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Title: Jake and Lily
Author: Jerry Spinelli (link)
Pub Date: May 2012
Synopsis: Jake and Lily are twins. Even though they seem pretty different—Jake is the calm one and Lily has a temper; Lily is obsessed with trains and Jake collects cool rocks—they feel exactly the same, almost like two halves of one person. And they can communicate without words.
But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it’s time for separate bedrooms, and Jake starts hanging out with a group of boys on the block. Lily is devastated—not to mention really, really mad. And as she struggles to make friends and get a life apart from her twin, Jake finds himself dealing with a neighborhood bully and has to decide what kind of person he really is.
First Line: I'm Jake Wambold. I'm Lily Wambold.
This spring I won a copy of Jake and Lily from the lovely Joanne Fritz. It's a fantastic book by Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli that's written in the dual perspective of twins Jake and Lily. Like Maniac Magee, the voice is phenomenal and the characters inspire readers to be a little kinder. Just because.
Bullies From the Middle Perspective: Many children find themselves in the confusing space between bullies and bully targets. There are no hard and fast rules on whether you're supposed to laugh along or be brave and stand up for someone on the playground. Spinelli spins a complex story around Jake that puts him in the middle of a social war zone when his group singles out the new kid in town. In the grand tradition of finding a common enemy, the new kid is labeled a "goober." And the rules of how to treat goobers, and better yet, "super goobers" challenges the better judgment Jake and his friends.
Why You'll Love Lily. And Jake, too: First, Lily. She's an unapologetic tomboy who doesn't fall into the 'girls stink so let's act like dudes' stereotype. Readers will fall for Lily as she tries to figure out what to do with her surly self now that her brother has moved on to a new gang of friends. And speaking of said brother... Jake gets a little caught up in pack mentality. But the way he finds his way out will inspire.
Want to find more marvelous middle grade books? Here's a list of MMGM bloggers with more recommendations!