Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Club Discusses Liar & Spy

Yesterday the Middle School Book Club met to discuss Rebecca Stead's newest novel Liar & Spy.  Though some of our members were disappointed with the ending, all eleven participants agreed that the novel is outstanding. We had a very thoughtful discussion about friendship, bullying, secrets, and lying.

In Liar & Spy, Georges moves into a new apartment building in Brooklyn when his father loses his job.  Georges is not too happy about having to adjust to living in a new neighborhood and to his mother working double shifts as a nurse.  To make matter worse, he has to deal with some pretty annoying bullies at school.  Life get more interesting when Georges meets Safer, a coffee-drinking, home schooled boy who lives in his new building.  Safer enlists Georges to help him spy on Mr. X, a mysterious man who wears all black and enters their building at strange hours carrying big bags.  Safer thinks Mr. X is up to something nefarious and is willing to break into his apartment to uncover information about this man.  Georges thinks Safer might be a little crazy.  How far is Georges willing to go to support Safer's farfetched ideas?  Liar & Spy shows that sometimes people tell lies not because they are bad people but because the truth is too difficult to face.

I highly recommend Liar & Spy for a 4th through 6th grade book club.  I came up with the discussion questions for this club meeting with the help of the great website Sweet on Books.

• Was there a character that who really liked or would want to be friends with?
• Why does Safer spend so much time in his apartment?
• Is Safer a good friend to Georges?
• Why was Georges so angry with Safer about Mr. X?
• Why did Georges come to Safer's rescue? What would you have done in that situation?
• Were you surprised to learn where Georges' mom had been or did you have any clues?
• Is the type of bullying experienced by Georges similar to what goes on in our school? In what ways?
• If you could choose your own name, what would you pick? How would it reflect your personality?
• Did you find any of the informational facts (taste, parrots, Seurat, Benjamin Franklin spelling) interesting?  Did they add to the story?

Our tentative plan for next book club is to discuss A Tale Dark and Grimm in December.

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