Review – Liar & Spy
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  • Posted:
  • November 21, 2012
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Liar & Spy is Rebecca Stead’s third book published for the middle grade market. The last book, When You Reach Me, won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2010. I read When You Reach Me leading up to the Newbery pick in 2010 thinking it couldn’t possibly be better than The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, which had been my solid pick for the medal that year. Upon the completion of WYRM I was a covert. It’s a tremendous book and I knew it would win.

I am gearing up for the Newberys in January by reading a couple of the choices that people are gunning for. Today’s read, Liar & Spy, is in the short list of fan favourites for the medal. While I did enjoy the book I will say that it’s not going to win, not with R.J. Palacio’s Wonder released this year as well (that’s my pick for the medal). But, that said, it is still a great book.

Georges is an only child in New York City. His mother works at a hospital and his father has been laid off from the architecture firm he works at. Because of financial strains his parents are forced to downsize their lives economically. They sell their house (which Georges father put a lot of restorative work into) and move into a small flat a mile from the home they’ve always lived in. While Georges’s Father begins a small home improvement business Georges settles into the apartment. When a flier advertising a Spy Club attracts their attention Georges finds himself falling into a new friendship with the criminally perceptive Safer and his sweets obsessed sister, Candy.

Georges faces many obstacles in this book from bullying to life adjustments. He must learn to detect imagination vs. the real world. There is a lot of pretend in this book, or a lot of lying, depending on how you want to look at it. Georges world is unstable and chaotic, and Stead handles the tumult perfectly. The best way to describe this book is that it’s Harriet the Spy for boys with a bit of My Neighbor Totoro thrown in for flavour.

5 out of 5 stars. I did love it.

– BP

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