August 16, 2012

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead–Book Review

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Published by Random House Children’s Books
August 7th 2012
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher


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?

My Thoughts:

I have to begin by saying that Rebecca Stead is an incredibly talented author. I would read anything by her. She crafts memorable stories and her characters come to life. I loved the twists and unexpected turns in this book.  It’s geared towards the middle grades but still relevant for teens and adults. Liar & Spy tells the story of Georges (silent s) as he moves into an apartment after his dad has been “downsized” at work. There, he begins an unpredictable and at times frustrating friendship with Safer.
Georges is named after famed painter Georges Seurat. Seurat was a pointillist and  created Masterpieces using only dots of colour. The author used this brilliantly as she highlighted the contrast between seeing what is right in front of you, and seeing the big picture throughout the book:

(Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884)

I also have to comment on the messages that went back and forth between Georges and his mom through the Scrabble tiles… I loved this aspect so much.

Liar &Spy has so much heart as we watch these boys cope with their lives in seemingly different ways. Touching on themes of bullying, perseverance, overcoming fears, risk taking and family; to say I was moved by this book would be an understatement. Fans of Rebecca Stead’s award winning novel “When You Reach Me” will fall in love with this one as well.

Highly Recommended, This is one to buy for your reading shelf at home. It would also make a great read aloud for a family to share together.

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  1. Yes, this was a good one! I think I overall preferred the story in When You Reach Me, but I think Liar & Spy is the better book.

  2. I enjoyed this one, but I was kind of let down because I had such high expectations. I loved When You Reach Me and was kind of disappointed in this one.