Customer Reviews


137 Reviews
5 star:
 (69)
4 star:
 (46)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb.
Stead is a gorgeous writer. That said, this novel is right in the zone for 6th/7th grade boy (and girl) readers, and will captivate them to the very end. Twists, turns, humor, and a subtle but deep reveal about two of the main characters all add up to a satisfying experience. I couldn't put it down; now it goes to my son.
Published on August 7, 2012 by Caliboots

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Middle Grade Read Had Me Flying Through
Liar & Spy is a fun middle grade read that had me flying through the pages. It's an easy read and the characters are all interesting. Throughout the story I was wondering again and again about Georges and his family and I was surprised at what I found out towards the end. That's right; this story caught me off guard with what the characters were really going through...
Published 20 months ago by Book Sake


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb., August 7, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
Stead is a gorgeous writer. That said, this novel is right in the zone for 6th/7th grade boy (and girl) readers, and will captivate them to the very end. Twists, turns, humor, and a subtle but deep reveal about two of the main characters all add up to a satisfying experience. I couldn't put it down; now it goes to my son.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle...Too Subtle? *** See Review Detail for Academic Reading Level ***, August 10, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
Liar & Spy is another middle grade or young adult book covering the topics of friendship, school, and family. There are lots of them out there. We have a storyline about bullying, another about family issues, and a third that covers the dynamics of a friendship. This book is unique and has many winning moments. In the end, it was quite enjoyable.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children's Books for the review copy of this title.

I won't rehash the plot because I'm sure plenty of other reviewers will do that. What I will say to teachers and parents is this - Liar & Spy is not one of the traumatic, depressing stories being offered to young readers. 95% of this tale is calm and easy-going. Even the bullying scenes are light.

There are also excellent touches of detail. Candy, the knock knock boy, Safer's personality, and mysterious Mr. X - all fun touches that added vibrant color.

I'm slightly worried that young readers won't make it to the last 40% of this story. The ending is the best part. There are definite lulls in the storytelling. The concepts and messages are so subtle that they may be missed by some readers. Also the lingo and maturity of Georges' voice seemed a bit old. I found him to have a very experienced and wise personality. It seemed ill-fitting for a kid in middle school.

Why the four stars? In the end, Liar and Spy has a lot going for it. Once you read it through, you will finish with a couple ahh haa moments. It's touching, it covers serious subjects without being a cover-to-cover bummer, and in the end, leaves the reader feeling good. I just hope young readers don't give up before reaching that point.

Web resources give this title a Lexile Measurement of 670L.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story!, August 10, 2012
By 
Lisa (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
This is a great middle school novel about friendship and family and facing your fears. 7th-grader Georges (the S is silent) is great character, and I think a lot of kids will identify with him. He has great parents and doesn't always confide in them. He gets picked on by a particularly obnoxious bully at school but isn't at the bottom of the middle school social heap. He's good at some things and not others. He's not entirely sure why his former Jason now sits at the cool kids table.

There isn't much action in this story, but it's full of very believable thoughts and feelings and questions, and a good helping of humor. It should appeal to both boys and girls. Although Georges is in 7th grade, I think it could appeal to kids much younger -- maybe 3rd grade through 7th or 8th grade -- because the themes are really very universal. There's very little about budding attraction to the opposite sex, so I think younger kids would relate to Georges and his situation as easily as older kids. Also, I LOVED the Blue Team thread!

(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Random House!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Liar & Spy, August 7, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
I was already a fan of Rebecca Stead after her beautiful book, When You Reach Me. So when I saw Liar & Spy was coming out, I knew it would be something special.

My assumption was not wrong.

This little book reminded me of playing pretend, of dealing with bullies, of forging new friendships and dealing with change. With a quiet, leading voice, Rebecca takes her main character Georges (the S is silent) and leads the reader through a story filled with such small ups and downs that the ride seems like it's going nowhere until the destination hits you and realization dawns. I don't know how else to describe this journey.

Filled with surprises, revelations, and most of all, lessons about the importance of community and fellowship with other people - which includes the openness of mind to accept them, this is a middle-grade novel that, I suspect, will be knocking on the door of another award.

If you have middle-graders or contact to middle-graders, please recommend this book. It has such a story to tell and lessons to teach - but manages to be understanding and not preachy about those lessons. Most of all - it's fun. I mean, what kid doesn't imagine being in a spy club of sorts?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book about Friendship for Middle Readers, September 19, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
I read this aloud to my ten year old son. He usually reads fantasy and sci-fi, likes a lot of action, so this was quite different for him. But we both really enjoyed it. It's the story of Georges, a Brooklyn seventh grader who has recently moved to a new building, and Safer, another boy he meets there. Both boys are a bit quirky and neither have many other friends, so they are drawn to each other. I thought the kids were written very realistically and the dialogue ran true. It's quite funny at times, and becomes more poignant as the book progresses. There are some great lessons about friendship, the value and perils of pretending, and about standing up for yourself. I highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIAR & SPY is a beautifully composed character study, September 12, 2012
By 
KidsReads (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
It's no secret that Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME is one of my favorite books of the last five years, or possibly of all time. I've been eagerly awaiting LIAR & SPY, her new novel, and it turns out the wait was worth every agonizing minute. Although her latest may not possess the same complexity as its predecessor, it does share with her Newbery-winning favorite a sense of whimsy and playfulness, as well as a focus on relationships, both in families and between friends.

