LIAR & SPY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

13262061LIAR & SPY, by Rebecca Stead, has become one of my favorite books on the shelf. The bonds of friendship for past and new friends is explored along with the love two parents have for their son, Georges, the ‘s’ is silent. Told from Georges perspective, it is at times funny, heartwarming, and sad. Best of all, I loved the ending.


WORD COUNT: 38, 293

FULL PLOT (From Amazon): The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of the Newbery Medal book When You Reach Me: a story about spies, games, and friendship. Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old 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: what is a lie, and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend? Like the dazzling When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy will keep readers guessing until the end.


  1. The main character, Georges. He isn’t a super hero or sick with some terrible disease. He doesn’t own a dog that’s run away. Instead he is  a normal boy with a challenging name, who is just trying to understand friends, bullies, teachers, and parents. He could be a kid in anyone’s neighborhood.
  2. SPOILER: It’s refreshing to read a story where no one dies.
  3. A good book has an interesting protagonist. Great books also have memorable secondary characters. Here we have Safer, a strange new friend, his sister, Candy and teachers who really care about their students.
  4. The story is witty, tender, and fun. I loved how a busy mother with a double working shift communicates with her only son: through short messages using Scrabble tiles.
  5. The realistic portrayal of seventh graders. The way they spill their hearts out about certain things but internalize others. The portrait painted here will resonate with many.


I have a strong feeling that I’ve just met two kids who will never make fun of my name.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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7 Responses to LIAR & SPY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Joanne Fritz says:

    Ah, and did you also love the big reveal about the mom?? Those Scrabble tiles were only part of it.

    Okay, I liked this book a lot, but I have to say not as much as WHEN YOU REACH ME, which is one of my all-time favorites. Still, this was fun and gentle and uplifting. But I still want to know whose laundry it was…

  2. I feel the same as Joanne. the book is great, but I loved When You Reach Me more. I’ve felt this way before. After reading an amazing book that has become a favorite, I compare the author’s later titles. I wish I weren’t as nitpicky, because sometimes it makes me enjoy a story less.

  3. That’s a great favourite line: captures the narrator perfectly.

    I don’t know if I liked When You Reach Me better . . . maybe a little. But I really liked Georges.

  4. Pingback: Do Dads Get a Fair Look in MG Books? | Always in the Middle

  5. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

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