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Things Hoped For
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Gwen is living with her grandfather in New York so she can attend a prestigious music school and audition for top music colleges. But one day her grandfather disappears, leaving behind a cryptic message telling her to hide his disappearance and go on with her audition preparations, which she attempts to do despite her uncle hammering at the door every day, demanding to see her grandfather.
Then she meets Robert, a trumpet player also in town for auditions, who has a secret of his own. Having shared their individual secrets, together they discover one more in Gwen's basement, a secret that shatters Gwen's quiet, regular life and her ability to concentrate on auditions, yet deepens their friendship in surprising ways.
Is it any good?
This is a great group discussion book, because Clements only hints at the central meaning of the story, a most unusual trait in a children's book. Is he talking about faith in God? Family? Friends? Oneself? Dreams? They're all here, along with many others and a cast filled with thoughtful, giving characters.
This is a sequel only in that the main character from the first book enters as a supporting player partway through, bringing along the invisibility theme, which is the least interesting plot element here. Of more interest are the details about being a gifted young musician and living in New York. But this is primarily a character- and idea-driven piece, and even when some of the plot elements don't quite make sense, the ideas are intriguingly open-ended, and the characters are warm, real, and moving.