When Tulip changes her name to Hope, she figures that it would make everything okay in her life. She soon discovers that a name, no matter how positive it is, doesn't always ensure a perfect life. Nevertheless, she keeps hoping that her life will change as she tries to be the best waitress in the world --- that is Hope's challenge, and turns out to be one of her best assets in Joan Bauer's new book, HOPE WAS HERE.
Ever since Hope's mother abandoned her as a baby, Hope has followed her Aunt Addie around the country, longing for a permanent home and always looking for the father she doesn't know. However, she and her aunt, who is an extraordinary cook, go where the jobs and the money are. This last move is to Mulhoney, Wisconsin. Leaving the greatest diner in Brooklyn --- after Aunt Addie's partner, Gleason Beal, cleaned out the business bank account --- is the hardest challenge Hope has had to face. Hope says good-bye to New York by leaving her usual calling card, "Hope Was Here" written in half-inch tall letters on one of the boards.
Hope does find a lot of hope in Mulhoney, though. She falls in love with Braverman the cook, and she helps G. T. Stoop with his election campaign. But even hope can't always assure success. G. T. loses the election, and crooked politician Eli Millstone is reelected as Mayor of Mulhoney. However, everything looks brighter when G. T. finds out that his leukemia is in remission.
Will Hope find her father? Will Aunt Addie and Hope find happiness and permanence with G. T. Stoop and the Welcome Stairways Diner? Hope struggles with these questions as she tries to grow up and remember that, although she has a lot to overcome, she also has a lot for which to be thankful.
HOPE WAS HERE is a deliciously funny look at Mulhoney's corrupt small-town politics and Hope and Aunt Addie's struggles to be successful in the food service industry. It is sometimes sad and always poignant as the characters try to work out their problems. G. T. Stoop fights to overcome his leukemia. There's a mouse in the salad, and a hearse following G. T. around town, parking outside the diner. Braverman is beaten for standing up for what he believes is right, and Hope keeps fighting her past and looking for her future. Once again, Joan Bauer delivers a fast-paced and satisfying young adult novel.
Reviewed by Audrey Marie Danielson on September 11, 2000
Hope Was Here