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Liar and Spy

Written by Rebecca Stead

Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on Liar and Spy

Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 & Winner of the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

September 2013 Book of the Month   Award-winning Rebecca Steed tells a wonderfully touching story with great sensitivity within an exciting and dramatic adventure. Georges (his unusual name is part of his problem) has just moved to a new apartment block and he immediately gets caught up in a game with Safer, a boy who lives on another floor. Safer’s spying game seems fun and his family, sister Candy and brother Pigeon provide an interesting and supportive alternative home for Georges while things in his own family are out of kilter. But then Georges begins to have his doubts… Gradually everything he has been protecting himself from spins out of control and the reader discovers the sad truth he has been hiding himself from. A very special story that is not to be missed.

The Guardian children's fiction prize was founded in 1967. It is awarded annually to fiction written for children aged eight and above, and is the only children's fiction award selected by fellow writers.

The judging panel was chaired by our very own reviewer, Julia Eccleshare, who said "Liar & Spy is an incredibly sensitive book. Its central characters are all children who have complexities in their lives which they are dealing with.  It's a novel about how children have to navigate the world, and it has an open-handedness which means that readers may be surprised as to where it finishes.  It's always interesting in children's fiction to see what's coming from the US, and it's appropriate that this Newbery-winning author be highly regarded in the UK too.  It is a quiet book, but although the drama is finely-tuned, the overall impact is powerful, moving and surprising."
It was a long and well-argued debate on the essence of what a good children's book is. Individual judges had different views but collectively we thought this novel told the story in the most interesting and original way."


reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Liar and Spy a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Emotional, funny and complex Liar and Spy is a beautiful book, perfect for all age groups'

Scroll down to read more reviews...


Liar and Spy Synopsis

Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He's having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time - and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing - Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X in the apartment above Georges. But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.

Liar and Spy Press Reviews

Safiyah Afghan, age 15 Emotional, funny and complex 'Liar and Spy' is a beautiful book, perfect for all age groups and for readers looking for a deep, exploratory read. Click here to read the full review.

Dylan Sweet  I like this book because it has humour, exciting moments – for example when Georges meets Mr X – and scary moments...I would rate it five stars. It is a great book and you should read it! Click here to read the full review.

Joshua Henriksen, age 10  I really enjoyed this book and think other kids aged 10 and up will enjoy this alsoClick here to read the full review.
William Sheehan, age 8 
I love all of the characters in this book and I would recommend it to anyone from 10-100!!  Rebecca Stead is a really good writer and I look forward to another one of her books.  Click here to read the full review.

Benjy Randall, age 9 
Rebecca Stead is a brilliant author with a fun and creative style of writing. I really loved this book and didn’t want it to end. My favourite part was when they spied on Mr X. Spy thriller for 9+.  Click here to read the full review.

Lucy Minton, age 10 It kept me on the edge of my seat and always wanting more. Click here to read the full review.

Jenny Duffy, age 20  With references to a Seurat painting, and messages written in Scrabble tiles, I couldn't help but love this book! Click here to read the full review.

Sam Harper, age 9  I have never read a book like 'Liar and Spy' before, it was strange and exciting at the same time.  A fantastic, brilliantly written book.  A must-read! Click here to read the full review.


Media reviews of Liar and Spy

A joy to read. -- Nicholas Tucker Independent, Best Books of the Year 2012

Rebecca Stead makes writing this well look easy. -- Philip Ardagh, Guardian

A skilful tale ... Despite its light touch, it contains important themes about the truths we tell ourselves. -- Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times

The boys learn from their friendship with each other, and Stead's readers will grow from knowing them, too. -- Daniel Hahn, Independent on Sunday, Best Books of the Year

Exactly what I would have wanted to read in my early teens. It feels sophisticated and clever and knowing without being too grown-up and dark. -- Viv Groskop Observer

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783449606
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781849395427
Publication date: 08/08/2013
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781849395076
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781849395076
Publication date: 4th October 2012
Author: Rebecca Stead
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 208 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Recommendations: eBooks
Other Categories: All Shortlists and Winners

About Rebecca Stead

Rebecca Stead is an American author who writes books for children and young adults. She won the 2010 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature for her second novel, When You Reach Me.Stead enjoyed writing as a child, but as she grew older she felt it was 'impractical' and became a lawyer instead. After years as a public defender she returned to writing after the birth of her two children. On her website she credits her son with inspiring her to write a children's novel, but not in the way one would expect. For years she had ...

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