Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Adult fans of children's fiction already know Rebecca Stead, whose genre-blurring When You Reach Me won the Newbery and many other accolades in 2010. Her new novel, Liar & Spy, is just as enchanting, although firmly based in reality. 12-year-old Georges makes friends with a couple of home-schooled kids when he moves to a new apartment in Brooklyn and joins their spy club. Meanwhile, Georges is not coping well with bullies at school and with his mother working long hours since his father was fired.

"Dad is looking at the bookshelves, deep in thought, deciding exactly which book should go where. Once, Mom came home from work and discovered that he had turned all the books around so that the bindings were against the wall and the pages faced out. He said it was calming not to have all those words floating around and 'creating static.' Mom made him turn them back. She said that it was too hard to find a book when she couldn't read the titles. Then she poured herself a big glass of wine."

Can't you just picture this scene? From start to surprising finish, Liar & Spy is rewarding for adults as well as readers in Grade 5 and onward.

Readalikes: Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh); The 10 pm Question (Kate De Goldi); and My Name is Mina (David Almond).

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