Hope Was Here
Joan Bauer

Hope has never stayed in one place long. Her mother gave her up as a baby, and has never known her father, so now she is raised by her aunt Addie, who is a cook, and it only seems logical that Hope become a waitress, because they move so often to work in new restaurants. Hope’s mother named her Tulip, but she hated that so she decided to have her name legally changed to Hope, because of how everyone smiled when she told them her name. Now Hope and Addie are leaving yet again, traveling from her beloved New York to cold, old Wisconsin. But before she leaves the diner in New York, she carves a small “Hope was here” in a booth, just like she always does to leave her mark in the world.

When she moves to Wisconsin with Addie to work in a diner, she finds out that her new boss, G.T., is running for mayor. However, he has leukemia. G.T. is up against Eli Millstone, the current mayor, who supports a local dairy that is a burden to the townspeople. Believing that G.T. can become mayor, even in his physical condition, Hope supports his political campaign.

After Hope arrives at her new workplace, Addie begins to change the menu of the diner. G.T. decides to run for mayor after giving his speech at a ceremony. He then leads the polls. Afterwards, Eddie Braverman, a young cook at Hope's workplace, is beaten up for supporting G.T.'s campaign. Hope's mother visits the restaurant Hope works at, much to the dismay of Hope.

Eli Millstone continues his own campaign, displaying G.T. and his leukemia in a negative light. G.T.'s doctors then tell G.T. that his leukemia is in remission. G.T. wins the campaign for mayor after a rig in the polls led by Eli Millstone. Addie and G.T. marry, and Braverman starts to go out with Hope. After his marriage, G.T. decides to adopt Hope. Then, after a year and a half, leukemia returned, causing G.T.'s death. The story ends in Hope setting off for college, realizing how G.T. was her 'real' father.

I absolutely loved Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, it was about a girl trying to make it on her own, searching the world to find her place to fit in and finally finding it in the least expected place, a small town in Wisconsin. Hope has to deal with the drama of her mother always coming in and out of her life and of wishing for a father but never finding one. That is until she realizes she’s had a family all along, Addie, G.T., Braverman and the rest of this town. It’s full of a lot of great lessons and very touching, I would recommend it to anyone. - KW