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review 2016-12-01 17:24
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer

When Hope and her aunt move to small-town Wisconsin to take over the local diner, Hope’s not sure what to expect. But what they find is that the owner, G.T., isn’t quite ready to give up yet – in fact, he’s decided to run for mayor against a corrupt candidate. And as Hope starts to make her place at the diner, she also finds herself caught up in G.T.’s campaign – particularly his visions for the future. After all, as G.T. points out, everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times… even Hope herself.

 

Filled with heart, charm, and good old-fashioned fun, this is Joan Bauer at her best. (From Goodreads)

 

If this Joan Bauer at her best, I’m not sure I’m going to read anything else.

 

Before I read this book, I read the synopsis. Then I read the book. Now I’m rereading the synopsis and I still have no clue what this book is supposed to be about. There is no real plot. The only thing driving the book forward is not strong enough to be considered a plot. Could it be pulled out and the book still survive? No. Could you replace it with something else along those lines. Easily.

 

The book is literally about a dying man running for mayor and waitressing. So if you’re a waitress, read this for some tips. That’s all your going to get out of it.

 

The characters were bland, and had no real personality. Things we found out about Hope had nothing to do with the book or anything important. For example, her name is actually Tulip, but she wanted to rename herself Hope to bring hope to people. The dumbest reason I’ve ever heard, but hey, you do you.

 

I’d say the best character in the book was Braverman and he was all over the place. From the first page we meet him, we’re supposed to assume that he’s this moody, kind of a jerk teenage boy, but it turns out he’s like 18 and actually a huge dork. But then later in the book, we start to get the moody side again. Pick a side and stick with it.

 

Also, Hope was written as a twelve year old girl and her voice stayed that way throughout the whole book, so imagine my surprise when I find out she’s actually 16.

 

This book, in my personal opinion, should not have been given an award. I think I wrote fanfiction with more depth when I was fifteen then this.

 

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review 2015-09-07 06:18
Hope Was Here
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer

A voice-y coming-of-age novel full of similes/metaphors/adages, food and politics. Strangely wonderful.

 

There are several weird racial/ethnic bits in this book that I didn't remember (sushi to determine food sophistication*, attributing a saying to a "Chinese philosopher," "the most beautiful African-American woman,"** "Mexican eggs," "dressed like Eskimos") but nothing egregious.

 

*Hope doesn't seem to anticipate meeting any Japanese people (or maybe if she met a Japanese person they would automatically be seen as a food sophisticate?). There are no Asian characters in the novel so we'll never know.

 

**This feels very close to "pretty for a black woman" but doesn't quite get there. It would have been just as easy to write that Brenda Babcock is beautiful and then describe her as a black woman.

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review 2014-09-23 00:00
Hope Was Here
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer Her mother named her Tulip and gave her to her sister to raise. At twelve she changed her name to Hope because, though there was a lot expected of her with a name like that, it was a name with a lot more promise. Hope and her aunt Addie had to move from the big city diner they loved to a small town in Wisconsin. Hope didn't think there was much to look forward to and missed her big city diner and her friends. After moving all over the US, she wondered how the father she never knew would ever find her now. What she discovers in this little town is a kind-hearted, honest man, and other unforgettable characters who you will root for along with Hope. Hope discovers that what she thought she always wanted wasn't at all what she expected when she got it.
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review 2012-02-13 00:00
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer Plucky. It's got to be one of my least favorite ways for a reviewer or a blurb (or however you are hearing about a book) to describe the book's heroine. It's overused and doesn't seem to mean the same thing to other people as it does to me. BUT, for some reason, it just fits Hope, makes me reconsider my dislike of the term. (You know how they always show that scene of Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, when she goes in for the interview and he says "You've got spunk. I hate spunk"? But then he doesn't wind up hating her? Kind of like that.) Hope is a plucky kind of kid - her mom is a flighty woman who comes and goes as she pleases, leaving Hope with only her waitressing wisdom; her dad never showed up in the first place, and she & the aunt who loves and raises her move around a lot, working hard and somehow still coming up short. Then they wind up Mulhoney, Wisconsin, trying to make the Welcome Stairs Diner into the best in the whole of the country, and find themselves in the middle of much more than they expected. The owner of the diner, who has leukemia, has decided to run against an incumbent mayor whose corruption is both pervasive and threatening. Hope learns a lot about political game playing, being a good person & an active citizen, and how to truly connect with the people around her. It's a quick read, but strong all the way through: I liked these characters, even when you knew it wasn't going to run smoothly for them, especially when you knew things were about to get tougher. Because they stood up.
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review 2010-05-01 00:00
Hope Was Here
Hope Was Here - Joan Bauer Newbery Honor Award book about a 16 year old girl named Hope who lives with her aunt Addie. After a facing financial ruin in NYC, she and Addie move to a small town in Wisconsin to run a diner. Not only does Hope face all of the challenges of starting life over in a new town, she and Addie quickly become involved in a small town political campaign between G.T. Stoop, the owner of the diner who has been diagnosed with leukemia, and the dishonest incumbent mayor.Newbery Medal books are usually the cream of the crop. The characters are complex and the writing is superb. Unfortunately this book did not meet that high standard. I love a sappy book, but I thought this story was predictable and a bit flat and the characters were either heroic or dishonest. The best part of the book was the descriptions of life as a waitress in a diner. The comparisons between life and comfort food were warm and funny, but there was little else going for this one.
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