Customer Reviews

26
4.4 out of 5 stars
Liar and Spy
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2013
It's nice - oh so nice! - to have Rebecca Stead back again. You feel as if you've just gone down a block or two from her last outing to encounter another group of kids having an adventure and struggling with the vagaries of school and family life. Not so much the Big as the Little Apple. In this case our protagonist is Georges (silent 's'), coping with living in a smaller apartment, a nurse mother who is on double shifts, a caring but unemployed father, school bullies and a nascent friendship with the weirdly monikered 'Safe' his sister 'Candy' - oh and their brother 'Pigeon'. Georges becomes inculcated into becoming a trainee spy for Safer, spying on the mysterious man in black in the apartment, as well as struggling with the forthcoming school science taste test.
There are some really nice ideas in this book, particularly about phonetics and the nature of perception, and a book aimed at young people that can name check another couple of Georges, the pontillist painter Seurat and the President George Washington is clearly not dumbing down. And yet Stead keeps it all so readable, and drily witty, full of one liners. It's as if Woody Allen had (in his heyday) embarked on a career as a children's writer, the restults might have looked somemthing like this.
As in her previous book 'When You Reach Me' the chapters are very short and dialogue heavy but her themes are large and universal. If it's perhaps not quite as captivating or complicated a plot as 'WYRM' its ultimately a moving read, a testatment to young friendships. No longer quite the new kid on the block Rebecca Stead has marked out her own territory - and she's here to stay.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2013
Rebecca Stead's book kept my two boys (8 and 6) riveted night after night as I read it for their bedtime story. It wasn't only them - I looked forward to each new chapter just as much. It's a story about real kids, real life, real families and the fantasies they weave to help them all cope. A beautiful, warm story - and a future classic for sure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2014
I bought this for my 8 year old, but read it first to make sure it didn't have any too grown themes. I couldn't put it down. What a great book, beautifully written. The teacher Ms Warner was my favourite character. I hope my children have a grown up like her at their school.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2014
This is a book that ticks all the boxes that adults think children should read about. Unfortunately, the young readers I know in our Carnegie group were underwhelmed as it lacks the main essential: a clear and compelling narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2014
This is a superb book and is a contemporary 'Stig of the Dump'. It prepares children to judge the unknown; helps them prevent victimisation; teaches them to become a leader and help others of the same age or around that. It also helps children learn that traumatic family situations can be managed. I loved it and was very sorry to finish reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2014
Daughter reads heaps. They are reading this at the school Book Club, so it was chosen by a teacher, and they love it.
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on 28 May 2014
I was asked to read this book as part of a book club at university and I have fell in love with this book! I never leave reviews on amazon but felt compelled to on this occasion. The story has so many twist and turns that everything I thought would happen didn't. The characters are so charming and at times relatable to children that I feel they could make a connection with the book. I won't spoil the story for anyone else as you simply have to read it whether you are 11 or 81!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A really good end-of-primary book. Would have lapped this up aged 10-12.
Loved the understated feel of the bullying plot, the scrabble messages between mother and son, the storyline with Safer who isn't all he seems.
Preferred When You Reach Me as a mature and beautiful piece of fiction. But this is a thoughtful and non-patronising entry for younger readers.
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on 9 July 2014
I wouldn't normally go for a book like this however it was recommended to me by a friend and I have to say this book is great! It is about a boy who is managing several problems in life such as bullying and how he also joins a spy club and looks out for somebody called Mr X. It is a great book.
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What a great book - I should read more children's books. t had the same feeling as 'The Curious Incident of the dog in the night' about it. Knew something was going to come out - just didn't know what. Really worth reading.
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