Hope Was Here
Title: Hope Was Here
Author: Joan Bauer
Publisher: Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 192 (paperback)
Advertised Age Level: Ages 12 – 17
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 16 years/Junior
Language: no profanity
Sex: a kiss
Drug/Alcohol Use: none
Violence: one character is beat up off-screen
Social Issues: parental abandonment, cancer, corrupt politicians
Suggested Movie Grade: G
Hope’s life has been a constant series of starting-over. After her mother left Hope with Aunt Addie, the two have been moving all over the country as Addie moves from cooking job to cooking job. Even Hope joins the food service industry when she begins waitressing at the age of 14, and food seems to be in Hope’s blood. But this latest move – from Brooklyn, New York to tiny Mulhoney, Wisconsin – might just be more than Hope can handle.
There, at the Welcome Stairways Diner, Hope meets G.T., a man who has both leukemia and a drive to make a difference in his town by running for mayor. Before she knows it, Hope is swept up in G.T.’s campaign. As she makes friends with Braverman, the diner’s short order cook, and gets to know the people of the town, Hope begins to believe she’s finally found a place to truly call home.
Potential Points of Concern
Hope’s mother abandoned her to Aunt Addie when Hope was just a baby and makes only a couple of brief appearances in Hope’s life. Hope’s father is unknown – even her mother claims not to know who he is.
G.T. has leukemia and faces an uncertain future. At the end of the story, Hope must come to terms with G.T.’s passing.
Braverman is assaulted by thugs working for the corrupt mayor’s political campaign. He is beaten up pretty badly, but none of the violence is described.
Age Appropriateness: 10 +