LIAR & SPY is a product of its time. Georges (named after the post-Impressionist artist Seurat) is sad about having to move from his family's beloved house in Brooklyn to a much smaller apartment nearby, after his architect father loses his job. He's staying in the same school district, but that's kind of a mixed blessing when some of the kids at school call him "Gorgeous" as a joke and, when they're not finding themselves merely clever, are outright mean to him. Georges' mom, a nurse, is never home; he knows that she needs to work double shifts at the hospital to earn extra money, but that doesn't make her absence any easier.

When Georges moves into the new apartment building, he is almost immediately drawn into the orbit of Safer, a charismatic home-schooled kid who starts up a Spy Club that Georges, thanks to his busybody day, winds up joining. Safer, it turns out, is obsessed with so-called Mr. X, a man who dresses all in black and is often seen carrying suitcases out of his apartment --- suitcases that Safer is convinced are used for some nefarious purpose.

As Georges finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into Safer's world, he is on some level comforted. It's nice to hang out with another kid his age who seems to enjoy his company and who will certainly never make fun of him for his name. Safer's younger sister, Candy, although sometimes annoying, also provides a useful distraction for Georges with her exuberance and her near-ceaseless demands for (that's right) candy. But as surveillance of Mr. X grows more and more serious, Georges starts to question Safer's motives as well as his methods. Questioning Safer also raises questions about Georges' own situation as well. Who is lying to whom is a question at the heart of LIAR & SPY, and one that readers will be asking themselves just as Georges does.

Stead's great gifts lie not only in storytelling but in offering whimsical, even quirky vignettes or characters that feel like places or people readers would like to get to know. The ridiculous not-fortunes Georges and his dad receive at Yum Li's restaurant are a good example; Candy's obsession with her namesake confection is another: "Mr. Orange. That's who I'm going to marry,'" she declares. "I hate orange. The color and the flavor. It's the only flavor I don't like, actually. That's the whole point. I hate it, he loves it. That way we can always share the pack.... Starbursts. Lifesavers. Jolly Ranchers. Whatever." Even the messages Georges and his mother leave each other each night, formed out of Scrabble tiles, become a central, bittersweet component of the world Stead has built.

Astute readers will likely figure out at least one of the several mysteries Stead lays out for them, but that's not really the point here. At its heart, LIAR & SPY is a beautifully composed character study about a boy poised between becoming a leader or a follower --- or maybe a little bit of both.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Middle Grade Read Had Me Flying Through, December 28, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
Liar & Spy is a fun middle grade read that had me flying through the pages. It's an easy read and the characters are all interesting. Throughout the story I was wondering again and again about Georges and his family and I was surprised at what I found out towards the end. That's right; this story caught me off guard with what the characters were really going through.

Another thing that I loved about this book were the parents; finally, a read that doesn't suffer from completely unaware parents. Yes, Georges was able to get away with some things without his father's knowledge, but luckily they weren't life altering moments. Overall both Georges and Safer had families that they spoke to and interacted with instead of only complain about. This makes it a book that I comfortably say that both parents and children will enjoy!

Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Readers of All Ages!, November 4, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
Liar & Spy really surprised me in every single way. First of all, I usually don't read middle-school books at all because they don't interest me like YA novels do. Second, I don't usually read realistic fiction because in my opinion reality is too ordinary and boring to read about. I went against my reader instinct when I picked up Liar & Spy but I'm happy I did.

I really would like to thank Random House for providing me with an advanced reader copy, in exchange for an honest review. Liar & Spy exceeded my expectations! Liar & Spy is at the surface, a children's book but it's so much more. This is a book that people of all ages can enjoy even stubborn teens like me.

Liar & Spy is a fantastic and realistic tale that takes place in the borough of Brooklyn. Our hero Georges has moved into a new apartment building where he meets Safer, a twelve year old spy. Safer casts Georges into a fun and dangerous world of spies. Their assignment to investigate the mysterious Mr. X.

Rebecca Stead created a fast, fun and interesting adventure. All the characters and dialogue were so witty and uniquely crafted. Stead wrote an unique book that readers will cherish and won't forget any time soon. I felt like I really could relate to all the characters because they were so down to earth. The characters dealt with real-life problems that people actually face on a daily basis.

Liar & Spy is a story about conquering your fears, growing up, and facing problems. There are just so many lessons in this book that readers should part with. Even if this book doesn't seem like your thing I suggest you try it. I really loved Stead's writing style so I decided to get When You Reach Me and I am ready to read it soon.

