Wednesday 5 September 2012

Liar and Spy

Liar and Spy Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Text)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 9781921922947
Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Packed with quirky characters, this book for older children has mystery and suspense alongside more realistic truths about growing up. The story is about Georges (pronounced George) a twelve year old boy who moves into a apartment block in New York. He sees a sign in the basement : SPY CLUB MEETING — TODAY! which leads him to a boy called Safer who drinks lots of coffee and doesn't go to school. Now the adventures begin.

Since his best friend left him for the 'cool table,' school hasn't been much fun for Georges, who sometimes wishes his name didn't look so much like gorgeous. Home hasn't been great either. His dad lost his job and his mum is always at the hospital, working double shifts. Georges and his mum communicate through scrabble tiles, rearranged each night before and after he goes to sleep. 

Georges' worries recede when he joins Safer and his sister Candy in surveillance of the mysterious 'Mr X' who lives in their building. Georges is encouraged to be brave, to do things he wouldn't normally. He doesn't worry about the bullies at school so much, because now he has a new friend. However, as the title suggests, maybe not everyone is telling the truth. This is bound to make things a bit complicated.

Liar and Spy is a book about friendship, courage and the importance of facing up to things. Written in first person, the voice of Georges is very believable as a twelve year old boy. He is not always a reliable narrator (as the reader realises slowly towards the end of the book) and this is a great technique which adds to the mystery element of the story. I would recommend this for older primary school children, boys or girls.

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