Liar & Spy

by Rebecca Stead

Georges, age twelve, has just moved into a new apartment building in New York City.... read more

Georges, age twelve, has just moved into a new apartment building in New York City. His father has lost his job and his mother is working double shifts at the hospital to try to make up some of the family income. On one of their first days in the new building, Georges’s dad notices a sign posted in the basement for a meeting of a Spy Club, so Georges shows up to see what it’s about. The only two members of the club, he learns, are a boy his age, Safer, and his little sister Candy, both of whom are homeschooled. Safer begins training Georges to be a spy, and they set their sights on one mysterious resident in the building, a man whom Safer calls Mr. X. Before long, Safer is asking Georges to do things that make him uncomfortable, such as going into Mr X’s apartment when he’s not at home. But it turns out that many things aren’t what they seem in Rebecca Stead’s novel, which ultimately reveals the ways two kids deal with their very different, very real fears by constructing alternate versions of the truth through the stories they share. Does this make Georges an unreliable narrator? Is Safer an unreliable friend? There’s plenty for readers to discuss, including a subplot involving bullies with a feel-good resolution that seems unlikely but welcome, just like dimensions of the stories Georges and Safer shared. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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