Going out on a limb for a friend
BookPage Children's Top Pick, August 2012
Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that can bring about the biggest change in your life. For Georges, it’s a sign in the basement of his new apartment building that simply reads: “Spy Club Meeting—TODAY.” In Liar & Spy, the new book by Rebecca Stead, author of the Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me, Georges (the “s” is silent) attends the mysterious Spy Club meeting. It is there that he meets Safer, a 12-year-old eccentric loner and self-proclaimed spy, and his younger sister Candy, who loves to eat (what else) lots and lots of candy. Georges needs a friend, since he has been uprooted from his home as a result of his father’s job loss, and his mom is spending lots of extra time at the hospital where she works. He finds that friend in Safer, who also needs someone in his life.
Safer has decided, after careful observation through the front-door camera in his apartment building, that Mr. X, who lives in a top-floor unit, must be a criminal. After all, he only wears black, he leaves his apartment at strange times and he carries different types of luggage. Georges’ first assignment as a member of the Spy Club is to learn as much as he can about Mr. X. However, as Safer’s missions and demands grow increasingly dangerous (and maybe illegal), Georges must decide how far he will go for his only friend.
Liar & Spy is much more than its short length suggests. It is filled with twists and turns, and will force young readers to examine what they, and those around them, “know” to be true. Georges must make hard decisions, and come to some stark realizations, about friends, families and what truth really is. Like When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy keeps readers in suspense until the very end and will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good story. And that’s the truth!
Read an interview with Rebecca Stead for Liar & Spy.