Liar & Spy

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1936 0
Liar & Spy
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
August 07, 2012
ISBN
9780385737432
Buy This Book
      
When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Another triumph for the Newbery-winning Rebecca Stead
(Updated: August 08, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
While it must be utterly wonderful to win a Newbery, as Rebecca Stead did in 2010 with When You Reach Me, I imagine it must be terribly difficult to write the next book. Oh the expectations! The pressure!

I loved When You Reach Me, and resonated with its New York setting, its Madeleine L'Engle references and its whole normal-but-not tone, and have been looking forward to reading LIAR AND SPY, so perhaps I'm a pretty good acid test for whether or not this new book is going to satisfy fans of Rebecca Stead's previous work.

If I'm anything to go by, the answer is yes. Yes, it will.

LIAR AND SPY is set in Brooklyn, the narrator a seventh-grade boy called Georges (with a silent s). With his father out of work, his family has been forced to sell their house and move into an apartment, where Georges quickly meets a boy his own age called Safer. Safer is a spy, he tells Georges, and starts training Georges up in the trade. Meanwhile, Georges' mother, a nurse, seems to always be at the hospital, while at school, the bullies are taking an unwelcome interest in Georges. How Georges navigates the rocky stream of his life, and what secrets he uncovers along the way are surprises I will not discuss here, as I would hate to even marginally interfere with your pleasure in discovering them for yourself.

Georges (named for Georges Seurat) tries to take in the broad picture, as one must do, his mother explains, when viewing a Seurat painting. Close up, a pointillist work is just a lot of dots. To see the picture, you must stand back, take in the whole of the work. Georges uses this insight to help him cope with the little things -- someone at school calling him names, for example.

This is just one example of how beautifully Rebecca Stead writes, that she so easily weaves theme with character and plot. Another example is that there is a twist towards the end that is both utterly surprising, and yet utterly believable. I usually feel tricked by a plot twist, as if the writer is sneakily blindfolding me, and then leaping out from behind a tree shouting BOO! Alternatively, the twist is obvious, and a blind bat could see it coming ten miles off. In LIAR AND SPY, I admit, I was completely taken in, surprised as all heck by the twist – and yet, looking back, there was nothing sneaky about the set up. It was all clear as glass, ready for me to see. I just didn’t see it. That’s some good writing.

To read LIAR AND SPY is to find yourself completely immersed in the world of Georges, his family and friendships, but also to find yourself, as if by accident, considering huge, existential issues such as self-definition and identity, courage and fear, friendship, coolness, belonging. Yet these questions are touched upon so gently they never feel tacked on, or out of place.

LIAR AND SPY is a rare and beautiful work of fiction, and one worth running to the bookstore to buy.
Good Points
Believable, yet completely surprising plot-twist
Great characters
Bullies thwarted!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Manga Classics Hamlet: Shakespeare
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dead still walk in Denmark. Already crushed by his...
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black...
All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The thrilling sequel to instant New York Times bestseller All...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of the Selection series by Kiera Cass....
Born Royal
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisoned and experimented on since she was twelve, Princess...
Born at Dawn
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Half-human thief Neva Roberts, 17, has always hidden her...
I'll Be the One (I'll Be the One #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The world of K-Pop has never met a star...
The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a full-color dog book unlike any other, acclaimed children’s...
Unchosen
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a...
Watch Over Me
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why...
The Safekeeper
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Her job is to keep their secrets safe. ...
City of the Plague God
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD,...
The Shadow War
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling...
The Valley and the Flood
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rose Colter is almost home, but she can't go back...
Don't Tell A Soul
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect...
58 Farm End
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
58 Farm End: a twisted romantic crime thriller series (Book...

Latest Member Reviews

All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth, #2)
 
5.0
"ALL THE TIDES OF FATE picks up Amora's story a season or two after the previous book ended. She is..."
Watch Over Me
 
4.7
"Eighteen-year-old Mila has just graduated from high school and aged out of the foster care program. So when a job..."
The Parkour Club
 
5.0
" The Parkour Club is a rollicking good read! Bronte’s journey to find her place in the world..."
Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings
 
5.0
"CRYING IS LIKE THE RAIN teaches children that it's okay to cry rather than bottle everything up inside. The author..."
American Royals II: Majesty
 
3.7
"With her father gone, Beatrice must step into her role as queen. To do this, she has to let her..."
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
 
4.0
"Teen Mary Shelley is the many times great granddaughter of the legendary writer. Everyone in the Shelley lineage has become..."
The Obsession
 
4.7
"THE OBSESSION is a creepy and riveting YA thriller. Delilah lives with her mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend, a..."
The Project
 
4.3
"Lo Denham, magazine assistant and loner, is looking for her sister, Bea. Six years ago, Lo's parents died in a..."
The Night Circus
 
4.3
"I couldn’t begin to express how much I adore this book. This book, magically, soothed my temper and let me..."
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
"WINGS OF EBONY is a beautifully crafted YA fantasy. A year has passed since Rue's life was irrevocably changed. Her..."
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0
"I don't know how this series keeps getting better, but it does. This third book is just... so much happens..."
The Tempest Sea
 
5.0
"This book... oof. It hurt. But if you know me at all, you know my favorite books are the kind..."