Whether you're twins separated by eleven minutes at birth or goobers and cool guys, separated by how you're perceived socially, we are all connected. This is the story of Jake and Lily, twins, who share an intense connection they call goombla. Their shared goombla is a gift, an extra sense, that gives them the ability to read each other's thoughts, know each other's hide and seek spot and sense each other's distress in a tense moment.
The two siblings tell their story in alternating voices. Change is in the air. Jake and Lily are about to celebrate their eleventh birthday but this year their parents decide they are too old to share a bedroom any more. Puberty is setting in and it's time for the twins to separate and find their individual paths.
Jake takes the change in stride. He easily makes friends with three guys and becomes part of the Death Ray gang. Lily is lost until her Poppy tells her she needs a Lily-life; she needs to stand on her own. Then Jake and friends discover a goober... a kid they think is ultra deserving of ridicule and ostracism... actually they decide they've found a Super Goober.
Making fun of this Super Goober becomes a sport with them and takes on the power of being glue that holds the group together. But this Super Goober has a name. He's Ernie and he's just a kid like anyone else.
Jerry Spinelli has an empathy for kids that reaches as deeply as is humanly possible. He tells the story of how hard it is to be yourself and to simultaneously fit into or belong to a group. We don't really face ourselves and ask ourselves the hard questions when we stand with others. It's easier to take on the identity of the group especially in middle school.
When the Death Ray gang meets Ernie, you cringe. It's written spot on. When Lily experiments with being friends with girls, you know just how she feels about not having much in common.
This is another sensitive, deeply caring and wise story from a man who crafts important tales for our children to read and consider. This would make a great One School One book read. It would make a great read aloud for fourth and fifth and even sixth grade classes. There are many facets to consider and many beliefs to confront.
Thank you Jerry Spinelli for caring and for continuing the conversation.
352 pages 978-0064471985 Ages 9-13
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com