Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fiction Wednesday - A review of Liar and Spy


There are times when all of us are tempted to ignore or avoid our problems rather than face them. No one wants to suffer the pain that comes with confronting problems. In today's fiction title we meet some young people who take this avoidance strategy to a whole new level, and who thus create a situation that has its own set of problems. 

Rebecca Stead
Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Random House, 2012, 978-0385737432
Not long ago Georges’ father lost his job and Georges and his family had to move out of the house and into an apartment. It was hard for Georges to leave behind his custom bed and the house that was filled with so many good memories, and his father is relieved with Georges starts spending time with a boy called Safer, who lives in the same apartment building.
   Safer claims to be a spy who is keeping tabs on the mysterious Mr. X who lives in an apartment upstairs. Safer is convinced that Mr. X is up to no good, that perhaps he is murdering people and cutting their bodies into pieces in his bathtub. Safer uses the intercom system in the building to spy on people, especially Mr. X, and Georges is appalled when Safer even takes Mr. X’s laundry out of the washing machine so that he can look through all the pockets in the clothes.
   As time goes by, Safer’s demands become more and more bizarre, and Georges starts to feel uncomfortable about Safer’s activities. What makes things even worse is that Georges’ school life is miserable. A boy called Dallas is going out of his way to pick on Georges, making fun of his name and everything else that he can think of. Georges feels so very alone in school, and so very alone at home as well. His mother is working extra shifts at the hospital and his father is so busy that he does not realize that Georges is struggling.
   Then Georges make a discovery about Safer, and his world come crashing down around him. Suddenly what seemed to be real is nothing but an illusion, and Georges has no idea where lies and deceptions end and the truth begins.
   Trying to adjust to big and unexpected changes can be very hard for a young person, especially if he or she has no support system in place. This remarkable book explores the lives of several children who try to deal with their fears by pretending they don’t exist. Their loves converge and the most unexpected thing happens.
   Though there is pain in this story, there is also hope and humor. Readers will be amazed to see how Georges, the boy who keeps his head down and tries to ignore his problems, finally finds himself confronting them.

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