Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jake and Lily

I'm always on the lookout for fun and new sibling stories which is why I snapped up Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli as soon as my library. Not only are Jake and Lily siblings, but twins, and the book switches between their perspectives.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
This is a story about me, Lily.
And me, Jake.
We're twins and we're exactly alike.
Not exactly!
Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me.
Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood.
Right. So anyway, this is a book about
goobers and supergors
true friends

things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt
and about figuring out who we are.
We wrote this together
(sort of)
so you'll get to see both sides of our story.
But you'll probably agree with my side.
You always have to have the last word, don't you?

Jake and Lily are different, whether Lily wants to do admit it or not. Jake is organized and doesn't like to get in trouble. Lily is temperamental and is often in trouble. They do have a special connection to each other that they have only told one other person about. Every year on their birthday, they both have the same dream and sleep walk to the train station where they wake up. They can often read each other's thoughts and sense each other from large distances. I wondered at this element since it seems so terribly stereotypical, almost fable like, something everyone believes twins can do, but how many can? Despite this there is a really good story here of family, friendship, and the ties that bind people.

Jake and Lily have very distinct voices. Lily is dramatic, Jake anything but. Jake wants his own room, Lily is horrified by the idea. Lily thrives on her twinhood, Jake...not so much. When Jake starts spending time with other people he has good reasons for it, but it tears Lily apart.
Jake: What does she want? Does she want me to spend my whole life with nobody but her? Oh look, there's Jake and Lily. They're seventy-nine years old and they still play poker and ride bikes together. They still play poker and ride bikes together. They still hear each other five miles away. Still sleep in the same bedroom. You can't tear them apart. Aren't they adorable? Twinny-twin twins.
Lily: Jake looks like he's having the time of his life, and I'm not a part of it. Things were great for a while, after we shared the snow fort bruise. That got him off the we're-different kick. But now it's back, worse than ever. Some of me is stunned. Shocked. Like I've been walloped by a two-by-four. The rest of me is sad. My heart hurts.

Jake has a point, they need to be with other people. But Lily has one too, because Jake is experimenting with punkhood and there were times I wanted to smack him upside the head.  Yet I definitely had a preference for Jake. His voice seemed more genuine to me and far preferred his struggle to Lily's, though it too was very real.  They are both endearing characters, as are the host of supporting characters that come with them.

This is a solid realistic fiction book that would appeal to both boys and girls.


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