Friday, June 28, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

At our kickball game on Monday night, I shared with The Squid that I was able to read 4 books over the course of my vacation the previous week.  This was not one of the books!


I picked this up from my school library before school ended.  My teaching partner had been declaring lots of "Independent Reading" time and I invariably NEVER had a book.  Sure, I had a handful of "Encyclopedia Brown" books in my room, but I teach math and my classroom library is lacking "real" novels.

This book is also a DCF Nominee for next year and I always try to read as many as possible...or at least more than my teaching partner can!

I had happened upon Mrs. Stead's incredible 2009 novel "When You Reach Me" and LOVED it.  I decided to give this a chance.

While not as engaging or compelling for me as "When You Reach Me", the story is strong, none-the-less.  Some of the major themes from "Reach" are here, but it is a switch of genres...yet only subtly so.  Mrs. Stead has a great handle on the trials and tribulations of adolescents, as well as the lengths we all go to in order to protect ourselves and those we love.  There is lots of humor and exploration of friendship and family that ring true.  There is a little bit of a mystery/twist that fits nicely and feels organic.

It is a quick read.  I really don't think it took me more than a total of 90 minutes to finish.


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What's The Cephalopod Coffeehouse all about?  Let's ask The Squid himself!

"The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers."

Click a link below to check things out!

1.The Armchair Squid2.
3.Counterintuitivity4.My Creatively Random Life
5.Scouring Monk6.The Life and Loves of Clare Dugmore
7.Words Incorporated8.The Random Book Review
9.Writer's Block10.Trisha @ WORD STUFF
11.Bird's Nest12.Choice City Native
13.Hungry Enough To Eat Six14.C.M. Brown
15.Subliminal Coffee 

14 comments:

  1. It's funny that no matter how old one gets that the stories of passage from adolescence to adulthood remain pertinent and meaningful.

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    Replies
    1. Nicely put! Another quote I shall steal one day soon!

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  2. I have her book "First Light" on my shelf but never got around to reading it to my kids, which is a shame. She sounds like a great middle-grade author. I will recommend this one to my son but he's pretty fixated on Percy Jackson these days.

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    Replies
    1. If he is a Percy Jackson fan, I might suggest "When You Reach Me" first. It has a few subplots/underpinnings that might appeal to a fantasy fan...

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  3. Always on the look out for good books for the girl, DCF books hold a lot of appeal. They're new. They're geared toward the right age. They've already cleared a bar in terms of meaningful critical review.

    I smiled at the line about trying to read at least as many as your teaching partner.

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    Replies
    1. Older DCF lists are always a goldmine, too! There was a recent year that had soooo many good books...we can look it up at MOCKFest 2013....

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  4. Good writing from that range of books is always a pleasure to find (and hopefully what helps convince a lot of ongoing readers to start in the first place). I've always been impressed with Jerry Spinelli, personally.

    Kickball! That was a whole obsession when I was in grade school.

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    Replies
    1. My teaching partner has had me lead a few small reading groups in the last few years and I almost invariable (inevitably?) get a group reading a Spinelli book. Always a good read!

      I think kickball, golf and broomball are the start of my mid-life crisis!

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  5. I don't know. I love me a good Encyclopedia Brown book, so I may have been tempted to read one of those instead! ; ) But you have got me interested in this one you've chosen, and if it's a quick read, I say why not give it a try!

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree about Encyclopedia Brown, but being the math teacher, I didn't feel I could argue with the ELA teacher!

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  6. Being able to finish four books on vacation sounds like my kind of vacation! Quick reads like that can be fun. I always like to keep a few of those around the house.

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    1. The beach setting helped! It was also our first vacation where both kids were more self-sufficient....which probably helped even more!!

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  7. I tried reading this book and didn't make it all the way. I wondered if I should have started with 'When You Reach Me' from this author first.

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    Replies
    1. I found "When You Reach Me" delightful....it is rare that I will reread a book (at least, intentionally!) but that one is gonna get a yearly visit!

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