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Story Thieves

(Story Thieves #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,412 ratings  ·  664 reviews
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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Aladdin
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,412 ratings  ·  664 reviews

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Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This is my first review!

This book is AMAZING! I knew that I wasn't going to be disappointed with this book. James Riley is my favorite author and when I heard this book was coming out, I was so pumped and excited! Story Thieves is so funny, it will have you laughing at many parts.
I feel I can relate to all the characters in some way. There were so many quotes that I loved from this book.
I was reading in the bus and there was a really funny part, so I started laughing. I didn't r
Jan 10, 2016 marked it as to-read
My daughter just read this and made it sound pretty good...think I might sneak it off her shelf ;)
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship

And then everything exploded into fire and chaos and awesome.

Ha! is all I want to say to my 2014 self. HA! With Story Thieves, I've come to fully embrace the new year. I think. See, last year I picked up my kindle to read the book, only to put it down in favor of reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. AGAIN. Which I don't regret but later on, and blah blah blah, you don't care, I don't.


What do I say? Ummm... this is totally an awesome book! I haven't fangirled s
My thanks to Aladdin & Edelweiss

Point of View: Dual (Owen & Bethany)
Writing: Third Person | Past Tense
Setting: N/A
Genre: Middle Grade | Fantasy

It was a wonderful book right from the start until the very end. The storyline was refreshing and so full of action that it kept me on the edge of the seat. I loved how the story progress, from such a measly simple thing to an adventurous journey in the hope of saving the day. I can't wait to find out their next encounter.

The characters were well-developed; I loved them all! Bethany was a tough little girl, and Owen was just an adorabFantasy
Ms. Yingling
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Owen loves the fantasy books series about Kiel Gnomenfoot and is looking forward to the last book in the series. When he starts to notice that a girl in his class, Bethany, is acting very suspiciously in class and at the public library, where his mother works, he watches her closely and discovers that she can leap in to stories! When he confronts her, she admits that her father was fictional, and that she jumped into a story given to her at a birthday party when she was very young, and manages t ...more
Took turns reading this with my son. This middle grades (4th to 8th) genre book was like OK for me as an adult, but 10 stars out of 5 stars for my son. When I asked him why? He said the ACTION was constant! He said every time for a second he thought they were safe or just for a moment thought they were going to rest finally, something else always happened. He said he also liked the references to real life children's, middle grades, and teen/YA books throughout that he himself or he knows his cla ...more
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For Owen, life is boring. He longs for something exciting to happen, like his favourite character Kiel Gnomenfoot, well he is in for a big surprise! When he is in the library helping his mother, he sees a book on the floor. Just as he goes to pick it up he sees the book moving and then, impossibly, a hand coming out of it. Next thing he knows, his classmate, Bethany pops out.

He learns that Bethany is half fictional, her father popped out of a book and fell in love with her mother. When Bethany
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little backstory: I first found this book in the Scholastic book fair in my school in 4th grade. I saw the summary and I was interested. It seemed to me that out of all the books in that colorful catalog, Story Thieves was the only one that popped out. That showed. You see what I mean? BUT. Being the dim-witted 4th grader I was, I didn’t buy it.

A few months ago, I was in Barnes and Noble. I saw Story Thieves in the juvenile fiction section. I thought this was my opportunity to experience how I’d
Jaina Rose
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Hmm. I'm not really sure what to say about this one. Did I love it? Did I hate it? Well, neither. Not yet, anyway.

The plot seems all over the place at times, but it actually comes together pretty cohesively by the end of the book. My main trouble, when I really come down to it, is the characters. Bethany especially just isn't particularly realistic. She's more of a stock character: she's got magical powers, one of her paren
STORY THIEVES by James Riley is an action-packed fantasy that blurs the line between real life and fictional worlds.

What if you could literally dive into a good book? Bethany can. As the child of a real mother and fictional father, she’s able to disappear into any paper book. Bethany has spent years carefully exploring library books for her lost father. When Owen discovers her secret, they begin an adventure that breaks the “fourth wall” mixing the real world with fantasy universes.

This clever
Coreen  (AsThePlotThickens)
I understand why Owen was so excited to have a life that is not consist of school, home and TV because I actually feel the same and if an opportunity presented itself to me just like how Bethany was presented to Owen, I would definitely grab it! My goodness I've been imagining myself inside Hogwarts for like three years now, the smell of strawberries inside the Camp Half-Blood and the feel of Aslan's hide on my fingers. This book made me want to have the things that I couldn't, like travel throu ...more
Prince William Public Library System
STORY THIEVES is SUCH a good book. It is completely original in the way it sets the fictional and nonfictional worlds up next to each other. And it has a girl that can jump into books! AWESOME. One of the best parts is when Owen gets to play a character in a series that everyone loves: the Kiel Gnomenfoot books. This creates more chaos than you could predict. The author is so good at fooling your mind, that by the end of the book, your understanding of what is happening is completely changed. It ...more
Frank Chillura
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
When reading the synopsis for this book, I was a little hesitant in starting it. It sounds an awful lot like the premise of Inkheart. Well, in Inkheart, the main character can read characters into or out of a book, where as in Story Thieves, the main character can pull people or characters into or out of the book with her. Seeing as how I am a huge fan of Inkheart, I didn't want to be comparing the two stories the entire time I was reading. Sometimes I find that when I see a similarity, comparin ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
To be quite honest, I have NO idea where to start. I'm not entirely exactly certain if I even LIKED the book or not. I'll probably read the next one just to see? Maybe that means I did like it? Don't know. I can see some middle-graders loving it.

