Things Hoped For

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Things Hoped For Book Poster Image
Teens connect over music and death. Intriguing.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


One death of a character in a freezer, apparently a suicide.


Gwen visits a Nike store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that a character in this story is found dead in a freezer, apparently a victim of suicide.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytakeatrip July 15, 2009
Weirs is a way to describe it. It is very slow at the beginning and tends to be designed for girls. The end is fast, confusing and has the grandpa dead in the... Continue reading
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008


Good Recommended
Teen, 16 years old Written bycutie les September 20, 2011

it was all about music and a naked invisible and the death of Gwen's grandfather

it was really nice. read it you will know it is really interesting. don't be so silly okay good luck and be hurry.......
Kid, 12 years old April 1, 2011

by a kid

i just read things hoped for pretty much all night i love it!!!!

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the death that occurs in the book. What did the character hope for, and did he succeed? What is the author trying to say with the book's title?

Book details

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