Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

Georges and his family have just moved from a beautiful large house to an apartment building in Brooklyn because of financial circumstances. Georges, a seventh grader, is not very happy about this, nor about the fact that his mother has to pick up the slack while his father is out of work by accepting late nights and long shifts at the hospital where she works. When Georges spots a sign in the laundry room of the new apartment building advertising a meeting of a spy club, he meets Safer, a homeschooled boy who lives in the building. The boys become friends, together trying to ferret out the secrets of a sinister neighbor.

The title of the book alerts readers that there is lying going on here, somewhere, on someone's part, and the suspicious reader will find inconsistencies and red flags as the story is told. Those who have read Stead's wonderful When You Reach Me will be prepared for another game of points of view and reality shift, and it is a lot of fun, particularly when combined with characters who are quirky, engaging and sympathetic. This is a great exploration of storytelling in general, as well as the complex relationships among friends and family. Fans of E.K. Konigsburg should particularly enjoy this one.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, 2012)

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