Before I get started with my MMGM post–yay!–there’s still time to enter my giveaway for signed paperbacks of MarcyKate Connolly’s MONSTROUS and Trisha Leaver’s THE SECRETS WE KEEP. Visit my 4th blogiversary post for details. Fun statistic: many of my most popular posts are MMGM reviews!

A few weeks ago I posted about The Joy of Reading Alongside Your Child. I mentioned that when my son and I both finished reading STORY THIEVES: THE STOLEN CHAPTERS, I might let him help me review the book. It’s a little hard to nail down what an eight-year-old loved so much about a book, but I managed to pull his five favorite things out of him. First, though, I’d better give the description. If you haven’t read the first book, this description includes spoilers, so STOP NOW.

Still reading? Okay …

Story Thieves: The Stolen Chapters by James RileyOwen Conners would never jump into a mystery. There are too many hidden clues, twists that make no sense, and an ending you never see coming. Mysteries are just not Owen’s thing. So how exactly did he end up in one with his memory erased? And that’s far from the only question.

How did Kiel Gnomenfoot, boy magician, lose all of his magic? Where’s Bethany, their half-fictional friend? And who’s the annoying guy wearing the question mark mask and Sherlock Holmes hat, taunting Owen and Kiel that Bethany is in grave danger?

Bethany is trapped in a hidden room that’s slowly filling with water, and she can’t escape until her friends find her. But is she imprisoned by more than just chains and a locked door? What’s she hiding from Owen and Kiel?

Maybe some mysteries just shouldn’t be solved…

Here are the five things my son loved most–and you’re going to notice a trend :).

1. Moira – Moira is a new character in this book, and she’s a hilarious criminal genius who has awesome plans and says the funniest things. My son and I agreed on this one, especially her names for Kiel and Owen.

“Wake up!” the girl said. “I think I lost you there. Did you faint? You fainted, didn’t you. You stared at me for a second, then looked like you had to go to the bathroom. Kind of like a koala, weirdly. Is this normal for you?”

Kiel put a hand up to his cheek, which throbbed where she’d slapped him. “Not even a little bit.”

“Then follow the plan, my magical koala.”

Or, for Owen:

Something grabbed him from behind and yanked him backward. “Whoa there, killer,” the girl in black said. “Going somewhere? You’re not an owl, Owen. Mostly you look more like an adorable panda who’s always sad. Sad Panda.”

Owen tried to answer, but he couldn’t get a word out, or catch his breath even. “I … I …”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you, SP,” the girl said, putting an arm around him.

She’s completely crazy and wonderful at the same time!

2. Characters in general – Per my son: They’re all great people and they’re fun. Side note: he tried to get me to talk about the character he didn’t like, but it would have been a spoiler, so I nixed it :).

3. Kiel – He’s awesome at fighting, always takes a chance, and never gives up. These were my son’s words exactly, and I can’t argue with him listing Kiel as one of his five favorite things about the book, since he was one of my favorites about the original STORY THIEVES!

(See what I mean about a trend? His first three favorites were all character-related.)

4. The books – My son loved the books they jumped into, like Doomsday on Argon VI, a fictional book Mr. Riley created for Bethany to leap into (if you think this is confusing, wait until you read THE STOLEN CHAPTERS!). He also liked that they didn’t know they were stuck in–oh wait, he’s giving something away with that, so never mind :).

5. Their really great plan – He loved how they thought ahead of what the villain might do. I also don’t want to give anything away here, so I’ll just say that as usual, Mr. Riley is a master at inserting so many twists you find yourself paging back through to figure out how he did that, but sure enough, he planted everything so well it’s astounding. I was pretty proud of my son because there was one thing he caught that I didn’t :).

So those are the five things my son loved best about THE STOLEN CHAPTERS. I think he chose pretty well. I bet we’ll be sharing some reviews again in the future as we read more books together. If there are others you know he’d like based on this one, please pass along those suggestions!



  1. Sue Kooky

    I loved this book! I agree with everything you said. Kiel is one of my favorites too! 🙂 Thanks for reviewing!


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