Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Hope was here

Hope Was Here

Hope is a 16-year-old girl, living a nomadic lifestyle with her aunt Addie. Addie is a chef and restaurant manager, and Hope works as a waitress. They’re always moving from place to place, and the story opens with them up-rooting from Brooklyn, New York. Before she leaves, Hope scribbles ‘Hope Was Here’ onto the menu board – it’s become her motto, a ritual she carries out whenever they have to hit the road – again. Hope’s a city girl and she isn’t sure how she’s going to tackle life in ‘cow country’. Things start hotting up for her, though, when she gets embroiled in the local politics of Mulhoney, Wisconsin while working at the Welcome Stairways diner- Soon, Hope is tackling big issues about her own past, while grappling with some surprising developments in her new home town.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, probably much closer to 5 stars but a bit short of 5 stars. 

It was another emotional book that I have read this year. I started reading this book without knowing much about its synopsis.

I generally like to dive into a book pretty blindly because I think the element of surprise is what enriches our reading experience.
I was expecting this book to be a ‘pull-up-stakes-and-move-on’ YA novel about a young girl who has a part-time job as a waitress struggles to adapt to a new life in a new place. Heart-warming, yet leaves little impact – that was what I had expected. 

Then again, I realized I was way off.  This book pulled at my heartstrings, particularly in the end.

There’s nothing outstanding or drastic in the plot, yet I wasn’t expecting this book to touch on a bit of political stuff (corruption and election irregularities) and it came as a bit of a surprise to me. The character setting of G.T. Stoop, who is a proprietor of the diner where Hope works, and who later ends up playing an important role in Hope’s life, is just amazing. He’s honest, compassionate and is not hesitant to do the right thing. He stands on his words and fights for justice. It works beautifully to make a stark contrast to corrupt politicians in Mulhoney.

I felt the heroine, Hope was a bit weak in comparison to G.T.(In other words, G.T. stole the show), but I still found her likable and matured for her age.

The plot becomes a bit predictable and I could tell where it was heading for eventually, yet the last few chapters did grip my heart and leave me being a sobbing wreck.
Being a sucker for tear-jerker stories, it took everything in my power not to let my co-worker know that I was weeping; I furiously blinked back tears as I read through the last 10 pages or so.

Every word, every sentence resonated with me. 

So sad, so heart-breaking, yet still hopeful and beautiful end.

It was truly a delightful read.
This book reminded me that life is tough and hard at times, but yes, ‘Hope’ can definitely be found in your life.
Just move on. Hold your head high. Life goes on.

I’m glad that I picked up this book. Highly recommended.


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