This is why I read books
I get excited about New York City, anyway, but some authors really know how to work it. Rebecca Stead's Newbery Medal-winning book When You Reach Me primarily takes place on Manhattan's Upper West Side. What a surprising book that is. It melds mystery and time travel and living in Manhattan in the 1970s with perfection. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Stead's new book takes us to a different borough. Liar & Spy is set in Brooklyn in what is presumably the current day. The neighborhood details and attention to local characters woo me. I just cannot get enough. The action takes place during the school year, possibly half a school year, in a space of one square mile. The local pizza place, the Chinese restaurant, the candy store, the school, the apartment building, the bird's nest across the street - I'm there. But I don't really know where I'm going.
We're following the main character, a seventh-grader named Georges, who has recently moved from a house into an apartment building a few blocks away. His dad recently lost his job as an architect and his mom is working extra hours at the hospital to help out. Georges makes friends with some kids living in his building when he unwittingly joins their "Spy Club." Georges and his friends are spying on their neighbors while we, as readers, are spying on them.
Things are stressful and not what they seem at home for Georges, and we come to find out, not what they seem with the "Spy Club" either. Add in all the keen local details and several big surprises and you've got yourself a perfect story. This is why I read books.