Imagine if you could go into any book and experience the story all around you. Sort of like a 3-D movie, only it would be real. You could eat chocolate from Willy Wonka’s factory, go to Camp Half-Blood with Percy Jackson, get your own wand at Ollivander’s…

Owen never dreams such a thing would be possible. Then one day in math class, his teacher calls on Bethany, a quiet girl at the back of the room. She doesn’t answer right away, and Owen turns and sees a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory slip out of her math book and onto the floor. Bethany looks up in a daze—and it seems like she has chocolate on her chin.

Later that day, Owen finds the copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the floor by Bethany’s locker. And he’s there—he’s holding the book—when it jumps. He drops it. A hand appears. And Bethany pulls herself out of the book. She can indeed go into any book that she wants. She’s been doing it for years. And she’s really mad that Owen has discovered her secret.

Bethany tries to bribe Owen never to talk to her again and never mention what he saw, but he refuses. He wants to know everything: How she does it…Why she can do it…Where she goes…

And he wants one more thing. He wants her to take him with her into his favorite book. Just once.

He has no idea of the trouble he is about to unleash.


Genre: fantasy

Grades 4-7.


J’s take on it:

Story Thieves has been an easy sell in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes this spring. The idea of being able to go into any book grabs kids’ attention immediately. Their eyes get big and they start nodding and whispering. They’d go to Narnia, Hogwarts, the Land of Stories, or into the Percy Jackson books. I’ve heard girls say to each other, “We could go hang out with Nikki and Chloe from Dork Diaries!” Sometimes kids point to one of the books I’ve already booktalked. “I’d go into Ghost and see who won the race.” Or “I’d go to The Mighty Odds and get a superpower.”

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