First of all, I don't understand what exactly the title is referring to. I thought it meant that the MCs would be stealing parts of stories for some purpose. There was a little character thievery going on, but it's a bit of a stretch to call
Avery (ThePagemaster)
A solid 4 Stars

Who doesn't want the magical ability to jump into a story and hang out, albeit in the background, in your favorite fictional world? Hogwarts? (Yes!) Narnia? (Not really, but sure.) Idris? (YES!) Rivendell or the Shire? (Fuck Yes!)

I will say that some things outside of my control (Irma and depression) made me not read it as fast as I wanted to, but I still enjoyed myself. Strongly thinking about continuing the series. If anyone has, let me know how the other
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was cute and funny and I enjoyed most of it. Found some parts a little bland. Will read the next one to see if I will continue with the series or not.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, fantasy, 2017
Story Thieves was an impulse buy, something I found on the shelves at Target and figured it was worth a shot. It sounded a little like a kids' version of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, and as much as I like that series, it was a no-brainer. Maybe I should have recognized that I would see the book as derivative, and left it alone.

It's about Owen, an avid reader who finds the regular world boring. He wishes his life were more like Kiel Gnomenfoot, the central character of his fa
Mark Baker
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2015
Owen lives in the world of his favorite books – at least in his mind. But when he meets Bethany emerging from a book, he realizes he might be able to do that for real. Despite Bethany’s strict rules, Owen tricks her into going and changing the outcome of the sixth Kiel Gnomefoot book. However, the consequences are more than he bargained for. Will he and Bethany be able to return things to the way they should be?

Having dreamed of jumping into books myself, I loved the premise of this
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
This was a fun book but I found it a little confusing. I did like the idea of going in and out of books (who wouldn't want to do that?!) but think it may be a little hard for some kids to follow. Second half was better with more action scenes which would probably entice some kids. Loved the librarian school rules (chapter 9).

Favorite quote - "We read about you to be with you, to walk in someone else's shoes, to experience another life. Some of those lives are hard, and others are easy, but we'r
Oh my. This book was so good, I could have read it in a day-but due to school
(and parents who want you to get a good night's sleep), I had to finish this book at the beginning of school.

Five complete, total, brilliant stars for Story Thieves.


At first: This is interesting, I guess, but--WHAT?! I finished 20% of the book already?! Maybe it's a short book.

Middle: *turns pages at lightning speed*

End: Oh my.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it

True rating: 4.5 stars.

A terrific read. Riley makes fun of the 'Harry Potter' genre, and I mean, he MAKES FUN! Winning characters, tongue-in-cheek jokes, a rollicking plot, and much more, add up to a heap o' reading pleasure. Though, thankfully, this was not one of those series starters that leave you with a cliffhanger, enough threads remain dangling to make the reader long for the next book. Very well done!
Allen Central
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part, I loved this book. I mean love with a capital L! I actually feel super jealous of Owen right now, but that just makes me love it more! Then there's my honest opinion which is that I did find some parts confusing like how book travelling worked and the transition between Owen and Bethany's situations.
Liza Nahas
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Great premise, but too many robots for my taste.,
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, audio
3.5 stars

Every readers dream! This started out a bit slow and then characters were making stupid decisions (I had to keep reminding myself that they were kids and trying not to judge them too harshly). But once we got to them trying to fix their mistakes, I was on board and enjoyed it. I really liked Owen's relationship with Charm, and Bethany's relationship with Kiel. I'm happy that most of the same characters will be back for book 2.

Kirby Heyborne does a great job with the audio v
Tesia Lewis
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
“Think about it this way. You thought of yourself as alone for many years, fighting against Dr. Verity. But there were hundreds, even thousands of readers on my world who lived with you. Who felt every victory, every defeat, and want more than anything for you to win. Who cried, actually cried when they thought you died. Those are the people you’re trying to make suffer, the ones who’ve been on your team this entire time.”


Have you ever wished to meet your
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Quick listen while cleaning my house. Fun idea and full of adventure. I can see kids loving this. I would love to spend some time in books among my favorite characters.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took me a very long time to write a review for Story Thieves that didn’t solely consist of incoherent flailing. I’ve read better books than this one, but very few ones that I felt so strongly about. Most of it has to do with the subject manner, which is intensely metafictional. It involves ordinary high school student Owen, who discovers that his classmate Bethany has the ability to jump into books, because her father was a fictional character. He manages to convince her to let him go with he ...more
Sage Elizabeth
an adorable middle grade.
Narrated by Kirby Heyborne
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Wow! This was SO good!

I picked this up as it came in from our orders at the library. I read the back description and the author description and realized that this was the exact style of humor that I like so much. Honestly, this is a bit of a silly book that just doesn't take itself very seriously, and thus, is a whole lot of fun and giggles.

Some of my favorites:

"Owen wanted to scream at the horror before him. But the sound wouldn't come and the nightmare only continued,
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Other books in the series

Story Thieves (5 books)
  • The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves, #2)
  • Secret Origins (Story Thieves #3)
  • Pick the Plot (Story Thieves, #4)
  • Worlds Apart (Story Thieves #5)
“Alphonse, Kiel’s winged cat,” 4 likes
“He frantically tried to bite his lips closed to keep from saying anything else, but his lips just pushed out into a fish-face expression to escape his teeth. Ugh, those clever lips of his!” 1 likes
More quotes…