Liar and Spy
Publisher: Andersen Press
Georges (the s is silent) is having a difficult time at home and school. His father is short of work, his mother is working double shifts, and his former best friend Jason has dumped him in favour of the popular kids, leaving him to be taunted by the school bullies. But things improve when Georges meets Safer, a boy who lives in his building, and is recruited to join his Spy Club to help investigate the sinister Mr X, a mysterious man who lives in the apartment above Georges. Safer and his little sister Candy are home-educated and Georges is welcomed into their warm, bohemian and eccentric family lifestyle. Yet as Safer strives to teach Georges everything he knows about the art of espionage, and they come closer and closer to discovering Mr X's secrets, the boundaries between game and reality, truth and fiction, soon begin to blur.
Rebecca Stead follows her award-winning When You Reach Me with this thoughtful, quirky novel about friendship and family set in Brooklyn. Sensitively written, with a whimsical yet always convincing cast of characters, Liar and Spy deals with a range of serious issues including bullying and family instability, without ever feeling heavy-handed, or allowing them to dominate Stead's cleverly-structured narrative. Intelligent, subtle and affecting, this is an impressive second novel that will captivate young readers at upper primary level and beyond.