This is a story that tries to honestly deal with the idea of bullying...what it really looks like and how the victim feels, without making it melodramatic. This kid, Georges, had the deck stacked against him because of his name (after Seurat) but he had some pretty strong familial support and a good friend until the summer before the book starts hits. During that summer, his dad lost his job, meaning his mom has to pick up many extra shifts, making her pretty out of the picture and his dad trying to pick up the pieces. Because of the loss of income, they have to sell their house and move into an apartment. Also during that summer, his best friend went off to camp and came back cooler. School started and his friend Jason sat with the cool kids, the same ones that tease Georges consistently. All of this is the backstory. Once they move, it is mostly Georges and his dad, eating out, unpacking. Georges meets a kid in his building and they begin a spy club. The other kid, Safer, lives in another apartment and is homeschooled. Safer tells Georges about Mr. X who wears all black and is generally suspicious. This is a story about how they begin to forge a friendship through the act of spying and Georges begins to figure out life without his mom around and managing the bullies at school, and both Safer and Georges finally face what really scares them. This story has a genuine voice that seems to capture the voice of a middle schooler.
A NY Times bestseller. grades 5-8