by Rebecca Stead
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Seventh-grader Georges and his dad find a flier for a Spy Club in their new apartment building and his dad signs him up, setting the wheels in motion for Georges’ friendship with a homeschooled kid in his building named Safer who likes to spy on the other tenants. Safer’s family is not mainstream, which Georges navigates with grace. The first part of the book is all about the spy club, and the second part gets more into Georges and Safer and what is going on in each of their lives. They end up doing that thing that good friends do, which is encouraging each other to face (and overcome) their challenges.
I am a big fan of Stead’s novel When You Reach Me, and this one did not disappoint. Significantly less fantasy than the first, it nonetheless had elements of mystery and a twist/reveal at the end, though it was more about the characters than the plot. Very artfully done. I loved the relationships that Georges has with his parents and I also liked that little facts were snuck into the plot about obscure things, like painter Georges Seurat (his namesake) and taste buds. The insertion of little facts reminded me of Wendy Mass’s books (particularly A Mango-Shaped Space and Every Soul a Star).