Georges and his family have to move from their Brooklyn house to an apartment, which when coupled with bullies at school is a really big deal. Plus, since his dad lost his job, Georges mom has to work a lot of double shifts at the hospital, and his name is Georges, pronounced George, but most people don't understand that.
Then, on the first day at his new apartment, he sees a sign that says, Spy Club Meeting Today. That's where he meets Safer, the unusual kid from upstairs and learns about his first assignment: to spy on Mr. X, the man dressed all in black from the 4th floor who mysteriously walks around with suitcases all the time.
Meanwhile at school, Georges science class is doing the unit of destiny, where a taste test becomes a matter of life, death and love. During this unit, Georges learns more about struggling through bullying and who makes the rules at school.
You already know that I am a big fan of When You Reach Me, so I was very excited to read Liar and Spy. The two books are not very similar, except that there is a strong friendship theme that runs through both. There are a few big questions in this book: Who is the liar and who is the spy and Who makes the rules? Personally, I think that the second question is more important, but the first question makes for some great plot twists.
I greatly enjoyed Liar and Spy and I'm very glad that I bought it. It's just one of those great books that makes you believe in children's literature, and in some ways, the goodness of humanity. I might be over exaggerating, but after a bunch of YA dystopian fiction, that's how I feel.
As for Newbery buzz, yes it will get some buzz because it's Rebecca Stead and former winners always receive buzz. I don't think that this will win though. Not that it's not worthy, but I have a feeling that the committee will go big this year and pick something a little more out there. This book is very reader friendly, though, so I would love to see it on the Caudill list in a couple years. Especially since there is a male protagonist, this will be an easy sell.