Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: Jake and Lily

Jake and Lily
By Jerry Spinelli
Expected publication May 8, 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Jake and Lily are twins - and not just that, but they're the special kind. They can sense what the other is thinking and where the other one is and every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk together to the train station (they were born on a train). Lily thinks they're a matched pair, best friends forever. But in their eleventh year, things begin to change.

I spotted this at Midwinter and was very eager to get my hands on it. Spinelli is one of my favorite authors - there is just something about his books that I find magical and exciting. The publisher actually didn't have any extra copies to give out but on the last day, when they tear down all the booths and usually let you take display copies, I was thrilled to see that I could walk away with this one. I couldn't believe it hadn't been snatched up already but lucky me! Anyway, this book had me hooked from the beginning - it's written in simple, straightforward prose, with alternating chapters from each of the twins. It's a great way to tell this story - which is essentially about growing up and becoming your own person - because readers are able to see the issues from both twins' perspectives as well as seeing how each goes about the self-identification process. Though most kids might not relate to the characters (they are super-special twins, after all), I think they will enjoy reading about them for the fact that they are facing the same problems and issues that middle-grade readers are going through - figuring out how to define one's self. This was a very quick read, as most of Spinelli's titles are for me. As an adult, it was pretty easy for me to figure out the major plot points before they occurred, but that didn't make reading them any less enjoyable. There is just something sweet and engaging about Spinelli's books. While I don't think this is as good as Stargirl or Maniac Magee, this is still a very welcome addition to Spinelli's canon. I hope this book is discovered by middle-grade readers searching for their own identities.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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