A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn a bit about running a restaurant, being a waitress, and the architectural tradition of a welcome stairway.
Make each day count because you don't know how long you have to live. When people have hope, anything is possible. You never know which direction things in life will come from, but you need to be ready to welcome them with open arms when they do, wherever they're from and however they got to you.
Positive Role Models
Hope is a good model for communication, empathy, and teamwork. She's adaptable, and likes making a difference in people's lives and in her community. Her friends and family are all loving, supportive role models. A villain is motivated by greed and desire for power.
Most characters are White and several important characters are Black. The only references to body size are a couple of unpleasant encounters with "plump" people.
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Violence & Scariness
Hope is verbally harassed, physically blocked, and grabbed by the arm. A beating isn't narrated but injuries are mentioned. Past domestic violence like throwing furniture and breaking glass is mentioned along with being chased by the perpetrator.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One kiss and some mild romantic gestures like holding hands and hugging.
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Products & Purchases
A few incidental mentions of food and beverage brands, a car make, a Duncan yo-yo, and several mentions of a Replogle globe.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hope Was Here is a Newbery Honor-winning coming-of-age story. Parental separation and adoption are strong themes, and there's grief and sadness from illness and death. There's an incident with verbal harassment and being grabbed by the arm. A couple of beatings are mentioned but not narrated directly and mention injuries. There's one kiss and some mild romantic dynamics. The strongest word used is "butt."
Is It Any Good?
This is a heartwarming, feel-good story with a strong main character, lots of humor, charm, and plenty of comfort food. Hope Was Here is brimming with warmth and wisdom. Tweens and teens can admire Hope's resilience, work ethic, wit, and yes, hope. Quirky, well-developed characters keep the story moving at a good pace. There's sadness and grief, too, but the sweet ending satisfies.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.