Sunday, December 16, 2012

Liar and Spy

by Rebecca Stead
December 16, 2012

This has been getting some good review and has been on several end-of-the-year "best of" lists.  Rebecca Stead won the 2010 Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me   I'm not sure that she'll win again this year, but I actually liked Liar and Spy much better than When You Reach Me.

Georges (named after Seurat) and his parents have just moved into an apartment building in Brooklyn. It's a big change because they had been living in a house, but when Georges' dad loses his job, they must downsize and his mother has to spend more time at the hospital where she is a nurse.

On the day they move in Georges meets an unusual boy named Safer and his sister Candy when he accepts an invitation to attend a Spy Club. Safer teaches Georges how to be a spy and they begin trying to figure out what the mysterious Mr X from the fifth floor is up to.

As with  When You Reach Me, the author writes about friendships, school and family.  Georges has to deal with bullies, his new home, the sometimes exasperating Safer and his parents' absence. Dad is working hard to gain new clients for his design business and Mom is always at the hospital.

Liar and Spy is appearing in  everybody's 2013 Newbery predictions, but I have a feeling about the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I'd like to read more of the possible contenders before January 28th when the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced.

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