STORY THIEVES—SECRET ORIGINS for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The third installment of the Story Thieves series had me puzzled at its conclusion. If this secret-origins-9781481461252_hrwas a trilogy, why weren’t all the plot points neatly wrapped up on the final pages? I must have missed the memo because this is destined to be a five book series. Thank goodness.

If you are new to Story Thieves, don’t begin here. You’ll be totally confused—well, enough that you won’t enjoy it as much. Start from the beginning with STORY THIEVES, a grand adventure. Next move into STORY THIEVES—THE STOLEN CHAPTERS, a wildly imaginative mystery. Only then should you delve into STOLEN CHAPTER—SECRET ORIGINS, set in the comic book world.

Yes, the mystery and adventure threads continue here with Owen and Bethany in search of her father. You’ll find the same level of humor and snappy dialog. There are even a few comic book panels thrown in. Great for avid readers or as a read-aloud, its just hard to resist the creativity that went into the building of this tale.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon):  Owen and Bethany have sworn off jumping into books for good. But they didn’t make any promises about not jumping through strange portals that lead to a comic book world.

Jupiter City was once filled with brightly costumed superheroes and villains, but nowadays, there’s nothing left but the Dark. Even the villains are terrified of the Dark’s shadows, and most of the heroes have either disappeared or been lost to mind control. The one hero who might have stopped all of this, Doc Twilight, has been imprisoned by the Dark.

But who is Doc Twilight really? And how can Bethany and Owen defeat the Dark without superpowers of their own? They’ll definitely need the help of some old friends and new allies to bring the light back to Jupiter City, and find out the truth behind the Dark.

It all comes back to Bethany’s own secret origins. What really happened when her fictional father disappeared years ago? Who is Nobody, and why is he writing these Story Thieves books? And what kind of supervillain name is The Rotten Banana?


  1. You’ll either groan at The Rotten Banana character or enjoy his side splitting one-liners. He has a bruised past, making him either a super hero or a less appealing villain. The puns are his only slip-up so be warned.
  2. The twist in this series has always been the division between the fiction and non-fiction worlds. It’s a marvelous play on your thoughts as a reader or writer.
  3. No worries if you aren’t a comic book fan. There’s enough going on in the heads of the main characters to keep you reading.
  4. The Dark makes for a fantastic antagonist. He’s protected by shadows to add to his mysterious creepiness.
  5. Strong main and secondary characters. Their personalities shine through with every  dialog exchange. The cover is also one of my favorites.

FAVORITE LINES: Pretty much,” Owen told her, shrugging. “It’s how superheroes get their powers, and if we want to beat the Dark, we’re going to have to play by the same rules he does.”

Bethany just shook her head, her mouth hanging open. “This might be your worst idea since you saved the Magister.”

Owen nodded. “Probably. But I’m right about this, and you know it.”

QUOTE FROM AUTHOR: The fourth book will be in the Choose Your Own Adventure style, with readers getting to choose what Owen should do next, while he fights against those choices. As far as the fifth book, I don’t plan for that one to be in a particular different genre. Number five will mostly just wrap up the series. From a Reading Rainbow Interview


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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11 Responses to STORY THIEVES—SECRET ORIGINS for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Glad there were more books in the series for you. Thanks for the heads up to start with book one. It must be good if you are reading book #4.

  2. I started reading this story and had a hard time with book 1. Still on my shelves. I tend to set aside books I have trouble getting into, with the thought I need to stick to my themes — but will get back to it. So you’ve inspired me. Thanks!

    • This is one of those series kids enjoy more than adults. It’s quirky and breaks many traditional writing rules. Not sure I will read #4 as it is a Choose Your Own Adventure style but I will read #5 when it comes out to see how everything is resolved.

  3. I love these books! Interesting comment that adults don’t enjoy as much–maybe that means I’m not very adult :). My son and I have read all of James Riley’s books together, including his HALF UPON A TIME series. Although I may have shouted at the ending of this book …

  4. cleemckenzie says:

    Five book series? That’s a lot, and my hat’s off to anyone who can complete it and do it well.

  5. Mark says:

    I knew that book 4 was in the works (coming this fall), but I wasn’t aware that book 5 in the works. More to look forward to!

    I’m a bit worried about book 4 with the Choose Your Own Adventure Style. It will be interesting to see how that works with furthering the overall story.

  6. Sue Kooky says:

    ‘bruised past’…XD Oh dear. I’m glad you liked it! (And realized that it was a five book series too.) ;P Thanks for the review!

  7. You have been enticing me to try a kind of book I wouldn’t choose on my own with the reviews of this series. Maybe I will find the time soon. They sure sound fun. Thanks for the post.

  8. Haven’t read the other two yet, but I’ll have to get to it, this one sounds fantastic. I also enjoy comic books as well, so the merging of the two has me excited to get reading!

  9. Violet Tiger says:

    I really enjoyed this book! It felt definitely less confusing than the other ones… 🙂 Can’t wait for the next book! I wonder how it’s going to work out. Thanks for your review!


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