are quick journeys into real books). I liked the interaction with the two of them staying together so when they split up it was a disappointment. Multiple third person POV’s are not my favorite. You just get going on Bethany’s story and then it is interrupted for an update on Owen. Alas, with the way the story unfolds it’s the only logical way to present the tale.
Story Thieves is exciting, funny in parts, and got me thinking – each our lives are a story being written. I’ll keep mine to a single POV.
PUBLICATION DATE:2015 PAGE COUNT: 383
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores.
But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen—his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character.
Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: All she has to do is take him into a book in Owen’s favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series, and he’ll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father…
…Or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany’s secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot’s final (very final) adventure.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT>> STORY THIEVES by James Riley
- The strength of this plot will grow as more volumes are completed in this series. I was guessing all the way as to what little tidbits of future conflict lie ahead in books to come.
- Bethany and Owen are engaging characters. They make for fine protagonists and both experience change in their way of thinking. Bethany is a tough girl who is in charge and Owen is your typical ‘Oh that would be so cool’ boy. Middle level readers have a couple more heroes to cheer for.
- I read an author interview recently and the question was describe your book in one word. I’d have to call this one CLEVER.
- Kiel makes for an interesting fictional character pulled from his own fictional story into this one. He’s funny and quirky and I’m sure he’s not going away in future books.
- With this being a series, I was not surprised by the many loose ends left on the last page. The dangling plot points serve as a great discussion as to what happens next. I’m never right about these things, but there are some enticing possibilities with the characters. Just what you want as an author of a series – readers debating as to what happens next.
FAVORITE LINES: “You don’t ever speak to me again, do you understand? And if you ever tell anyone about me, I’ll find the deepest, darkest math book I can find, and drop you into the most boring part!”
QUOTE FROM AUTHOR: “But by my nature of being ridiculous, it felt like maybe writing for kids might be a fun choice. I have such a love for my favorite childhood authors that it felt like trying to join a club with all of my favorite people already inside. Though it took a lot of knocking!.” SOURCE
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.