If you want to read a smart, witty, and fun book what are you waiting for?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, November 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Kindle Edition)
A good read but not in the same class as her previous 'When You Reach Me'. Still a good read for early teens.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rear Window for kids, August 29, 2012
This review is from: Liar & Spy (Hardcover)
Rebecca Stead is the M. Night Shyamalan of children's literature, and I mean that in a good "Sixth Sense" way, not a lame "The Happening" one. It's funny, but when I try to compare her other authors I find myself tongue-tied. Who else spends as much time on setting up and knocking down expectations in such a surefire manner? Now Ms. Stead has created the most dreaded of all books: The one you write after you've won a major award. Which is to say, she won a Newbery Medal for "When You Reach Me" and now comes her next book "Liar & Spy". Like all beloved authors who don't follow up their hits with sequels, Ms. Stead is contending with some critics who expected more science fiction. Instead, what they're getting is a jolt of realistic fiction housed in a story that feels like nothing so much as "Rear Window" meets "Harriet the Spy". Though opinions on it vary widely, in the end I think it's safe to call this a fun novel with a secret twist and a strong, good heart. Who could ask for anything more?

Don't call him Gorgeous. Georges has had to live with his uniquely spelled name all his life (gee THANKS, namesake Georges Seurat) and it's never been anything but a pain. You know what else is a pain? Moving from your awesome home where you had a loft made out of a real fire escape to an apartment with an unemployed dad and an absentee albeit loving mom. When Georges meets the similarly oddly named kid Safer in the new apartment building he becomes enmeshed in the boy's spy club. Is there someone up to no good in the complex? How far will the boys go to learn the truth? As things escalate and George finds himself facing fears he didn't even know he could have, he discovers that everything in his life boils down to this question: when it comes to his relationship with Safer, who really is the liar and who really is the spy?

If a book has a twist to its ending but you don't know that a twist will be coming in the first place, is it a spoiler to mention the fact in a review? I'm counting on the answer to that question to be no since I'd like to talk about the twist a tad. As an adult reader of a children's book text I did pick up on the fact that throughout the book adults kept looking at Georges in a concerned way. I think it's fair to say that an intelligent kid with a good eye for detail might also notice as well. Would they think it weird that these looks aren't explained or would they just write it off as the author's literary fancy? I haven't a clue. All I really know at this point is that for probably 96% of the child readership of this book, the ending is going to come flying at them from out of nowhere. In all likelihood.

I've had a lot of debates with adults about this novel and it's funny how diverse the opinions of it range. Some folks think it's a natural continuation of "When You Reach Me". Others take issue with Stead's use of geography or pacing. But the sticking point that comes up the most when people discuss this book is the fact that Georges is a boy. For a some readers, it isn't until a good chunk of the story has passed that they suddenly realize that the voice they've been hearing is a boy's voice and not a girl's. For some, the shock is too much and they deem the speaker to be an inauthentic take on how guys talk. Stead is the mother of two boys, as I recall, so they are not (to cop a phrase) "unknown quantities" to her. Anyway, for my part this was not the problem that it's proved to be for some readers. I was more concerned about the nature of the taste test. In this book Georges has a science class where a taste-related test will determine whether or not he's an outcast for good. I loved how the test fit in within the context of the greater story. What I couldn't quite feel was Georges' dread of this test. It's described in such a blasé matter-of-fact way early on that when we are told that he worries about the test it's just that. We're told how he feels. We don't feel how he feels. It's a fine line.

That said, when it comes right down to it Stead's writing is stellar. She fills the book with these little insights and conjectures that could only come from a unique brain. I love it when kids speculate about weird things in books, so Georges' thoughts about his dad as a boy are just great, particularly when he says, "I wonder whether Dad and I would have been friends, or if he would have been friends with Dallas Llewellyn, or Carter Dixon, or what. It's kind of a bummer to think your own dad might have been someone who called you Gorgeous." Similarly I was very fond of the characters in this book. Safer was a perfect noir hero, complete with backstory and shady intentions. And seriously, how can you resist a kid that keeps insisting that he's drinking coffee from his flask? Minor characters are just as interesting too. Bob English, a classmate of Georges, is a redeemed class freak along the lines of Dwight from "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda". I'm a sucker for that kind of creation.

Unlike her previous novel "When You Reach Me", "Liar & Spy" is set firmly in the 21st century. In an era of helicopter parenting, this book got me to wonder whether or not the economic downturn would create an abundance of latchkey children with parents who work more and more jobs to make ends meet. If so, we may see more characters like Georges free to wander the streets while their parental units exist in absence. Something to chew on. Regardless, the book has engendered a lot of discussion and undoubtedly folks will continue to talk about it and debate it for years to come. The best way to summarize it? It's about an unreliable narrator who meets an unreliable narrator. It's also fun. And that, really, is all you need to say about that.

For ages 9-12.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Liar & Spy
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (Paperback - August 6, 2013)
$6.99 $4.85
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.