cover image Jake and Lily

Jake and Lily

Jerry Spinelli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $15.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-028135-9

Spinelli (Wringer) adroitly balances emotional tension with introspective moments in this smart and funny story about a pair of twins growing apart. For almost as long as they can remember, Jake and Lily have shared a “special sense,” which they call “goombla.” Each knows what the other is thinking and if the other is in trouble. But their bond seems to be weakening as, at age 11, Jake starts spending more time with new friends than with Lily; upset and rejected, Lily has no one to confide in except her ex-hippie grandfather. Lily tries to find out who she is without her brother, but it’s hard work, and most of her attempts are unsuccessful. Her feeling of abandonment is as sharply felt as Jake’s need to test his independence. Though the twins eventually rediscover their “goombla” (“You can turn your back on it. Ignore it. Forget it. But it’s still here,” reminds their grandfather), Spinelli doesn’t suggest that the two will go back to being the people they once were; rather, he celebrates each child’s individualism and growing self-awareness. Ages 8–12. (May)