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Janetta and the Book Thief

by B.S. Gibbs

Cover Art and Illustrations by:

Anca Gabriela Marginean

Copyright © 2017 by B.S. Gibbs.

Illustrations Copyright @ 2017 by B.S. Gibbs.

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Printed in the United States of America

First Printing, 2017 (Rev. 6/7/17)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. This work also does not reflect the viewpoints of any other person or organization.

Chapter 1

Twelve-year-old Janetta loved her books more than she liked people. Well, to be fair, she loved her family, and she had one or two friends. However, even they had to wait for her attention while she read her books.

It was Janetta’s opinion that people could be so annoying, sometimes. But a good book was a comfort. It offered her an escape from the world and an excuse to ignore people for hours at a time. In fact, her favorite place to read was in a hiding place.

Sometimes she would read in a tent that she made out of sheets and blankets. In her tent, she would read with a lantern that she smuggled from the family’s emergency kit. Other times, she read in a closet or on a branch of the old tree in her backyard.

Why would she hide when she read, you wonder? Well, in her opinion, there was nothing more annoying than someone interrupting her while she was reading. And, it would always seem to happen when she reached an exciting part of her book. When that happened, that was the worst!

As to be expected, everything in her day was about books. She even carried a book with her wherever she went and kept a watch for opportunities to read. She read so much that she even exceeded her teacher’s reading log requirements. Her teacher didn’t know that, however, because Janetta only wrote down enough to meet the requirements. There just wasn’t enough room in the logs for all her reading.

While she wasn’t reading, she was thinking about her favorite book. Even her dreams were filled with the stories that she read in books. However, sometimes she even sacrificed sleep to finish a book.

So, what happened shouldn’t be a complete surprise. One day, Janetta became the first person ever to meet a book fairy. When she did, the book fairy asked Janetta to go on a secret mission. It was a task that would save the book fairy world and the books she loved from certain destruction.

What’s a book fairy, you ask? To fully understand that, you’ll have to keep reading. For now, I can tell you that every time an author writes a new book, it’s the result of a book fairy’s work. Without book fairies, there would be no books to read.

Each author has a book fairy who helps inspire him or her to write books. But all of that was in danger of ending before Janetta was called upon to help.

Now, that you have a general understanding of how important Janetta’s story is, it will begin below without any further delay.

* * *

It began on a warm summer day, when Janetta, as usual, was reading in the tree. She was almost to the end of an adventure book that she had just started that morning.

She rubbed her tired eyes as she finished the second to last chapter. At last, she thought, I’m finally getting to the good part. Roberto, the hero of this book, will finally find the long lost treasure and save his family from despair and ruin. At least, I hope he will, she thought.

She turned to the beginning of the last chapter and read. As she read down the page, the words became lighter and lighter. Then they faded a little at a time until they disappeared entirely. Her eyes widened as she stared at the now blank page.

Her mind filled with many questions – too many to focus on just one. How could this be possible, she wondered? Could it be that a lack of sleep was messing with her mind? Was she dreaming? She pinched herself as a test. But she didn’t wake. It couldn’t be a dream, then.

Maybe it was just the one page, she thought, as she turned the page. She shrieked at the sight of the next page. It, too, was blank. She flipped through the remaining pages. They were all empty. What had happened to the end of her book?

She dashed into the house in a panic. She ran past her two brothers and her mother, who were in the kitchen eating a snack. They called out her name, but she ignored them. Then she lunged up the stairs, two at a time.

Once inside her room, she scrambled to her bookshelf and grabbed her favorite book. It was one that she had read dozens of times. She opened it to the end of the book – the last chapter. But it wasn’t there. In its place were at least six blank pages. It couldn’t be so, she thought, grabbing at her hair.

She flipped to the page where the last text appeared, hoping that she had been wrong. She read the ending paragraph on that page. This was not how the book was supposed to end, she thought. It, too, must be missing its final chapter.

She pulled book after book off her shelf and checked for the last chapter. Each of them was missing its final chapter. And, now they each stopped in the middle of the story with an unsatisfying cliffhanger.

“Something is very wrong here,” muttered Janetta under her breath. “But whatever it is, it’s more than just annoying. It’s unnatural.”

She placed the last book back on her shelf. Then she sank into the beanbag chair behind her. This was a very serious problem, she thought. And, she had no idea what was happening or what she could do about it.

The loss was just too much for her. How could she read books now if all of them were missing their last chapters? It would be unsatisfying to not know how the stories end. She feared that she would never enjoy books again. She put her face in her hands and sobbed. Her body shook as she cried. Her life would never be the same ever again.

Chapter 2

Just then a female voice said, “Don’t cry, Janetta.”

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