A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jake and Lily presents a realistic view of twins struggling to establish their own individual identities. Jake's friends pretend to befriend a boy so that they can make fun of him behind his back, and later Jake's friend takes the bullying to the next level by destroying the boy's property. Lily deals with feeling abandoned by her twin and accepting that their relationship is changing, and both twins spend time talking to their grandfather about how how difficult it was for him to accept his wife's death.
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What's the story?
In Newbery Award-winner Jerry Spinelli's JAKE AND LILY, the title characters are twins with a mystical bond: Every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk and wake up in the middle of the night at the train station without knowing how they got there; they can never play hide and seek because each can sense where the other is; without being told, they know when something is wrong with the other. But the summer they turn 11, all that changes. Jake wants to hang out with his friends, but Lily still wants to hang out with Jake. Jake doesn't see what the big deal is; Lily can't understand how Jake can abandon their close relationship so easily. In alternating chapters -- and occasionally alternating sentences -- each twin narrates the events of the summer that lead them to realize nothing can ever stay the same, and that's OK.
Is it any good?
Jake and Lily have strong, distinct personalities that come across clearly on the page, and the story of their magical twin bond will intrigue many readers. Although Lily's fixation on why her relationship with her brother can't stay the same grows somewhat tiresome, it's realistic and all the more gratifying when she finally sees a way out of her doldrums. Jake's narration tends to be the more lighthearted and fun, with a thoughtful undertone that he seems unaware of. Though the story starts out short on action, it picks up toward the end, and the alternating narration and often short chapters make it a quick, entertaining read.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how friendships and relationships with siblings can change. Has this happened in your life? How did you dealt with it?
Have you ever read a story about twins? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a twin? What would be the upside and the downside?
Is there anything in nature that you like to look at, or a place you like to go, that brings you comfort, the way looking at the stars comforts Poppy and makes him feel peaceful?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love family stories
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