I love, love, love Rebecca Stead. I reviewed her debut, First Light, in one of my first blog posts ever. And I have very fond memories of sharing When You Reach Me as a read aloud in my sixth grade classes. I’ve been waiting for her newest novel for what seems like ages!
Liar & Spy does not disappoint. Rebecca Stead is the queen of setting. Her New York City stories are utter perfection; I feel like I am walking the streets with her characters, listening to the traffic, and in this case, watching the parrots. But her characters don’t suffer for this. Georges (yes, with a silent s ) is a middle schooler dealing with a load of issues. His parents recently had to sell their beautiful home and move the family to a small apartment. His father lost his job and is trying to build his own business now. Mom is always at the hospital, where she works as a nurse. Georges’ best friend is suddenly a “cool” kid and can’t give him the time of day. So when Georges meets Safer, a pretty weird kid who lives in the new building, they form a strange friendship. It’s strange because Safer is obsessed with spying on his neighbors. Think Harriet the Spy, but slightly more modern.
Ahh, but things aren’t as they seem. At least not at first glance. Stead is a master of plot twists and it continues to be true in Liar & Spy. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s not a sci-fi twist like Stead’s last novel. However, it’s just as masterfully crafted. Upon finishing the book, and upon finishing it as a read aloud, I wanted to turn back to first page and reread it. There were clues I missed along the way and I wanted to go back and catch them. And my campers felt the same way. One of them emailed me to say that she went out and purchased her own copy to read because she enjoyed it so much!
Highly recommended. Great for middle school and high school readers, and even upper elementary!
*review copy courtesy of the publisher