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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Novel: Story Thieves - James Riley

Story Thieves by James Riley is a reader's paradise. What could be better than day dreaming about hopping in and out of our favorite stories? Riley takes us on a journey of 'what if' by showing us what could possibly happen if we had the ability to hop in and out of our favorite stories. Things could go completely awry if we joined our favorite heroes and heroines in their already written stories.

Synopsis: Bethany is a half-fictional girl who just wants to see her fictional father again. Owen is a one hundred percent real boy who is tired of everything being so boring all of the time. One day Owen catches Bethany hopping in and out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Bethany does what she can to push Owen away and get him to forget that he knows anything about her secret. But Owen is determined to save his favorite series of books from ending the way it looks like it might be ending. So he tricks her into thinking that he is helping her find her father when he is just trying to get into the action of his favorite series. Things end up going all wrong and it is up to Bethany and Owen to put it all right again.

Notes: I loved all of the references to other wonderful stories - The Chronicles of Narnia, Emma, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Harry Potter, etc. I really would like to understand why so many authors have created rip-off Harry Potters for their fictional worlds, but still allow Harry Potter to exist. I can understand creating a rip-off for the fictional world, but allowing the original to still exist? I don't follow.

Bethany is a very relatable character even though she is half-fictional. The desire to see her father again is a very human reaction to what happened in her childhood. She finds a level of comfort in the fictional worlds that she visits that we all find when we read. Because her mother has forbade her from using her fictional power, it makes sense why she is so serious about it all and why she does not really accept her fictional side. There is a message of "accept you as you are" embedded in her character and that is a very important message for children to understand.

Owen's big lesson he has to learn is how being selfless instead of selfish has better rewards. While Owen gives the appearance of being selfless by offering to help Bethany search for her father, he had his own personal motives that really labels his actions as selfish.

Both characters learn about facing the consequences of their own actions, because it is both of their faults for the way things ended up. It's also about facing one's fears and not running from them.

I highly recommend this novel. I am super excited about the next one considering what it is alluded to being about. I am not going to tell you, you will just have to read and get lost in the story on your own.

Until next time...


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