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Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Liar & Spy

by Rebecca Stead

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6848013,957 (3.92)27



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Seventh-grader Georges has just moved with his architect father and mother, an RN, from their beloved Brooklyn home. At his new apartment Georges befriends Safer, a twelve-year-old who is homeschooled by his Bohemian parents. Georges joins Safer’s spy club to investigate Mr. X - a possible murderer living in the apartment right above Georges’. As Georges and Safer’s missions grow increasingly dangerous, Georges begins to worry about his role in the conspiracy, until he realizes that Safer has a secret that rival’s Georges’ own. A suspenseful story with cleverly-executed plot twists that reveals how friendship can liberate children from their worst fears. Characters are well-developed, quirky, and their problems will be relatable for middle-school audience. The conclusion is satisfying and reconciles fantasy with reality. Highly recommended. Ages 9-13. ( )
  alovett | Oct 16, 2014 |
Georges is a twelve year old boy whose life seems to be changing drastically. His father has lost his job, therefore his mother must pick up extra shifts working at the hospital. They must move out of their house and into an apartment. To add to all of these stressful changes, Georges is also being picked on and bullied at school.

Unfortunately this chapter book is highly relatable to many children now a days. There are many problems with children's parent's losing their jobs or having to work many shifts in any job in which they can find. This can leave many children in the position that Georges is in, which can be more stressful for a child than most people may think. Liar & Spy is a relatable book for children of their own family life or possibly that of their friends. ( )
  acahil3 | Oct 14, 2014 |
Rebecca Stead’s 2010 Newbery Medal winning novel When You Reach Me is one of my favourite children’s chapter books of all time, and so I went into Liar and Spy with unrealistically high expectations.

Georges and his parents have recently had to sell their house in Brooklyn and move to a near-by apartment. There Georges meets Safer and his younger sister, and reluctantly joins their spy club.

Liar and Spy reflects Stead’s straight-forward style, and understanding of youngsters in their early teens.
She builds suspense in a very believable situation and has, not one, but two surprises at the end. I highly recommend this for young and older readers alike.

Read this if: you enjoy well-written stories that appeal to younger readers because they’re not quite what they seem; or you’d like a book that both you and adolescent can read, enjoy, and discuss. 4 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jul 13, 2014 |
***Listened to audiobook***

Recommended Ages: Gr. 6-8

Plot Summary: Georges and his dad moved from their house to an apartment and Georges and his father both try to make it seem like everything is normal. Although Georges mom is working extra shifts at the hospital, so the boys are responsible for unpacking, plus food preparation and laundry. In the basement of their new building, next to the laundry machines, is a sign that says Spy Club Meeting - Today! Georges' dad writes on there "when." Because he's curious, Georges shows up at the correct time, but a girl named Candy is in the room. Candy leads Georges to Safer, and George agrees to be a spy, even though he has no idea what to do. Safer explains that they need to spy on Mr. X, a mysterious man who lives in the building who wears all black, never talks, and carries suitcases regularly. Safer teachers Georges how to notice the little things and how to sit and watch the front lobby for hours through the buzzer. Georges feels something is off, but can't quite figure it out. Who is Mr. X? What does he have in his suitcase? Will Georges ever be an accomplished spy? How did Candy, Safer, and Pigeon get their names?

Setting: city, maybe NYC?

Georges - 7th grader, a little embarrased by his name becfause the "s" is silent, named after Georges Seurat, enjoys looking at his artwork hanging in their house
Georges' mom - working extra shifts at the hospital, leaves notes using scrabble tiles
Safer - 12 y/o, mysterious, homeschooled, drinks coffee, notices every detail and tries to get Georges to do the same
Mr. X - lives in the same building, wears all black, always has a suitcase with him
Mr. Landau - Georges science teacher, leading the taste unit now explaining the different types of taste
Candy - Safer's younger sister
Pigeon - Safer's older brother, rarely at home, Safer is a little upset about it
Benny - owner of a candy store that Georges and Candy shop at often

Recurring Themes: friendship, family, moving, house vs. apartment, independence, tongue map (sour, bitter, sweet, salty), Seurat, spying

Controversial Issues:
can't remember if there's more

Personal Thoughts: I think I liked this book because I remember it from a few months ago, but to tell the truth, it also makes me feel uncomfortable when I think about it. The characters are quirky and strange. The problem in the story isn't really the problem because of things the reader discovers at the end about Georges mom (she's not working extra shifts, she's actually admitted to the hospital and Georges doesn't want to visit her) and Safer (he has some mental issues because he doesn't want to leave the safety of his apartment).

Genre: realistic fiction

Pacing: slow, complicated, lots of character development
Characters: mystery behind the characters, especially Safer and his family

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Jul 12, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much as Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, although the difference is mostly that When You Reach Me described my world in the early eighties as well as any book I've read and this book was set in contemporary Brooklyn. But like When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy is about a young teenager who is relatively independent in navigating New York City and, in this case, a relative loner with few friends at school. He joins a "Spy Club" in his building with a home schooled boy named Safer and starts chasing a mysterious Mr. X who appears to be removing large suitcases from his apartment. The spying deepens as do the demands Safer places on him and the inconsistencies in his story--until what we are left with is an interesting story about friendship, fantasy play, lying, fear of the unknown, and a number of other themes that apply beyond the age group the book is written for. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
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Book description
Summary from the Kindle edition: Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father's efforts to start a new business, his mother's extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737432, Hardcover)

An instant New York Times bestseller, Liar & Spy is a story about games and friendship. Seventh-grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: How far is too far to go for your only friend? 

Like Stead's dazzling Newbery-winner When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy will keep readers guessing until the end.
   * A New York Times bestseller 
   * A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2012
   * Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books 2012 List
   * Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Fiction 2012
   * School Library Journal Best of Children's Fiction 2012 List
   * The Horn Book's Best of 2012 List
   * The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 2012 Blue Ribbons List
   * Barnes & Noble Best Books of 2012 for Kids List  
   * NPR Outstanding "Backseat" Reads for Ages 9-14, NPR's Backseat Book Club
   * Amazon's Top 5 "Best of the Year" (Middle Grade Books)
   * The Wall Street Journal's Best Children's Books of 2012
   * The Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2012
   * A Junior Library Guild Selection

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:39 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father's efforts to start a new business, his mother's extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.… (more)

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Average: (3.92)
2 5
2.5 4
3 42
3.5 23
4 103
4.5 12
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