Top critical review
More Friendship Story Than Mystery
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2013
Liar & Spy looks like and begins like a simple realistic fiction story, but it is very complex and deals with some pretty deep themes. Rebecca Stead has a gift for creating events that are much more than they seem, characters that are more than they seem, and subtle themes that are important to middle grade readers. When Georges moves into an apartment building, his first friend is an odd boy his age named Safer. Georges is not sure what to make of the pushy, stubborn Safer, but since he has only one option for a close-by friend, he tries to overlook Safer's peculiarities and focus on Safer's confidence and sense of adventure - - Qualities Georges lacks, but admires. In less than 200 pages, Stead has the reader thinking about ways to deal with: change, awkward friendships, fear and bullying. Through Georges, Safer, and Safer's little sister, Candy, readers will do some pretty intense reflecting and hopefully gain some insight into how to be more confident. Stead also creates an original storyline with just enough suspense and humor to keep even the most reluctant reader engaged.