Liar and Spy
by Rebecca Stead
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?
I love Rebecca Stead's books. Though this one is very different from When You Reach Me, it still has the same ability to slowly unfold a much deeper story than expected. Stead draws readers into a world where a boy is trying to adjust to a new home...but as you read, you realize a LOT more is going on than first showed on the surface.
The layers that slowly peeled away to reveal the underlying issues were masterfully done. It wasn't until just before Georges would address or discover an issue that I would suspect the very thing about to happen. Scenes, word choices, character motivations were all carefully written so that none of these things were evident straight on. Amazing.
I also have to mention how wonderful each of the characters in this book are... not just the kids, but also the parents. They each have little quirks that bring them to life and the way that they interact with one another was wonderful. This is also a great book for modeling families that truly work and support one another. So nice to see in today's world.
A short, sweet, and satisfying read.