February 19, 2013

Book Review: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Title: Liar & Spy
Author: Rebecca Stead
Copy Obtained: ARC from Publisher

When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

Ok what did I think of this book? Let me start with some background. I LOVED LOVED LOVED When You Reach Me by the same author.  It was one of the first books I read when I got into blogging and I loved it.  It literally made me gasp and has won a special place in my heart.  So with that I was very excited to read another book my Rebecca Stead.  My expectations were so high, that I think there was no choice but to feel some let down.  It just didn't have the same punch as When You Reach Me.  

I really liked Georges.  He was great - the kind of kid I'd love to have in my class.  Smart.  Kind.  Nice.  Respectful.  All those things.  If it wasn't for him I might not have finished the book, but I wanted to see what happened with him.  Plus I knew things weren't happening with him at home, so I was curious to see what it was.  In the end I was glad I found his whole story.  It made me like him even more.

As for Safer......Um I struggled with him.  I didn't particularally like him, so it was hard for me to trust him or want Georges around him.  I can't pinpoint exactly what it was, but there was something about him that just didn't work for me.  I mean in the end I got him and understood, but it was tough getting there.

As for the ending - Many pieces come together that I hadn't seen coming and that was nice. So many thing because clear, and I understood each character so much better.  It also reminded me to never think I know someone just by what I see of them - that there are tons of other things going on that I many not be aware of.  That is what I'm thinking Rebecca Stead might have had in mind when writing it.  It's something we all need to be reminded of.

Final Thought: Good - my expectations were way too high
Best stick-with-you image: The scrabble tiles
Best for readers who: Can handle slower moving books
Best for ages: 9-12

For the Guys? Yes I think so.  The two main characters are boys, and they might be able to relate to one or the other. 


  1. I enjoyed this book especially seeing pieces come together at the end but I did expect a bit more even without reading When You Reach Me (which is on my to-read list!)

  2. I loved When You Reach Me too. So I'd probably have the same reaction as you. Thanks for the review.

  3. I loved When You Reach Me, and I really liked this one. I actually really liked Safer, and how his story came together felt exactly right.

    I didn't really like the way the "scrabble tiles" subplot ended. It was too much, I thought. But, I still really like this one. Like you, not as much as WYRM, but I did like it.

    Great review!

  4. My expectations were too high with this one too. I think the best thing I tell folks is to forget her first book otherwise this one lets you down. Great honest review.

  5. I agree that boys will like this book, but I think girls will like it as well. I found it quite intriguing. I had not read When You Reach Me, so didn't have the problem of high expectations. After I read Liar and Spy, I liked it enough to want to read the first book, which blew me away. Really good review.

  6. Oh man, I was Obsessed with WYRM, and agree that Liar and Spy definitely didn't pack the same punch. However! I still thought it was a great underdog story. I just finished Wonder and all the way through I kept wishing that Auggie's group could meet up with Georges' Blue Team :)