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)