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Jake and Lily

Jake and Lily

4.6 160
by Jerry Spinelli

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Beloved Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli, author of Maniac Magee and Wringer, addresses issues of identity, belonging, family, and bullying in this humorous and heartfelt novel about twins. 

Jake and Lily are twins. Despite their slightly different interests and temperaments, they feel exactly the same—like two halves of one person.


Beloved Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli, author of Maniac Magee and Wringer, addresses issues of identity, belonging, family, and bullying in this humorous and heartfelt novel about twins. 

Jake and Lily are twins. Despite their slightly different interests and temperaments, they feel exactly the same—like two halves of one person. But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it’s time for separate bedrooms. Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. And Lily is devastated, not to mention angry. Who is she without Jake? And as her brother falls under the influence of the neighborhood bully, he also must ask himself—who is the real Jake?

This is an often funny, poignant, and profound story of growing up, growing apart, and the difficult process of figuring out who you really are.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“Spinelli is a poet of the prepubescent…Nobody is better than Spinelli when it comes to creating the grade-school world of qualified innocence—and treading a fine line between challenge and reassurance.”
“Each character is portrayed with emotional subtlety and conviction, while their juxtaposed viewpoints bring the energy of opposing forces to the story.”
Horn Book Magazine
“Spinelli’s hallmark issues—individuality, nonconformity, alienation, standing up for the little guy—figure prominently, and the messages are convincingly worked into the story.”
Mary Quattlebaum
Even before the current boom in multiple births, twins loomed large in children's literature, from the duos in popular series such as The Bobbsey Twin and Sweet Valley High to the complexly drawn pair in Jacob Have I Loved… But literary twins—forever friend, doppelganger, double the fun—were rarely explored with nuance in children's novels, especially in terms of the developmental issues faced by most tweens. Until Jerry Spinelli, that is…Jake and Lily…chronicles with humor and compassion the changing relationship between fraternal twins.
—The Washington Post
Richard Peck
Spinelli is a poet of the prepubescent…he points out how the issues of adolescence—identity, conformity, bullying—are clearly seeded in childhood. No writer guides his young characters, and his readers, past these pitfalls and challenges and toward their futures with more compassion…Nobody is better than Spinelli when it comes to creating the grade-school world of qualified innocence—and treading a fine line between challenge and reassurance.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
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)
Children's Literature - Lisa Colozza Cocca
Jake and Lily are twins. Their relationship is special; an "entanglement" as their grandfather, Poppy, describes it. They can finish each other's sentences, feel each other's pain, and even share dreams. Lily calls it "goombla." They do everything together and that is the way Lily likes it. Jake, however, is starting to think more like an individual than half of a set of twins. When summer vacation arrives, he starts to hang out with the Death Rays, a group of boys led by Lily's arch enemy, Bump Stubbins. There is no room in that relationship for Lily, so she feels hurt and deserted. With the guidance and support of Poppy, Lily eventually finds her way to be happy as "Just Lily" instead of half of "Jake and Lily." Jake, who had quickly embraced his journey toward individualism, also overcomes the bumps in the road to his becoming "Just Jake." Spinelli gives readers a satisfying ending by having both Jake and Lily follow their own paths and stay true to themselves while recapturing the close sibling relationship they enjoyed. Chapters alternate between Jake's and Lily's point of view allowing readers to connect closely with both characters. Spinelli tackles loss, bullying, and individualism with grace and humor. Poignant, funny, and smart, this novel is sure to grab both male and female readers. This title is a very worthwhile addition to the shelves. Reviewer: Lisa Colozza Cocca
School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Twins Jake and Lily share an extrasensory connection they call "goombla." When they are apart, they sense if one is in danger; they can't play hide-and-seek because they know where the other is hiding. The most bizarre aspect of their relationship is that since they were six, they have shared the same dream and sleepwalked to the same train station in the middle of the night on their birthday. When they awake, they are holding hands on the train platform. (They had been born minutes apart while riding on a train cross-country.) As their 11th birthday approaches, Jake begins distancing himself from his sister as he meets a group of guys with whom he prefers to hang out. Lily doesn't understand why he no longer wants to be with just her, and she is devastated. She seeks comfort from her grandfather, Poppy, a memorable character in his own right, and he offers his company and wise advice. Spinelli turns the plot smoothly in a new direction as readers meet Jake's friends, one of whom is a neighborhood bully. Bump delights in searching for "goobers," or people he thinks are "different." When they target Ernie, a boy whose indefatigable attitude takes their mean-spirited actions with a smile, things go too far and Jake must decide who he really is and what he stands for. The characters and situations mesh together perfectly, and in the end Jake and Lily both realize that they can live separate lives and still be connected.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Kirkus Reviews
As if growing up isn't hard enough, twins also have to face growing apart. Ever since they can remember, twins Jake and Lily Wambold, born on the California Zephyr train, have sleepwalked on the eve of their birthday and awoken at their local train station, where they distinctly smell pickles. They have never been able to explain this or how they can occasionally read each other's minds or finish each other's sentences. The twins name their secret gift "goombla." It's now the summer before middle school. The brother and sister alternate telling each chapter as spunky, tomboy Lily worries that they'll lose their goombla and sensible Jake looks forward to living separately for a change. Each sibling's chatty narration reveals a range of emotions. Lily, feeling lost for the first time in her life, leans on her hippie grandfather, whose wife and soul mate passed away and who knows what it's like to lose half of oneself. Just when she's given up on finding herself through ridiculous hobbies, friendship comes to her. Meanwhile, Jake immediately relishes his time with his new Death Rays posse as they scout out social outcast "goobers" to pick on. When he realizes that goobers can be brave and even friends, he reconsiders his allegiance. Perhaps Jake and Lily aren't so different after all. Double the feelings, double the fun. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
480L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Smiles to Go, Loser, Space Station Seventh Grade, Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?, Dump Days, and Stargirl. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

