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Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

September 9, 2012 Comments off

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Pub. Yext Publishing, 2012. 

This novel by Newbery Medal winning author asks the very important question of “how far will you go for a friend”.

When Georges’ parents fall on hard times they sell their house and move into a Brooklyn apartment. The new apartment is nothing like his old house but it has a painting by Seurat on the wall and this gives george some comfort. What georges really wants is a friend and this can be a dickie business.

Georges finds a 12 year old boy called Safer who sees intrigue around every corner and is particularly interested in a man he calls Mr X who he suspects of all sorts of goings on. Georges becomes inveigled into Safer’s world and his family and all sorts of spy shenanigans go on.

But Georges is being led a merry dance, read this novel and find out why.

Beautifully written with a superb array of characters.

For middle school and intermediate students but if you like good literature it will appael to everybody.

The Ring of Five Book 1. by Eoin McNamee

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The Ring of Five by Eoin McNamee. Pub. Quercus, 2010.

Danny is a strange looking boy with one blue eye one brown eye, a triangular face and  pointed ears and chin. He is bullied at school and ignored by his parents and he doesn’t know it, but he looks like a Cherb, the enemy of the world that he is about to enter.

His parents decide to send him to boarding school but instead he is picked up by a strange taxi driver and crosses over into a world  that is an island between warring factions. A war  in which evil forces led by the Ring of Five, threaten the forces of good.

Danny is sent to Wilson’s school for spies and he finds out that it is a school for which his talents are well suited, he just needs specialised training and experience. At Wilsons he meets friends Dixie, Vandra and Les who have special skills of their own, and is supported by a powerful headmaster, Brunholm, and others.

Danny doesn’t realise that because of his appearance he has a special role to play as a spy who must infiltrate the Ring of Five and stop them and their evil ways. He doesn’t do it all in this book because it is the first part of a trilogy, the next part The Navigator will be out later this year.

Eoin McNamee knows his fantasy and the experieced reader will see parallels with other fantasy series but there is nothing wrong with that. Harry Potter fans will like this book although the evil forces are not as forbidding is in the latter series. Evil does have its victories but you never feel that good is going to lose.

Suitable for fantasy readers from years 5/6 and 7/8 even junior High school. Get out and read it and watch out for the sequels.