Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that can bring about the biggest change in your life. For Georges, it’s a sign in the basement of his new apartment building that simply reads: “Spy Club Meeting—TODAY.” In Liar & Spy, the new book by Rebecca Stead, author of the Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me, Georges (the “s” is silent) attends the mysterious Spy Club meeting. It is there that he meets Safer, a 12-year-old eccentric loner and self-proclaimed spy, and his younger sister Candy, who loves to eat (what else) lots and lots of candy. Georges needs a friend, since he has been uprooted from his home as a result of his father’s job loss, and his mom is spending lots of extra time at the hospital where she works. He finds that friend in Safer, who also needs someone in his life.
Safer has decided, after careful observation through the front-door camera in his apartment building, that Mr. X, who lives in a top-floor unit, must be a criminal. After all, he only wears black, he leaves his apartment at strange times and he carries different types of luggage. Georges’ first assignment as a member of the Spy Club is to learn as much as he can about Mr. X. However, as Safer’s missions and demands grow increasingly dangerous (and maybe illegal), Georges must decide how far he will go for his only friend.
Liar & Spy is much more than its short length suggests. It is filled with twists and turns, and will force young readers to examine what they, and those around them, “know” to be true. Georges must make hard decisions, and come to some stark realizations, about friends, families and what truth really is. Like When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy keeps readers in suspense until the very end and will be enjoyed by a[Sat May 18 21:00:40 2013] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. nyone who loves a good story. And that’s the truth!Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Seventh grade is not going well for Georges, the only child of an out-of-work Brooklyn architect and a nurse who named him after her favorite painter, pointillist Georges Seurat. Although Georges's mother has taken on double shifts to bring in extra income, the family has had to sell their house and move into an apartment. At school, former best friend Jason, who has started dressing like the skateboarder he isn't, now stands idly by while bullies harass Georges. Newbery Medalist Stead (When You Reach Me) expertly balances ?Georges's blue period with the introduction of the new neighbors: amateur spy Safer, and his younger sister, Candy, whose parents (in one of many hilarious details) let the kids name themselves. As homeschooled siblings, they offer refreshing perspectives on the ridiculousness of what goes on at Georges's school, including a forthcoming science unit on taste buds that the kids believe forecasts one's destiny. Safer recruits Georges to investigate and observe--using the lobbycam to track a mysterious tenant and binoculars to monitor a nest of wild green parrots--but the biggest secrets are the ones these two sensitive boys have buried in their hearts. Stead has a talent for introducing curriculum-ready topics in the most accessible ways imaginable, e.g., Seurat's painting methods become a persuasive metaphor for what Georges is going through and how he can survive it. Chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come. Ages 9-12. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 5-8--Georges's life is turned upside down when his father loses his job, forcing his mother to take on extra nursing shifts and prompting the family to move from their house into an unfamiliar Brooklyn apartment. At school, Georges is a bit of an outcast, having been abandoned by his one and only friend and often the subject of bullies' taunts. Then he sees a sign advertising a Spy Club and meets Safer, a homeschooled loner who lives in his building, and Safer's warm, welcoming, and quirky family offers him respite from the stress at home. Together the boys track a mysterious building resident who Safer is sure is hiding a sinister secret. As the investigation progresses, Georges grows increasingly uncomfortable with Safer's actions. Stead has written a lovely, quiet, and layered novel that explores friendship in all its facets. She particularly examines truths, secrets, deceptions, and imagination and whether these can destroy or ultimately strengthen a friendship. The ending twists readers' entire perception of the events and creates a brilliant conclusion to an insightful novel.--Naphtali L. Faris, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City[Page 157]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.