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Liar & Spy Hardcover – August 7, 2012
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From School Library Journal
-Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books 2012
-Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books 2012
-The Wall Street Journals Best Children’s Books of 2012
-The Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2012
-The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2012 Blue Ribbons List
-One of The Atlantic Wire’s 25 favorite middle grade and young adult book covers of 2012
-The Horn Book’s Best of 2012 List
-Amazon’s Best of the Year, Middle Grade (#3)
-A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2012
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2012:
“Readers will sympathize with Georges and Safer as they negotiate various familiar obstacles, but it’s the celebration that will leave them exultant.”
Starred Review, School Library Journal, September 2012:
“The ending twists readers’ entire perception of the events and creates a brilliant conclusion to an insightful novel.”
Starred Review, The Horn Book, September/October, 2012:
“Stead’s spare and elegant prose, compassionate insight into the lives of young people, wry sense of humor, deft plotting, and ability to present complex ideas in an accessible and intriguing way make this much more than a mystery with a twist.”
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2012:
“Chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2012:
“[A] big-hearted, delightfully quirky tale…. Georges resolves his various issues in a way that’s both ingenious and organic to the story….Original and winning”
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really nice and kinda mysterious. Definitely a good read. LOVED IT!!! Couldn't have been written better. Full of fun and family.Published 2 days ago by PK
I loved this book because it had some action in it and because I love books like that plus it had things that I like in the bookPublished 2 months ago
I love this author and her work is so easy to read (I know it's geared toward young adults, which I am not, but I've always enjoyed reading smartly written YA novels, which this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nicci Herbert
This is my favorite realistic fiction book. It has an interesting "mystery" but I'm glad the mystery turned out to be just a lie and game.Published 4 months ago by Adam Kradel
LIAR AND SPY by Rebecca Stead is about a 12 year old boy named Georges (named after artist Georges Seurat)whose family must sell their home and move into an apartment. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Paula B
This author is really good at explaining true emotions from a kid's perspective. It's a quick read you won't regret.Published 6 months ago by Hannah
I liked how the book was formatted, and the language. Not really any bad language, except for some like "dumb", "stupid", etc... Not to happy with the story though, pretty boring. Read morePublished 7 months ago by J.C
I read this book with a 6th grade novel study group. They requested a realistic fiction mystery novel and this book fit the bill! Read morePublished 7 months ago by Reading Teacher