The book Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer is about a 16 year old girl named Hope. Her mother named her Tulip when she was born, but she changed it herself when she was 12 years old. Hope lives with her Aunt Addie because her mother left her after she was born. She has never seen her father, and her mother has only visited her a few times in her life. Hope keeps a scrapbook about her life and dreams of one day sharing it with her father. Addie and Hope are very close and work together as a cook and waitress. They travel around wherever there is a job.
Whenever they leave a place, Hope writes “Hope was here” to mark that she has been there. After Addie’s partner cheats her and takes the money from their diner in New York, Addie and Hope head to a town in Wisconsin to work in a diner called the Welcome Stairways. The Welcome Stairways is owned by G. T. Stoop who is a very kind man who has leukemia. The town of Mulroney is going to have elections and G. T. shocks everyone when he says that that even though he has leukemia, he is going to run against the current mayor Eli Millstone who is rich and corrupt.
Hope, Addie and Braveman, Hope’s boyfriend who also works at the diner, as well as many other people in town get involved with the campaign to help get G. T. elected. The campaign is a dirty one. Braverman gets beaten up by Milltone’s thugs and a dead mouse is planted in the food at the diner. When G. T. loses the election by only a few votes, everyone is disappointed. But Hope uncovers the fact that Millstone cheated by faking votes and he is forced to resign. G. T. becomes mayor. Addie and G. T. get married and G. T. adopts Hope and becomes the father she always wanted.
They are a happy family, but within less than two years G. T. ’s leukemia comes back and he eventually dies. Hope graduates from high school and it is time to go to college. She and Braverman are going to different colleges and have to say goodbye for now. When she leaves home this time, she once again writes “Hope was here” in the diner. Even though she does this, we know that this time it is different and it is not goodbye. This time she has a home and will return.
Bauer, Joan. (2000). Hope was Here. New York: Putnam.