BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Hope Was Here This time of the year, in spite of my higher-than-usual crank factor with all the commercial hubbub, I do enjoy escaping into mushy, happy books. Here’s one to add to the holiday list, a 2001 Newbery Honor title from bestselling, award-winning young adult novelist Joan Bauer.

At 16, Hope Yancey doesn’t “buy into traditional roles.” She lives with her mother’s older sister, Addie, because her mother “went off to live her own life,” leaving her with a name – Tulip! – she officially discarded at age 12. Hope has seen her mother, Deena, three times in her young life, but with Addie as her “number one constant,” Hope is blessed with strong, constant love in spite of the many moves the pair has experienced. “Whenever I leave a place I write [“HOPE WAS HERE”] real small someplace significant just to make the statement that I’d been there and made an impact. … It’s one of the ways I say goodbye to a place.”

Now Addie and Hope are on their way to Mulhoney, Wisconsin to work at the Welcome Stairways, a diner owned by G.T. Stoop, a man dealing with leukemia. Addie’s going to be the new manager and cook, Hope a waitress. “I don’t mean to sound ungenerous, but working for a close-to-dying man didn’t sound like a great career to me,” Hope muses.

Heading into tiny-town middle America from bustling Brooklyn, Hope has two things to say: “No subways. No sushi.” What she does find are surprises she could never have predicted … including a new kind of family – and even a whole community – better than she ever dreamed. Yes, for the most cynical, an eyebrow might occasionally start to rise up, but really, in this time of (stressful) good cheer, why not indulge in something deliciously mushy?

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2000


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