Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
When seventh-grader Georges and his family move into a new apartment building in Brooklyn, N.Y., he meets 12-year-old Safer, who recruits him to join her spy squad in an attempt to gather intelligence about Mr. X, a man who resides in an upstairs suite. As Georges, narrator Jesse Bernstein is youthful yet wise: a child who's suffered more than his fair share of life. As Safer, Bernstein is darker, sounding like a troubled youth who is ready to control any situation. Of course, there's more than meets the eye in Stead's novel, and Bernstein's understated performance leaves room for interpretation. Listeners will be charmed by this memorable listen and Bernstein's rendition of two unusual and endlessly interesting characters. Ages 8-up. A Wendy Lamb hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A seventh-grade boy who is coping with social and economic issues moves into a new apartment building, where he makes friends with an over-imaginative home-schooled boy and his eccentric family. Social rules are meant to be broken is the theme of this big-hearted, delightfully quirky tale, and in keeping with that, Stead creates a world where nothing is as it seems. Yet the surprises are meticulously foreshadowed, so when the pieces of the puzzle finally click in, the readers' "aha" moments are filled with profound satisfaction. When an economic downturn forces Georges' family to move out of their house and into an apartment, it brings Georges into contact with Safer, a home-schooled boy about the same age, and his unconventional but endearing family--and a mystery involving their possibly evil neighbor, Mr. X. At school, Georges must grapple with another type of mystery: why his oncebest friend Jason "shrugged off" their lifelong friendship and suddenly no longer sits with him at lunch. Instead, Jason now sits at the cool table, which is controlled by a bully named Dallas, who delights in tormenting Georges. It would be unfair to give anything away, but suffice it to say that Georges resolves his various issues in a way that's both ingenious and organic to the story. Original and winning. (Fiction. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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