When Georges moves into a new apartment building, he meets Safer -- a kid his age running a spy club. Georges needs new friends pretty desperately, so although Safer is a bit quirky (and intimidating), the pair become friends and take on the mission of spying on one of their neighbors, convinced Mr. X is doing something scary and illegal in his apartment.
As the club gets more intense, Safer becomes more demanding of Georges and acts in a way that makes Georges not want to be his friend any longer. He isn't sure what to do and slowly becomes unsure of what is truth and what is a lie.
Though the story sounds incredibly simple, it is actually quite complex. There's bullying, dealing with absent parents, having to move from a beloved house to a small apartment, parents losing jobs, and other very heavy topics. All of these issues are blended seamlessly into a story that is totally appropriate for a kid to read and may even open their eyes to friends that may be dealing with some of the same things. Plus, there's a spy club and that's just cool.
Rebecca Stead is an amazing writer and the narrator of this audiobook, Jesse Bernstein, did a great job (except for Safer's voice...that was a little weird). The tension was in all the right places and I was able to always be aware that it was a kid he was voicing, without it actually being a little kid's voice. Know what I mean? It was done very well.
Though I wasn't quite as enamored with When You Reach Me as the rest of you, I loved Liar & Spy and I think it could be a big winner this year when award season comes around. Two thumbs up!
Liar & Spy