Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Totally guilty on that point. Whenever I have a stack of books from the library and am trying to decide which one to read first, I go for a) the one my friend recommended or b) which has the cutest cover. Which is a highly logical factor, I know. But isn’t that new cover cute? I checked Hope Was Here out of the library when it still looked like this:
Slightly less cute. But I still read it, and guess what. It was amazing.
Incredibly mature and optimistic for her 16 years, Hope Yancey is a waitress who lives with her Aunt Addie, a cook. Her mom, Deena, self-described as “unfit for parenting”, left her with nothing but the name “Tulip” and some killer waitressing tips. Hope ditched the name, but kept the advice. After the diner Hope and Aunt Addie worked at closed suddenly, they decided to move out to Wisconsin to work at another small diner. As a way of closure from life in Brooklyn, Hope does what she always does when saying good-bye. She leaves her mark by scribbling “Hope Was Here.”
Normally I find Joan Bauer writing formulaic, and the characters not very relatable. And while this book is the same template (working, independent teenage girl brings change to a town/corporation), I enjoyed it immensely. The strongest part of this book were the descriptions of waitressing. You felt like you were along for the ride, living vicariously through Hope as she waited all the tables at the busiest hour of the evening. It was a truly enjoyable read. The way both the climate at a small diner and small town politics were incorporated also was unique and interesting. And also the characters…You just have to like Hope, and Aunt Addie, and Braverman, and G.T. Overall, this Joan Bauer book was superior to her others (Rules of the Road, Close to Famous) because of its heart.
I’ve read reviews on this book where it gets criticized for being too simplified. “It was a nice story. The boy got the girl. The good guy wins. The food was good and hot.” I laughed when I read that, because it is sort of true, but in context, the reviewer was trying to show that this was why the book fell short. You can read the full review here. But is that really a bad thing? Sometimes we need to step back and read the “easy” books to remind us of the joy of reading in the first place. Sometimes we need to be reminded of simple things like yummy food and the guy getting the girl, for the mere purpose of making us smile. Hope Was Here reads like an chick lit, beach read tale but with characters and descriptions that can be savored long after you breeze through its pages.
Recommended to: anyone. people who enjoy warm, fuzzy, and honest books.
If you are looking for something to read, I hope you will give Hope Was Here a try (no pun intended)! (: