Hope Was Here

Paperback | June 2, 2005

byJoan Bauer

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A Newbery Honor Book

Joan Bauer's beloved Newbery Honor book--now with a great new look for middle grade readers!

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.

* “When it comes to creating strong, independent, and funny teenaged female characters, Bauer is in a class by herself ... Bauer tells a fast-paced, multilayered story with humor but does not gloss over the struggle[s].”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Bauer has succeeded in creating another quirky, poignant, and funny novel about a strong girl who admits her frailties ... Hope’s story is highly recommended for both middle and high school students.”—VOYA 

“Another entry in Bauer’s growing collection of books about likable and appealing female teenagers with a strong vocational calling ... As always from Bauer, this novel is full of humor, starring a strong and idealistic protagonist, packed with funny lines, and peopled with interesting and quirky characters.” —Kirkus Reviews

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A Newbery Honor BookJoan Bauer's beloved Newbery Honor book--now with a great new look for middle grade readers! 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...

Joan Bauer has won critical acclaim for her many books, which include Rules of the Road, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Close to Famous, and Peeled. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.7 × 5.06 × 0.53 inPublished:June 2, 2005Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142404241

ISBN - 13:9780142404249

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 3 out of 5 by from good story but with a lot of baggage Sixteen-year-old Hope Yancey has lived a very nomadic life. Her mother Deena, a waitress who originally named her Tulip, didn’t want the responsibility of raising a baby, left her with her Aunt Addie, Deena’s older sister and a cook, and went off to live on her own. Hope remembers seeing her mom only three times. Addie and Hope have worked in Atlanta, GA, where Hope was a girl scout for three months; St. Louis, MO, where she changed her name from Tulip to Hope; the Rainbow Diner in Pensacola, SC, where Hope moved from bus girl to waitress; the Ballyhoo Grill in South Carolina; and the Blue Box in Brooklyn, NY, where Addie was a partner with owner Gleason Beal. In fact, Hope has lived in five different states and gone to six different schools. However, Gleason has run off with Addie’s money, along with the night waitress, for parts unknown, forcing the restaurant in Brooklyn to be closed down. So now, Addie and Hope are headed to Mulhoney, WI, on the outskirts of Milwaukee, to work at the Welcome Stairways diner, owned by Gabriel Thomas (G. T.) Stoop, a 54-year-old man whose wife Gracie had died a few years before and who himself is being treated for leukemia. Addie and Hope have their hands full when G. T. decides to run for mayor against the unscrupulous incumbent Eli Millstone. A romantic interest develops between Hope and the eighteen-year-old Eddie Braverman who also cooks at the diner, as well as one between Addie and G. T. But will G. T. recover from his illness? Who will win the election? And what will happen to Addie and Hope? The possible objectionable elements in this book are not too many. Aside from a few common euphemisms (gee, kick butt), the terms Lord. God, and Jesus are frequently used as interjections, but there is no actual cursing. In one scene, Hope is accosted by the Carbinger brothers, but nothing really happens as she is rescued by Deputy Sheriff Babcock. My major concern with the overall theme of the book is the picture of family. Hope has never met her father and doesn’t even know his name. In fact, her mother says that she doesn’t know who he is either. Addie’s no-good husband Malcolm left her for a thin-lipped dental hygienist. Braverman’s daddy walked out on the family. One of the other waitresses, Lou Ellen, has a baby Anastasia, who “doesn’t have a daddy either.” I know that these kinds of situations do occur, but reading modern children’s and youth literature, you might get the impression that they are the norm. Why do today’s writers feel that they must present nearly every family as dysfunctional? Thankfully, everything turns out nicely in the end, but there’s a lot of baggage to deal with along the way to get there. If one is willing to wade through all that, there is actually a good story in Hope Was Here, and I think that I can understand why it was a Newbery Honor Book in 2001 with its messages of needing “hope,” the importance of character, and having vision for the future, but it is definitely a story for teens and not for younger children.
Date published: 2013-07-05

Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

HOPE WAS HEREWhen sixteen-year-old Hope and the aunt who has raised her move from Brooklyn to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, to work as waitress and cook in the Welcome Stairways diner, they become involved with the diner owner's political campaign to oust the town's corrupt mayor. ABOUT JOAN BAUERJoan Bauer was born in River Forest, Illinois, the eldest of three sisters. Her mother was a schoolteacher with a great comic sense; her father, a salesman that no one could say no to. Her maternal grandmother had been a famous storyteller and had a striking effect on Bauer's early years. "She would tell me stories with five different voices and as many dialects. I would sit on her enormous lap transfixed at how she could teach me about life and make me laugh through her stories. She taught me the significance of humor and how it intersects our daily lives."Bauer managed an eclectic list of jobs from assistant typing teacher at age twelve to high school waitress. In her early twenties, she was a successful advertising and marketing salesperson. Professional writing for magazines and newspapers followed, then screenwriting, which was cut short by a serious car accident. She regrouped and wroteSquashed, which won the Delacorte Prize for a First Young Adult Novel. Five novels for young adult readers have followed:Thwonk, Sticks, Rules of the Road, Backwater and Hope was Here (Newbery Honor Medal).Joan lives in Darien, CT with her husband and daughter.Praise"Ivy Breedlove is another strong and quirky heroine who addresses serious issues head on."—The New York Times Book Review"A fast and funny tale of one big-boned (and big-hearted) gal's summer of discovery on the road."—The Los Angeles Times Book Review Recommended Reading and SitesIf you enjoyed the works of Joan Bauer, we have some other titles to suggest. In some cases, the recommended books contain good humor, sometimes the related books feature young men facing obstacles in their lives. Finally, some of these books feature heroic females as main characters.Books to Make You Laugh:KEEPING THE MOON by Sarah DessenViking Children's BooksHC: 0-670-88549-5, $15.99 ($22.99 CAN)PB: 0-14-131007-3, $5.99 ($8.99 CAN)GYPSY RIZKA by Lloyd AlexanderDutton Children's BooksHC: 0-525-46121-3, $16.99 ($26.99 CAN)PB: 0-14-130980-6, $4.99 ($6.00 CAN)Where the Boys Are:OVER THE WALL by John H. RitterPhilomel BooksHC: 0-399-23489-6, $17.99 ($25.99 CAN)BOLTZMON! by William SleatorDutton Children's BooksHC: 0-525-46131-0, $15.99 ($24.99 CAN)Strong Women:THE OTHER ONES by Jean ThesmanViking Children's BooksHC: 0-670-88594-0, $15.99 ($22.99 CAN)CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN by Carol Lynch WilliamsG. P. Putnam's SonsHC: 0-399-23449-7, $16.99 ($23.99 CAN)DESTINY by Vicki GroveG. P. Putnam's SonsHC: 0-399-23449-7, $16.99 ($23.99 CAN)THE GIRLS by Amy Goldman KossDial Books for Young ReadersHC: 0-8037-2494-2, $16.99 ($25.99 CAN)Internet Sites of Interest:Joan Bauer websitewww.joanbauer.comThe official website of the author.Virginia Tech Digital Libraryhttp://borg.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/winter96/bauer.htmHere is an article written by Joan Bauer on writing books with humor entitled "Humor, Seriously."New York State Librarywww.nysl.nysed.govThis will link you to the New York State Library, where you can discover lots of interesting information about the Adirondack Mountains, site of much of the novel, Backwater.Wisonsin Directory of Attractionswww.wistravel.comLots of details about Wisconsin, the setting of Hope Was Here.Finally, type in the word "shoes" into a search engine and see where the road leads you! Rules of the Road is about finding your own way, after all. AN INTERVIEW WITH JOAN BAUERWhy is humor so vital to your writing?Because humor is so vital in my life. When I utilize humor in my writing, I'm connecting to a deep place in myself that says, "no matter how bad things get, there is hope." I believe that with all of my heart. That's what I love about humor—at least the kind that makes us look at life's difficulties differently—laughing in the midst of pain says to me that we are already on the road moving away from it. We're going to make it. I'd like to think that readers connect to that sentiment, too. We need to laugh for so many reasons. It brings perspective; it brings healing; it builds relationships; it brings release. People have asked me if I would ever write a "totally serious book." I have to say that I do write