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Hope Was Here
“Hope Yancey never expected life to be easy. It never had been. But when Hope gets released in a place, all kinds of things are possible.” The screenplay was written by Julie Sherman Wolfe and is slated for production in 2009.


When sixteen year-old Hope and her aunt Addie move from New York City to small town Mulhoney, Wisconsin to run the local diner, Hope’s not sure what to expect. She’s got an absentee mom who stuck her with the name Tulip until she was able to change it herself to the much more acceptable. She’s never met her father. She lives and moves, repeatedly, with her aunt Addie – the world’s best short-order diner cook.  When Addie’s partner runs off with all the money and one of the waitresses, she and Hope are left with no option but to head out to Wisconsin to help run G.T. Stoop’s Welcome Stairways diner. Luckily, Hope is used to thinking on her feet – already a terrific waitress at only sixteen.

G.T. the diner’s owner, who is battling leukemia, decides to run for office against the corrupt mayor of Mulhoney.  The diner becomes the local hotbed of political activity and Hope is drawn into small-town politics and G.T.’s vision of the future.

Hope experiences love for the first time with junior cook Braverman. Hope is initially wooed by his winning pork-chop sandwich and his compassion when her mother comes to visit. Their relationship is a realistic view of teen friendships that turns to love as Hope learns to trust.

Together, Hope and Braverman, along with others in the town, rally to support G.T.’s run for mayor. The political battle gets dirty as the incumbent mayor not only stoops to putting a mouse in an entrée at the diner but to having Braverman beat up to discourage his involvement in the campaign.

An underlying thread in the book is Hope’s desire to meet her estranged father. While he never appears, Hope finds the next best thing in G.T. He serves as a wonderful father figure — praising her skill as a waitress and serving as an inspiration not only to Hope, but to all of the people in Mulhoney.

Every time they’d moved, Hope had written “Hope was here” on a wall or window ledge of the place they were leaving. Finally, in Mulroney she and her aunt Addie find a home and a reason to stay. Because, after all, everyone could use a little hope to get through the tough times…

– A Newbery Honor Book
– Winner of the Christopher Award
– An ALA Notable Book
– An ALA Best BBYA
– Sales: 300,000 +

Joan Bauer, critically acclaimed author of Newbery Honor Book and Christopher Award-winner Hope Was Here, has written numerous books for young people, including Sticks, Rules of the Road (winner of the LA Times Book Prize), Backwater (a Smithsonian Magazine Best Book), Stand Tall (an ALA Notable Book), Squashed (winner of the Delacorte Press Prize for First Young Adult Novel), and Thwonk (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults).

Hope Was Here achieves Joan Bauer’s goal of, “…linking life’s struggles with laughter…not just to make us feel good, but to empower us to overcome dark times”.

What the critics say:

“It’s hard to imagine any ordinary young reader coming across a novel by Joan Bauer and not feeling at least a little bit better about the world.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Readers will recognize many of Bauer’s hallmarks here – a strong female protagonist on the road to self-discovery, quirky characters, dysfunctional families, a swiftly moving story, moments of bright humor. Her vivid prose, often rich in metaphor, brings Hope’s surroundings and her emotions to life.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“As always from Bauer, this novel is full of humor, starring a strong and idealistic protagonist, packed with funny lines and peopled with interesting and quirky characters.”
the Kirkus Reviews

 “It’s Bauer’s  humor that supplies…the yeast that makes the story rise above the rest, reinforcing the substantive issues of honesty, humanity, and the importance of political activism.”
Books for Older Readers