Friday 15 June 2012

167. Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
Published May 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
Jake and Lily are twins. Despite their slightly different interests and temperaments, they feel exactly the same-like two halves of one person. But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it's time for separate bedrooms. Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. And Lily is devastated, not to mention angry. Who is she without Jake? And as her brother falls under the influence of the neighborhood bully, he also must ask himself - who is the real Jake? 

Jerry Spinelli is right up there with my favourite American authors, so I was excited to find a new one sitting on the shelf. I didn't even know he had a new book coming out so it was a happy day for me!
Jake and Lily are twins, Jake is he oldest by 11 minutes. From the age of 6, the twins knew that they were different, when they woke up at the train station in their birthday at 3am. They were born on a train, and some mysterious connection brings them to the station every birthday.
They also find that they can do other things, like the time Lily was about to walk into the street in front of a car when Jake yelled STOP, and she did, but he was miles away at the dentist. Or the fact that they can't play hide and seek because they always know where the other one is hiding. They don't tell anyone about this special connection that they call Goombla, it's their secret. 

This story is about the summer they turn 12, the summer where they get separate rooms, and everything changes. Lily is the one who doesn't want anything to change. She is happy sharing a room, and hanging out every day with Jake. Jake is the one who starts spending his days with a group of boys that call themselves the Deathrays. 

The book is told in alternate chapters, each twin telling the story of their summer. Jake's summer starts off fun, but things start to change in the Deathrays, and he starts to question some of their so called harmless antics.  Is he really happy spending time with the local bully?

Lily is the one who is suffering. She has no other friends, she never needed any. So her summer is spent, with the help of her grandfather Poppy, trying to 'get a life'.  She tries stamp collecting, origami and palm reading, but none of these things seem right.  What she needs is someone to spend time with, but how do you go about finding new friends? 

This particular story is about twins, but in some respects it could be about any close friendships. Growing up and getting older means more than just getting taller. Sometimes it means people start to develop new interests and want to try new things, and sometimes both friends don't want to try the same new things. In some cases that might mean the friendship ends, or it could just change and new friends come into the picture. In this book , Jake and Lily are siblings, so they will always be together, but they have to figure out a new kind of normal.

It's a book about growing up, the good and the bad bits.

Who will like this book: Girls and boys age 10+
Read it if you like: Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

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