Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking for Newbery (2013 style) - Liar and Spy

Ever since I read When You Reach Me, I have been a huge Rebecca Stead fan.  That book caught me off-guard with all its subtle plot twists and turns that led me to gasp toward the end.  What an amazing storyteller Stead is.  So when I had an opportunity to read an ARC of her latest book, Liar and Spy, earlier this year, I jumped on it and I remember really, really liking it. 

Here's a small snippet of what I had to say about this book after first reading it in July:

"Like When You Reach Me, things aren't always what they seem and I don't want to ruin that for anyone. I will share my favorite two sentences from the book, though:
'It means you're not alone. No matter what.'
Powerful stuff!!"

As this title has been one mentioned on several Mock Newbery lists, I decided it was time to reread Liar and Spy over holiday break since I read it so quickly my first time through.  Doing that quick read, I've been known to miss important plot devices. This time I read more slowly and thoughtfully.  Knowing the ending already also allowed me to focus on the surprise plot twists and turns, and see things a little more clearly.

I loved this book the first time, but loved it even more the 2nd time. The plot and the characters are so well developed, but I didn't fully appreciate that in the first read.  I have read on some of the Mock Newbery blogs that theme is one of the many things on which the Newbery panel will focus.  This book has several themes and all of them quite important.  Empathy, staying true to who you are, the importance of friendship, friendship issues, how we deal with difficult situations, and more -- all themes that Stead delves into.

Stead is a master of her craft, and while When You Reach Me might be one of my all-time favorite books, Liar and Spy is another well-crafted book as well.  No matter what happens on Jan. 28, this book will have an important place in my classroom!

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading this book last night and LOVED it. You're right...just like When You Reach Me, things are not as they seemed. I ordered it for my classroom library and can't wait to get it into kids' hands.