10 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Liar & Spy

2¢ Worth: I didn't love Liar & Spy. I'm thinking it's because I was expecting a mystery. In my brain it was going to be a spy boy version of When You Reach Me. Then as I was reading I kept seeing similarities to Rear Window and I pumped myself up. Don't do what I did. Judge this one on it's own merits. The only real similarity to When You Reach Me is in Rebecca Stead's ability to create a story that brings interesting characters, with real fears, full circle and manages to wrap it all with an aha missing-puzzle-piece-falling-into-place ending. So while I didn't love it, don't hold that against this book. I urge you to try it for yourself and not let my review stop you. My advice is to go into Liar & Spy expecting a Middle-Grade contemporary about friendship. Leave your expectations at the cover.

Whispers: The messages seemed to be:
  • Fear is OK but you have to face it
  • Remember to keep things in perspective
  • Sometimes you're real friends will be the people you least expected
Whippersnappers: Clean with a clear sense of right and wrong. The only bad thing I can even think of is there is a minor mention to a possible murder.

Words aloud: This was my first time listening to Jesse Bernstein. He's great. Very crisp, easy to listen to, and perfect for portraying younger males. He has a young Matthew Broderick quality to his voice that makes me want to call him Ferris.

Wind-up: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (published by Listening Library) is read by Jesse Bernstein and consists of 4 discs (4 hours and 41 minutes). Audiobook Rating: 3 stars. Narrator Rating: 4 stars.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

64 comments :

  1. I'll have to add this to my audible wish list. I haven't read anything by Rebecca Stead yet so maybe I'll love it.

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  2. It seems that people who loved When You Reach Me don't love this one, but those who weren't crazy about When You Reach Me love this one. I haven't read either book yet to know where I'll stand.

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    1. Funny observation! I bet you're right! :)

      I had no idea there were people who didn't love When You Reach Me. ;)

      Thanks for sharing what you've heard.

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  3. Good review - I am planning on reading this one with my middle-schooler and it is good to know that I shouldn't expect one thing for another.

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    1. Oh cool :) Glad I could help. Have you read When You Reach Me?

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  4. I'll probably pick this book up at some point... however, not while my TBR pile is leaning to the side...

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  5. I've always enjoyed all your posts and it's so lovely to see you're doing audiobook reviews as well!

    XXO, Formerly Tipsy

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    1. Senator is it true? Are you Tipsy Reader? OMG!!! Hello darling! :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Well...good characters are an important part of the read...but from the title I was expecting a mystery, too (plus, binoculars on the cover...yep I've judged a book by it's cover).

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  7. I really like books with lessons, especially MG fiction. I've read a lot of those this year. I've not read When You Reach Me or the other book Rear Window, so I have nothing to compare it to. Maybe I'll like it then huh?

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    1. Me too :)

      Rear Window is actually an old 1954 Hitchcock movie about a guy (bound to his apartment by his new wheelchair) who starts spying on his neighbors and believes he's found a murder.

      And perfect!
      No comparing to be done.
      You should definitely like it.
      :)
      And keep your eyes peeled for Candy.
      She was my favorite character.

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  8. This was a great review! Books with lessons are the best!

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  9. Ah yes....the fatal blow can be setting expectations one way and the read turning out to be something TOTALLY different. Nonetheless, it still sounds like you enjoyed yourself so not all was lost!

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  10. Ahhh, expectations can be a killer! But at leas it still seemed to be an okay story. Great that the narrator was on point in this one.

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    1. Right? I try to never have them but I sooo fell into the trap. :)

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  11. Ah..this is why I sometimes don't even read blurbs before starting books...expectations can kill it!

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    1. Oddly enough, I think if I had read the blurbs it might of steered me in the right direction. Weird I know. ;) And yes they can.

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  12. Thank you for a lovely honest review...I just won't have to rush to read this!

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  13. I like middle grade books & this one sounds nice. & I do like my aha moments. :)

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    1. Me too :) I love when everything slides into place.

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  14. I wasn't too crazy about When You Reach Me, so I didn't even have this book on my radar. I should probably get a copy for my classroom library though, because I have a feeling my 7th graders might like it. Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. Reallly?
      Well then perhaps (as Bermuda pointed out) you will like this one.
      :)

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  15. Might have to get this one from the library.

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  16. Interesting! I see mystery and Rear Window too. I never would have guessed that it's not a mystery from the cover.

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  17. I loved "When You Reach Me" and didn't enjoy this one as much, either. But I think I was expecting it to blow me away like "WYRM" did. IMHO it was decent, just not great.

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    1. You too? Ok :) Good. *hug* Thanks for letting me know. It always feels good when someone can relate.

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  18. I've been wondering if I should pick this up - I was a little put off by the summary when I first read it. I'm still hesitant... maybe the idea will grow on me?

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    1. Given your love for Middle Grade, I do think you should try it. :) Maybe get it from the library first?

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  19. My son read WHEN YOU REACH ME and loved it. I, alas, haven't touched it yet. I should recommend this to him with your cautions and see what he thinks. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

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    1. Oh that would be awesome. Let me know. I bet he'll love it.

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  20. Your review definitely didn't deter me; in fact, I think I'll enjoy this book MORE now that I have your cautions in mind. I'll go into it with a completely open mind and try to forget how much I loved When You Reach Me. Waiting for it from the library...

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    1. Yes!!!! That's what I like to hear. I can't wait for your review.

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  21. Oh, too bad. I'm really bad for comparing the book I'm reading to others I have read and it's really frustrating and hard to stop it, so I can understand. Judging each book on its own merits is definitely good advice for when reading all books.

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    1. Thanks doll :) It's good to hear I'm not the only one.

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  22. It's hard to keep yourself from expecting, isn't it? Funny, because I just read a great blog post on Kristin Cashore's blog about the exact same thing (the post is a couple weeks old, but I'm behind :). I don't blame you, though, I would expect a mystery even just looking at the cover.

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  23. I'm sorry you were disappointed. :( Looking at the cover it looks more like a book version of the old movie Toy Soldiers.

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  24. I actually just read When You Reach Me a few weeks ago and was impressed, so I think I'll still give this one a try! It's good to know I shouldn't come in with too many expectations or comparisons to Stead's first work.

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    1. Right? I love that book. Yay! So glad to hear and so glad I could warn you about any possible expectations. :)

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  25. Thanks for the tip. I try to keep from going into books with any kind of expectation, but I can't seem to help myself.

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  26. Hmmm... not sure about this one. I want it to be a mystery. I really do.

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  27. Sounds cute and thanks for the tip about it being a Middle Grade vibe. Good to know :)

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  28. "a Middle-Grade contemporary about friendship" - I honestly wouldn't expect that from the title and cover! It does seem much more like a mystery...

    Nice review :)

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    1. Right? That's why I had to make sure to steer you gals the right way.

      Thanks :)

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  29. I haven't read her other book you mentioned, but now I think I'll look it up! :) Glad you mentioned it.

    I actually loved this book. I even did a review about it in my own blog! :)

    But thanks for the review! I always enjoy visiting your site because it's so darn cute :))

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    1. Yay! Good luck. I loved it.

      Right on :) I must look that up.

      And thank you thank you :)

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    2. BTW, I reallly liked your review.
      I had a problem commenting but I wanted to tell you that.
      You brought up some great points. :)

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