I love middle grade books, and I seriously say that on every single middle grade review that I write, but honestly it totally bears repeating. When I saw that Liar & Spy by acclaimed author Rebecca Stead was on that PW (I think) list of books to look for at BEA, I knew that I had to have it. I KNOW I WAS ONE OF THOSE. But seriously, I got kind of lucky because I was just wandering around and a nice Random House person kind of pressed it into my hands and I was like SCORE. Y’all, I read Liar And Spy during the October 2012 Readathon and let me just say that while it’s been awhile, it was the perfect readathon book.
Georges moves from a house that he loves to an apartment in Brooklyn because his architect dad lost his job. Also, his mom has to work overtime at the hospital just for their family to make ends meet. Unfortunately, he does not love the apartment — how could he, the bedroom is not nearly as cool as the one his dad made for him. Anyways, he ends up becoming friends with another boy, homeschooled, named Safer after answering a flyer to join Spy Club in the laundry room. Georges must spy on a man code named Mr. X as part of his assignment from Safer. So, anyways, Georges is also having a tough time at school because he’s being bullied by the popular kids.
Y’all, I just want to adopt Georges. He’s so awkward and awesome and sad and earnest. And ugh, bullies are seriously the worst, so I could empathize with Georges. Also, he’s an only child, and he came across as so lonely. Anyways, I really loved Georges and thought his relationship with his mother was awesome — they communicate via Scrabble tiles when she’s working long shifts, how brilliant is that?
Honestly, after gobbling up Liar And Spy by Rebecca Stead in like an hour and a half, I knew I’d definitely be reading her other books. I loved that Stead has a writing style that trusts the reader. As an adult, I never felt beat over the head with the obvious. Instead, the book is quiet and kind of unassuming. I like that. I like that it isn’t in your face. I like that it’s smart. I like that it’s quirky. The characters are so unique, like Safer’s sister Candy who like her name, is obsessed with candy. Actually, I just loved Safer’s whole family. I thought her writing flowed very well, even in the uncorrected copy.
Frankly, this isn’t a super long review because it has been an incredibly long time since I’ve read Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Yet, I didn’t want to go without reviewing or talking about the book here on Good Books And Good Wine because it’s legitimately a great read, regardless of whether you like middle grade or not — and I just LOVE talking about great reads whether it’s with 1000 words or 500 words. So, if you’re into unassuming reads with great characterization and some quirks along the way chances are you will enjoy Liar & Spy.
Disclosure: Received for review at BEA 2012.
Other reviews of Liar And Spy by Rebecca Stead:
There’s A Book – “one I cannot wait to not only read again, but pass down to my own kiddos.”
Beth Fish Reads – “so full of wonderful”
Devourer Of Books – “a wonderful, realistic middle grade novel”