Monday, October 08, 2012

Liar & Spy (MG)

Liar & Spy. Rebecca Stead. 2012. Random House. 192 pages.

There's this totally false map of the human tongue. It's supposed to show where we taste different things, like salty on the side of the tongue, sweet in the front, bitter in the back. Some guy drew it a hundred years ago, and people have been forcing kids to memorize it ever since. But it's wrong--all wrong. As in, not even the slightest bit right.

If you enjoy character-driven coming of age stories, then Liar & Spy could prove quite satisfying! Georges, our seventh grade hero, is being bullied at school. Readers get a chance to witness this during science class--they're studying taste--and gym class. Georges doesn't exactly like playing sports, but the teacher seems friendly enough. Georges feels all alone, but, the truth is he is slowly but surely making friends with another boy, Bob English Who Draws.

Readers also witness his home life. Georges' life is changing quickly. His dad recently lost his job, his mom started working more hours, and the family had to move from their home to an apartment. Georges had to leave behind a great bedroom--with an old fire escape built-in--to move to an apartment. But soon after the move, he meets a few kids in his apartment building: Safer (who is around his own age) and Candy (who is ten). Safer and Georges make up the spy club for the apartment building...

I loved the characterization in Liar & Spy. I enjoyed getting to know Safer and Candy. I just LOVED Candy. I loved her idea of a dream guy. She wants to grow up to marry someone who LOVES orange because she HATES the flavor and since she's candy obsessed, she wants someone to "give" all her rejects to. I loved the vulnerability of both Safer and Georges, though they aren't necessarily vulnerable in the same ways. I liked the building of friendships. And I liked how Georges came to know himself better through the novel. By the end, he's become more open, and he's ready to face some of his fears.

It is a quirky novel in some ways. But it works for me. I just loved it.

Read Liar & Spy
  • If you like Rebecca Stead
  • If you like reading Middle Grade novels
  • If you like quiet, quirky books about family, school, and friends
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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