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Jake and Lily 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 160 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever,i highly recomend it! It is about two twins jake and lily. Jake goes off with his new friends and lily hates one of jakes friend bump. Bump is a bad person he makes fun of people and calls them goobers until a new guy eirney moves to their town.Lily is taking edvice from poppy. Find out what else happens in JAKE AND LILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was AMAZING! I loved it and i ended up reading it in a day because i just couldnt put it down. There was some great advice in the story such as learning how to "find yourself." Jake and lily was a great read and i would definetly reccommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was such a good book i couldnt put it down, i even read it at the dinner table
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was wonderful and i hope some one else will read it Thank You
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so want to read this book but i only have the sample. Every one says its so good. I take their word for it mainly because a lot of them are my best friends. So i reccomend this book because its so super duper awwsome. Oh and if you cant buy the book get the sample. You find out a lot from it. Thank you for reading this semi good review. I hope convinces you to buy jake and lily, a very awesome book. Bye!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great! I <3 it. I can not put it down. (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not what i expected but it rocked
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it plzzzz read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, Lily and Jake, is very good. Written by Jerry Spinelli, Jake and Lily are twins. They are not just ordinary twins. They have a special bond called "gloomba". When Jake decides he is way different than Lily, the twins' life changes. Jake starts hanging out with the neighborhood bully, Bump, scoping out Goobers and SuperGoobers. Lily is sad and disappointed in Jake and is letting her feelings and questions out quite frequently in front of Mom, Dad, and Poppy(Jake and Lily's long-lost grandfather). To find out what happens to Jake and his gang, The Death Rays, Lily, and the adults in this book, buy Jerry Spinelli's Jake and Lily today. Recommended for ages eight and up. Happy reading!~Etalien
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! I couldn't put it down! It's about twins named Jake and Lily. Jake thinks they're different and wants to grow out of doing everything with his sister. Meanwhile, Lily thinks they're the same and still wants him to be her best friend. Jake tells about rocky adventures with his new group of friends, and Lily spills about how she's upset about losing Jake and doesn't want their special twin power (Goombla) to go away. At the end, there's a twist to each of their stories. Read to find out! A book for everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jake and Lily is about two twins which is funny because am writing a book about twins. I can learn a lot. I in the middle of it and can't wait to finish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an okay book but was kind of confusing with all the jumping back and forth between Jake and Lily. It was also a more kidlike book than I had expected, but overall it was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably a book best for ages 7-11, but still cute.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good I can't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOOVVVVEEEEEE IIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading this book now it s not good now but its getting better lilly and jake are losing there super power but its a great book so far its worth the money
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You NEED to read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It is about twins who are born telepathic, and they call their power gooluba. Jake is lilys only friend. But then he starts hanging out with theDeath Rays, and the goolumba is disappearing, and lily is sad and angry. Jake and the gang are making fun of kids. This is an awesome book about finding your true self....... I Hope You Like this book as much as I do btw I only rated this 1 star so people would accually read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my most favorite books of all time. It is such a moving and inspirational book. Totally worth the money trust me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. You just gotta read it. ;)