totally serious books that use laughter against the storm of life.Your novels do deal with serious subjects. How hard is it to walk the fine line between laughter and tragedy?It's brutal sometimes. I agonize over words, motives. I do not want anyone to think I am making fun of alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease, death, divorce, being overweight. But here's the thing: my first drafts are rarely funny and I am grimly sober while writing them. But I am getting down to the serious underpinnings of the story. Then I do look and see where the funny voice can break through. I see where comic relief can cushion a hard scene. I ask myself constantly, where can the humor break forth here and make a point?How are you like Hope?I'm hopeful like she is, and I've had to fight to stay that way. It isn't my natural state. I work at hopefulness. I don't expect life to be easy. Like her, I am an over-comer. I had a deep need as a teen to have a healthy father—mine was an alcoholic. I was a waitress as a teen and a good one. I love food; it is a passion for me. I have also had to work on my anger over the years. Hope and I are very alike.But here is where we are different. I never moved from place to place. I lived with my mom, grandmother, and two sisters in the same house. Hope has a good sense of herself, what she is good at and what she's not. I didn't have that much when I was a teenager.She is more patient than I and better able to absorb the quirkiness of people around her. One of the things I like bear about her is the fact she has great faith that her father is going to find her and she keeps these scrapbooks for him so that when he finally shows up she'll be ready to tell him about her life. I would have never done that.What is a typical day at the "office" like for you?I try to clear my mind for the work ahead. I try to remember what Ernest Hemingway said about writing: Stop for the day when you've written something you feel good about. That makes it easier to get back to it the next morning. I don't wait for inspiration; I just go to work. More and more I read things out loud to check for authenticity of voice. I did that a great deal forHope was Here. One of the big words in my life is "revision." It's kind of like labor and delivery. The baby is coming out and you don't have a lot to say about it. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSTitles always hold special significance to the story. For example, how does the title Hope Was Here focus your attention as a reader? Other than the literal reference, what else does the title suggest about the book? Does it tell you the truth? What about the titles of Backwater and Rules of the Road? How does each indicate the literal and symbolic natures of the stories? Hope's name is pivotal to the development of her character and to the development of the story. How do the various definitions of the word "hope" add to the story? See, for example, the reference made on page 22. There are other important symbols in this story. What roles do each of the following play in terms of developing character, advancing the plot, or serving as foreshadowing? Are there other symbols essential to the story? If so, what are they?· Day lily (page 85)· Welcome stairways (page 14)In each of Bauer's works, it is important to the main character that she provide some sense of comfort to the people she encounters. For Jenna in Rules of the Road, comfort comes in the form of the perfect show for each customer. How does Hope provide that measure of comfort? What does this tell you about her character? How about Ivy Breedlove in Backwater? Fathers are a central concern to the characters in Hope Was Here, Backwater, and Rules of the Road. Discuss the similarities and differences among the fathers of Hope, Ivy, and Jenna. Ultimately, all characters leave their mark on us as readers. How does Hope leave her mark literally and figuratively? How do Ivy and Jenna leave their marks? Why is humor such an essential ingredient in each of Joan Bauer's books? How would the stories change if they were somehow more "serious" in tone? How would your response to the story be affected? Occasionally, we are swayed to purchase a book because the title is intriguing, Bauer used the title Welcome Stairways as she wrote Hope Was Here. The title changed after the story was completed. What reaction do you have to the working title? Might the working title affect your reaction to the book? What alternative titles might you suggest forRules of the Road and Backwater?