Liar & Spy
by Rebecca Stead

Overview -

The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of the Newbery Medal book "When You Reach Me" a story about spies, games, and friendship. Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy.  Read more...

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More About Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of the Newbery Medal book "When You Reach Me" a story about spies, 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: what is a lie, and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend? Like the dazzling "When You Reach Me," "Liar & Spy" will keep readers guessing until the end.
Praise for "Liar & Spy" "Guardian" Prize for Children's Fiction (UK)
Texas 2014-2015 Bluebonnet Master List
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A "New York Times "Bestseller
An Indie Bestseller
"Kirkus Reviews" starred review
"Publishers Weekly" starred review
"The Horn Book" starred review
"School Library Journal" starred review
"The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books" starred review
Autumn 2012 Kids Indie Next List
Nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2013
"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
Barnes & Noble Best Books of 2012 for Kids List
Amazon s Best of the Year, Middle Grade (#3)
A" New York Times Book Review" Notable Children s Book of 2012
Holiday gift guides: "Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times"
NPR Outstanding Backseat Reads for Ages 9-14, NPR s Backseat Book Club
One of The Atlantic Wire s 25 favorite middle grade and young adult book covers of 2012
The "Wall Street Journal" s Best Children s Books of 2012
The Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2012
"The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books "2012 Blue Ribbons List"

  • ISBN-13: 9780385737432
  • ISBN-10: 0385737432
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
  • Publish Date: August 2012
  • Page Count: 180
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - General

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-06-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

Seventh grade is not going well for Georges, the only child of an out-of-work Brooklyn architect and a nurse who named him after her favorite painter, pointillist Georges Seurat. Although Georges's mother has taken on double shifts to bring in extra income, the family has had to sell their house and move into an apartment. At school, former best friend Jason, who has started dressing like the skateboarder he isn't, now stands idly by while bullies harass Georges. Newbery Medalist Stead (When You Reach Me) expertly balances 
Georges's blue period with the introduction of the new neighbors: amateur spy Safer, and his younger sister, Candy, whose parents (in one of many hilarious details) let the kids name themselves. As homeschooled siblings, they offer refreshing perspectives on the ridiculousness of what goes on at Georges's school, including a forthcoming science unit on taste buds that the kids believe forecasts one's destiny. Safer recruits Georges to investigate and observe—using the lobbycam to track a mysterious tenant and binoculars to monitor a nest of wild green parrots—but the biggest secrets are the ones these two sensitive boys have buried in their hearts. Stead has a talent for introducing curriculum-ready topics in the most accessible ways imaginable, e.g., Seurat's painting methods become a persuasive metaphor for what Georges is going through and how he can survive it. Chock-full of fascinating characters and intelligent questions, this is as close to perfect as middle-grade novels come. Ages 9–12. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Aug.)

BookPage Reviews

Going out on a limb for a friend

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!

BAM Customer Reviews