Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead.
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House: NY, 2012.

Rebecca Stead's 3rd children's novel. The most striking aspect is that she loves to twist the story. This one starts with Georges and his parents moving to a Brooklyn apartment building from their beloved home. Emphasis is on change of job status and his mother working as a nurse and not home to spend time with him. The story is largely his adjusting to the situation. He meets a sister and brother right off and becomes friends with them, odd though they seem. Their friendship is based on spying adventures. Safer and Candy are both homeschooled, so they are always around to hang out with. Georges also gains friends through school as the story goes on, though slowly at first, and it takes dealing with adversity to develop the friendships.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is quirky, with several odd character details, and anticipatory, as you can never tell what's going to happen next. And the story progresses in a completely different direction. Both Georges and Safer end up with big secrets that I did not expect at all. Just like When You Reach Me, it makes you feel like you need to go back and read it through again, with your new knowledge, to find the clues that you know Stead left. Awesome.

Rebecca Stead, like another favorite author - Wendy Mass, fills out her stories with philosophical bits. I highly recommend both of these authors.

related-spies and intrigue, adventure, middle schools, apartment houses, family life, homeschool, bullying, dealing with fear
RL=5th and up

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