This book was read for the third week of the YA Lit course.
Course Theme for the Week: Independence: The Journey (2-9-2011)
Title: Hope Was Here
Author: Joan Bauer
Year: 2000 (republished 2005)
Date Read: 2-2-2011
Overall: * * * * (4/5)
Amazon Blurb: One new life, coming right up. Hope's used to thinking on her feet - she hasn't become a terrific waitress by accident. But when she and her aunt move from New York City to a small town in Wisconsin to run the local diner, she isn't sure she'll fit in. Luckily, she doesn't have much time to brood. G.T., the owner, has decided to run for mayor, an no one in town knows what to think. After all, G.T. has leukemia. And his opponent is the unscrupulous current mayor, who will do or say anything to win the election. Hope knows that G.T. is up against the odds=but his visiton of the future is so vivid and good that she can't help but join the campaign. Because, after all, everyone could use a little hope to get through the touch times. Even Hope herself.
My Review: As I was reading this book, I got the feeling I'd read it before, probably when I was a freshman in high school, back when I did nothing to keep track of the books I read. I really enjoyed the story though, it really is filled with hope. Hope, the character, was wonderfully strong and courageous, it felt like I was right there with her, rooting for the truth. The side characters were special too, G.T. and Addie, Braverman, Lou Ellen... they were all so well-written and had such great and individual personalities. I've said it before, but I really enjoy when you can't tell that each character was written by the same person.
I think there were a few important lessons that readers of this book can pick up on. First, somewhat obviously, is hope. That Hope chose the word for her name, and that there had to be so much of it in the lives of the patrons of the Welcome Stairways diner. Second, is that teenagers, and town members of any age, can work together to make a difference in things that matter, as long as they believe in what they're doing. Third, is that there are so many different types of family. Hope was holding out for her real father, when what she found was a very real father who just didn't happen to be here biological father. Addie, her aunt, was very much a mother to her, because her biological mother had no idea how or any desire to be a mother to her.
I think this book is great for middle school ages and up. Advanced elementary school children might enjoy it as well. I think the food analogies and the bits of warmth and humor will really pull in readers of all ages, because it's such a sweet story.
To Purchase: Amazon
Currently Reading: Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Currently Listening To: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (read by Carolyn McCormick)
Books Read in 2011: 15