Stead, R. (2012). Liar & spy. New York: W. Lamb Books.
Seventh grader Georges has moved from a house he loves into an apartment he’s not too thrilled about. He moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy, who ropes him into some activities he doesn’t feel good about. 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? Georges has to learn to stand up to Safer and say no. Meanwhile, he also learns to make a stand against the kids who pick on him at school.
Commentary and Text Connections:
The message in this story is subtle, and it’s just as valuable for grown-ups as it is for kids. What Georges learns is that sometimes when people lie and misrepresent themselves, they do it out of fear and shame, not because they are bad people. And sometimes we lie to ourselves for the same reasons. The truth is just too scary or painful. If we let the truth come out, we just might find that people want to help us, not reject us. This realistic fiction book is suitable for middle-grade readers of both sexes.