Liar and Spy: The Best-Selling Book Your Favorite OMGspy Will Love!

Rebecca Stead‘s last book, When You Reach Me, won the Newbery Award in 2010, and there is Newbery buzz for her latest book Liar and Spy. I would describe it as a spare zen masterpiece with every small detail working to tell the story in a nuanced way.

Take the names of her characters for example.  There’s Candy, Safer’s little sister who loves candy. Bob English Who Draws is rewriting the rules of English. And, of course,  seventh-grader Georges, named after artist Georges Seurat, whose dot paintings are a metaphor for Georges’s middle school life: Focus on the big picture when bullies pick on him; notice the small dots when they don’t.

The bully who torments Georges has a name that implies outsized and attention seeking: Dallas. This year, Georges’s best friend has traded up to the cool crowd led by Dallas, leaving him behind by himself. George can cope. His new friend at his apartment complex, Safer, invites him into his spy club to crack the mystery of their neighbor Mr. X.

But seeing the picture is harder than it seems. Things shift. People change. All is not what it seems. Do the dots make a picture only from a larger perspective or should the dots be noticed in their own right?

This is a remarkable book. I’d hand this to all of your OMGkids who love Newbery books, as well as any OMGkids who loved Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. Hoot is a brother from another mother.

Liar and Spy
Ages: 9+

Check out  monthly book reviews by Mia Wenjen of the fantastic blog Pragmatic Mom!


One Comment

  1. The book is very short, very American and very enjoyable. It’s also very funny in places, such as the personal fortunes in the fortune cookies at Yum Li’s. (“Why don’t you look up once in a while? Is something wrong with your neck?”) The author makes writing this well look easy. She is, of course, playing games. Thanks for sharing this!

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