Sunday, February 3, 2013
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
When George and his dad move into a Brooklyn apartment building, George meets Safer and his unusual family. Safer is a spy, currently embroiled in a mystery involving their seldom seen neighbor, Mr. X. George is strong armed into becoming Safer's assistant and the plot thickens. As Safer's requests become less fun and more scary, George starts to question this game. How far is too far for fun? What is the truth and what is a lie? What is the truth behind Safer's story and where is George's mother? All of these questions will keep the reader wondering.
I really like Rebecca Stead's style of writing and I really loved When You Reach Me, her 2010 Newbery Award novel and this book is a strong, lovely second effort. George, Safer and their families are all well drawn characters. I continue to be intrigued by stories about growing up in New York City and in Stead's hands the city is indeed a character, adding a layer of life to the story.
This weekend I was able to attend a panel discussion at NYPL about the current onslaught and popularity of YA Fiction and the toll it is taken on middle grade fiction and middle grade fiction readers. The talk was fun and thought provoking and Stead was delightful. I am confident middle grade fiction is safe in her hands for years to come.