Module #7 Hope Was Here

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Book Summary
Hope and her aunt arrive at a new Wisconsin town after leaving New York City to work as a waitress and head chef.  She has become accustomed to leaving behind friends and moving from place to place, but this new town forces her to put down real root when the restaurant’s owner, GT, a leukemia survivor, decides to run against the town’s interim mayor in the next election.  Hope joins the campaign believing in GT’s vision and passion for the small town and finds herself a permanent home with a full family.

APA Reference
Bauer, J. (2000).  Hope was here. New York, NY:  Puffin Books.


Hope quickly became one of my favorite female characters. Bauer created a leading female teenage character who is honest, complex, faulted, and most importantly, hopeful.  As realistic fiction, this book provides a refreshingly optomistic and gentle examination of some of the more serious issues that some YA realistic titles explore through much more dramatic means.  Issues realting to cancer, racism, political corruption, and non-traditional families are treated with dignity and honest perspectives of the characters who are affected throughout the story.  GT, although he knows how precarious his life is and how close to death he came, chooses to–despite his relapse–stand up for a cause and become the leader he feels his community needs.  The slow-to-grow romance between Hope and short-order-cook Braverman develop with patience and sincerity throughout the course of the novel stands in contrast to the “brooding boy meets girl-next-door” love story that populates many YA books.  The secondary cast of characters including the villainous corrupt mayor, Eli Millstone, and Hope’s absentee mother round out the diverse array of human relationships and motivations and stand in stark contrast to heroic GT and Addie, Hope’s maternal figure. 

Professional Review
Hope Was Here

2000. 186pp. $16.99 hc. G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Putnam. 0-399-23142-0. Grade 7 & Up
The story of 16-year-old Hope’s move and adaptation to a small Wisconsin town offers much to readers.Raised by her aunt, Hope was abandoned by her mother and never knew her biological father. She and her aunt have moved from diner to diner all of her life; her aunt does the cooking while Hope waits tables.Once they arrive in Wisconsin, at the Welcome Stairways Diner, Hope becomes immersed in the town’s corrupt mayoral election, has a romance with a short-order cook, and continues her search for her father.The story’s ending is bittersweet, with Hope gaining and losing a new father, separating from a first love to go to college, and leaving a place that she has called home. Bauer manages to fill her heartfelt novel with gentle humor, quirky but appealing characters, and an engaging plot. Recommended.
By Kristin Fletcherspear, Youth Librarian, Foothills Public Library, Glendale, Arizona and Hamilton County, Ohio on; Cathy Hart, Perry Middle School, Worthington, Ohio and Patricia L. Kolencik, North Clarion High School Library, Tionesta, Pennsylvania

Fletcherspear, K. (2001). Hope Was Here (Book Review) [Review of the book Hope was here]. Book Report,19(5), 56.

Library Uses

Hope Was Here is a strong choice for the central title of a library display featuring strong, independent, yet dynamic female characters.  Additional titles may include The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.
Meet Joan Bauer and listen to her talk about not being afraid of the things that hurt us and using them as opportunities to make connections to others through writing.

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