Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Hope was Here by Joan Bauer

Goodreads Review: What happens when a saucy, optimistic teenager and a terrific short-order diner cook head to Mulhoney, Wisconsin? Great apple pie, a killer mayoral election, and a heartfelt story about life in a rural town.

Readers will immediately fall in love with 16-year-old Hope. She has bounced from place to place, serving plates of meat loaf and frittata specials to diner patrons cooked up by her aunt Addie, with whom she lives. Since changing her name from Tulip to Hope, this protagonist always tries to live up to her name, offering readers an uplifting look at politics, love, friendship, and, literally, life, as a waitress at G. T. Stoop's Welcome Stairways diner. -Soozan Baxter

My Review: Ok, so for whatever reason the Goodreads review for Hope was Here isn't like the other book reviews on Goodreads, as I think it's a bit too revealing for a review. I've only added the first few paragraphs and I linked it so you can read the rest of their review.

This was a great book. Hope had a distinct, realistic personality. While reading through this book, I could actually see myself walking into a diner, ordering food, and listening to this group of characters talk around me as I'm enjoying the chef's favorite. I liked the multiple layers in this story. There's Hope's issue of having a mother who gave her away, a father who left and her adopted mother who is also her aunt who loves her and cares for her. Hope's spent a good portion of her life moving to different cities and we learn that someone embezzled money from her and left them essentially broke. Now in the new city in Mulhoney, Wisconsin, there's the added layer of small town corruption and the desire for good against evil. Or what is right and what is actually happening in politics.

It's obvious, to me, that this was a very well-thought out story, that it was plotted very well and that the dialogue seems to flow naturally and never comes across forced. Each action and reaction has a purpose, yet it comes across so effortlessly that you barely notice the correlation between that particular scene and the next plot twist.

I feel like I can relate to this story and I think other readers can as well. There's a segment where the owner of he diner, G.T. reveals he has cancer but still decides to run for mayor. The main questions: Will he live long enough to make office? Will he even make office?

All the characters and scenes in the story work well together, and all these questions floated in my head until I finished the story and wished that there were new questions to be answered.

Score: 4/5

This was a book?! Shrek! by William Steig

While looking through Goodreads, I came across a book that that I honestly had no idea was a book. Did you know that Shrek! by William Steig was a book? What book have you discovered recently that amazed you?

Goodreads summary: Shrek, a horrid little ogre, goes out into the world to find adventure and along the way encounters a witch, a knight in armor, a dragon, and, finally, a hideous princess, who's even uglier than he is! Paperback, 32 pages. Published September 1st, 1993 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1990).


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