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Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 9-12
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 670L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Wendy Lamb Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012
NO. PAGES: 192
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Male
AWARD{S}:
ALA-ALSC Childrens Notable Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Reviews - Best Children or Starred Review
ISBN: 0385737432
READ & REVIEWED BY: Shannon - StorySnoop


The Story
Liar and Spy—Book Review

When seventh-grader Georges (that's a silent "s" in his name) has to move from his beloved apartment in New York City to a new cool apartment in Brooklyn, he tries to make the best of it. Even though his family has to leave their home behind, he tries to see his dad's losing his job as a blessing, like he has heard his mom say. But it is hard when your ex-best friend has dumped you for the cool crowd, your mom works back-to-back shifts at the hospital to make ends meet, and your dad, who means well, really needs to learn how to cook. When Georges meets Safer, a kid in his new building, Safer immediately puts Georges to work. His job? To spy on Mr. X, a mysterious man in their building. But as Safer begins to ask more of Georges, Georges begins to look harder at this new friendship, and also at his new life. What is the truth, what is a lie, and what is just a game? The answers reveal themselves to Georges in a way that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
The Scoop
Liar and Spy—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Rebecca Stead, author of the Newbery award-winning book, When You Reach Me, has written another great book for the middle grade crowd. Liar & Spy is immediately engaging with terrific characters. Many readers will relate to Georges' angst about middle school, the classroom drama, and the embarrassment of being a target for the mean kids. Liar & Spy is not so much about spies (although there is a cool Harriet the Spy feel to it). Rather, in this funny, touching, and heartwarming book, some of the themes include family, fears, school (both homeschool and public school), outcasts, and friendship. Triumph comes to Georges and his fellow outcasts at school when they decide there is strength in numbers. They come together and organize themselves in some amusing ways together so, as one character points out, they know they "are never alone." Georges' relationship with his parents is a loving and close one, and his dad is an exceptionally lovable character. Teachers will enjoy the kinship Georges' shares with a special teacher. This book, while compelling, is not fast-paced. Rather, it builds to a completely surprising twist ending that readers will not see coming. Although it is written from the perspective of a boy, it will absolutely be appealing to girls, too. It would make for a great read aloud in a classroom from 4th grade up, as it is wholesome and exceptionally well-written. Adults will enjoy this little gem as much as its intended middle school audience.
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