FeaturedMiddle Grade

The Gem Heist


Loved it! 😍

Fresh & original, this mystery adventure is a winning combo of robust imagination, strong writing & rich characterizations. I loved it!

Once upon a time there was a precious gem. But not just any gem. No siree, bibbidi bobbidi boo! The Gem of Fairy Tales has magic of a rare and powerful kind in this delightful mystery adventure. And when the gem goes missing just before Enchantment Day, everything goes sideways. A young girl must find a way to solve the mystery and come to grips with her own painful past if she’s to save herself and her entire world.

Fourteen year-old Skylar Carson lives in a hideout with a small hammock and her dog Boxer in a fairy tale village near Snow White’s castle. Things are about to get interesting and downright dangerous when General Albert, who works for Queen Snow White, delivers a letter to Skylar from Skylar’s mom. The Snow Queen Frostine’s letter is about an upcoming gem display. It seems that everyone who’s anyone will be coming to the castle to see the famous Gem of Fairy Tales. Everyone knows how valuable this gem is. But Skylar is wondering why her mom is reaching out to her now after two years of nothing? What's up with that?

Meanwhile, Skylar meets up with a group of kids with some pretty impressive parentage, if you know your fairytales. Maya’s mother is Sleeping Beauty. Axel’s dad is Prince Charming. Naomi is the daughter of Snow White. There’s also Carter, Skylar’s BFF. Because dogs aren’t allowed inside the castle, Boxer is left in Carter’s care while Skylar plans to attend the gem display and find out what all the hoopla is about. But when the Gem of Fairy Tales turns up missing, accusations and suspicions start flying. Fingers start pointing – at Skylar.

Skylar soon becomes the prime suspect in the gem heist. After all, her mom is the evil Snow Queen. So the only way to prove Skylar’s innocence is for her to find the real thief and get the gem back. It’s a pretty big deal. Because the missing gem is the source of all fairytales. And if it’s not found, pronto, “the imagination of life will be forever lost!” (Cue weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in three, two, one…)

The plot thickens when Skylar visits her Aunt Evila for some answers. Evila lives in The Mirror. (Yeah, that mirror.) It soon becomes apparent that whoever stole the precious gem is well-trained. So Sky’s path to answers will be treacherous. It includes trekking to the River of Memories and consulting with The Man of Advice. This comes with a catch. And it’s a doozy. Skylar could be stuck in the River for all eternity reliving her worst memories. Can Skylar face her painful memories or will she be overcome by them? Additionally, some painful truths about Sky’s own past begin to emerge as memories of home and family bubble to the surface. And if the gem’s magic is misused, the new owner can make any fairy tale and its characters disappear. So no pressure, okay?

There’s also plenty of magic. Spells. A trial. Friendship. Family. Not judging a book by its cover (pun intended). Cryptic clues and riddles will also keep readers guessing about the thief’s true identity. It’s quite effective and will have you turning pages until the very end. Bonus points: Without giving too much away, let’s just say that alert, well-read readers will get a big kick out of the identities of the trial attorneys. Too fun!

Scene stealer: Boxer, Skylar’s faithful canine companion and purse-snatching dog with shiny gold fur and a heart of gold.

A delicious blend of creativity, ingenuity, and originality, The Gem Heist is a fresh take on some well-known fairytales that the target audience will love. Chapters are relatively brief and slide seamlessly one after another. The action flows well, keeping readers engaged as new characters and conundrums are introduced along with clues about the identity of the gem thief. Who’s the culprit, and why did they steal the Gem of Fairy Tales?

A winning combination of briskly paced action, robust imagination, strong writing and rich characterizations, this charming mystery adventure is sure to be a hit with middle grade readers and anyone who enjoys a well told story. I loved it! Keep an eye out for a sequel. I certainly will!

Reviewed by

Lifelong bibliophile. Library Board Member. Select book reviews featured on my blog and Goodreads, etc. I'm a frank but fair reviewer, averaging 400+ books/year in a Wide Variety of genres on multiple platforms. Over 1,000 published reviews.

Tomorrow You Are Coming to the Castle

About the author

Tanisha Pereira is a 12 year old tween author who lives in Fort Mill, SC. Her debut novel, The Gem Heist, is a Middle Grade mystery adventure. Tanisha originally pitched the idea for this book at the NaNoWriMo PitchaPalooza 2022 where her pitch was selected as one of 20 finalists nationwide. view profile

Published on August 29, 2023

30000 words

Genre: Middle Grade

Reviewed by