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The Great Gilly Hopkins

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  16,711 Ratings  ·  927 Reviews
Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she's disliked them all intensely. She has a county-wide reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanagable. So when she's sent to live with the Trotters -- by far the strangest family yet -- Gilly decides to put her brilliant mind to work. Before long she's devised an el ...more
Published October 1st 1979 by Avon Books (first published 1978)
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Justice hard G. Narrator Roy Dotrice couldn't grasp that, so like many other names, he destroys it.

Community Reviews

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Jan 06, 2009 K8 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I really like: Paterson never takes the easy way out and it doesn't have a traditional 'happy ending.' There are things to be happy about in the end - Gilly has grown up and she learns to accept some emotional attachments. And she is smart.

I can see where some stuffy readers wouldn't like Gilly's behavior. She's a foul-mouthed brat at the beginning of the book. She's damaged; she's been passed around several foster homes and, after an early disappointment, tries to sabotage each placement t
Feb 18, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good middle grade novel--its character driven, so for reluctant readers, you might have a struggle getting them into it. Boys may not find the female protagonist appealing (though she's a pretty tough & streetwise character for the time period it was written in.) We did it books on tape. My fourth grader loved it (the one that reads a Harry Potter novel in 6 hours); my six grader couldn't stand it (she's a tough one to get to read--it takes her three weeks to get through a Harry Potter novel ...more
Rain Misoa
May 12, 2011 Rain Misoa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one! But I suppose those with a strong-stomach.
Recommended to Rain by: Nicole Terazue, though she didn't like it either.
The pain! Oh, the pain! I cannot begin to tell you how much this book hurts me. I just... can't even begin to understand why such a book was written in the first place. It's so depressing... and not in a good way! The message in the book is just so horrible to be given to children that I don't think any child should read this! This can literally break a child's spirit! That's how bad the message of this book is! I didn't enjoy this book at all!

Paterson's books, and I do mean all of them, are so
Apr 18, 2009 Josiah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Paterson, a year after writing her classic, "Bridge to Terabithia", once again blew my mind and amazed me with this book.
The feeling in The Great Gilly Hopkins is just so stark and so easy to identify with, and the sharp mind of Gilly herself brings her situations into clear and germane focus.
Her situation may be somewhat unusual, but the feelings that Gilly has can be understood by anyone, and these feelings are available in both abundance and quality to the reader. I don't know if
Rebecca McNutt
May 28, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any kid who's a fan of books like Madeline, The Wonderful Adventures of Suzuki Beane or The Water and the Wild will definitely love this short novel; Gilly is a rebellious, defiant, witty and creative character and her time as a foster child and her refusal to be loved by any foster parent is well-written and a coming of age story that's at times sad and at other times deeply intelligent for a kid's book.
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 Lisa Rathbun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gilly has moved from one foster home to another for years and is tough and angry. She hides her mother's picture in her suitcase and longs to be with her. She uses a lot of bad language (no f-bombs; this is a kid's book), but by the end of the book, the ugliness isn't Gilly's vocabulary or the blind old man next door or her hugely obese, sloppy, and loving foster mother. What is truly ugly is Courtney, over whose beautiful picture Gilly has been yearning all her life. We get so little informatio ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Hillary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book for 3 reasons. 1. Paterson beautifully illustrates raw anger with remarkable accuracy. 2. It reminds you of the worth of a soul, rich or poor, black or white skinny or large almost everyone has a significant contribution to make to people. And 3. Just when you thought that your role as a mother was limited or reduced to cooking and cleaning, this book reminds you just how much kids need mothers and how much they love and value them. This book is juvenile fiction and you should ...more
Tory C.
Sep 28, 2015 Tory C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are books, written decades ago, that are so good you wonder how it is possible you haven’t read them sooner. For me, The Great Gilly Hopkins is one of those books. That fact that I haven’t discovered this book is even more interesting considering I read Katherine Paterson’s award winning Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia when I was a kid. Both of those books deeply moved me. I think The Great Gilly Hopkins is the best of them. Coming across Gilly after all these years is like fin ...more
Christopher Hicks
Jan 02, 2017 Christopher Hicks rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so completely depressing. At first I couldn't stand this little girl. She was so mean and horrible. Then I realized hurting people hurt people so I felt sorry for her and hoped someone would love her. It showed a glimmer of hope that she would be Happy then it all went downhill. I read this for a Y A book club. I would Never recommend this book to any child. It's just a waste of time.
Cait (Paper Fury)
There’s something bittersweet about Katherine Paterson’s books. The endings are so…unsatisfying. The author draws you into her world, weaves words together so simply, so beautifully, that you can’t help but swallow them whole—and then, just when the story is beginning, the words run out. That leaves you feeling strange. Half in the book, half out. And, afterwards, you’re never really happy.

My favourite of her books has to be The Bridge to Terebithia, but The Great Gilly Hopkins follows pretty cl
May 21, 2013 Tina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the few books I owned as a child (borrowed most of my books from libraries), so that was probably the reason why I read it over and over, even though I never fell in love with it completely.

(view spoiler)
Mar 18, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gilly is a hard headed little brat focused on making things difficult for people around her but she soon realizes that life is actually hard, and what you want, may not be what you really need.

This is a children's book but it does not adhere to the traditional - 'And they all lived happily ever after..' - and that's one of the main reasons I like it. The characterization in too is done well and you can actually feel Gilly's anger at her circumstances through the writing.

Recommended reading for
Olivia (The Candid Cover)
I am really curious as to how this will be presented on the screen. Really looking forward to finding out!

Review to come!
Jul 01, 2008 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Did this one make you cry, too? Ugh.

I only finished it because it's short. I didn't really like the characters, plot, or writing. I'll probably still try the movie though.
Gilly, a very intelligent child, who has been in the system for years going from foster home to foster home, making her angry and a brat. She is determined to be with her mother who she believes loves her and wants her. She finds herself with Maime Trotter, the fat widow. William Earnest, 7, a mentally challenged boy along with the blind, black elderly man next door. The reader watches her grow both emotionally and socially. However, the story ends unsatisfactorily for me but I suppose realistic ...more
Raevyn ~I Should Be Writing~
This book broke my heart, both on its own merits and due to personal reasons. 4.5 stars
Apr 24, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: Sonlight Curriculum
You know when a book is super good but you don't LOVE it? That's this book. Seriously, this book has everything that I love and should love, but I only really liked it. Maybe I just couldn't fully click with it or something?

All of the characters in this book are wonderfully amazing. Gilly herself grows so much throughout the course of this one small book. (Her full name is Galadriel. How cool is that, right?) She starts out as a sassy, sharp girl who wants to get back to her mother, but ends as
Mar 05, 2009 Nmck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a fifth grade teacher, and read this book while teaching from it to one of my reading groups. I have used it every year since, and it gets better with each reading.

Katherine Paterson's storytelling and descriptive qualities are top-notch. Her characters become so real to the readers, and the storyline unfolds to a greater depth on each page. This book will not disappoint, whether read by a child or an adult!
Kris Marley Patrick
Should say written by The Great Katherine Paterson.

I have to wonder would Gilly get published today? I love her foul mouth. When she says, "Dammit, Trotter. Don't try to make a stinking Christian out of me." I about died! That has to be one children literature's all time best lines.
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 01, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This is a sweet story about a brilliant young lady but it broke my heart and I am desperately trolling around now trying to find a book to read that will make me feel better.
and the best mom award goes to...
It was my pleasure and privilege to read this--it's one of the most frequently banned children's books in American history. I can see why this isn't taught in schools. Gilly's cursing and racism must be difficult to handle with a class full of students (and their parents). But I'm glad that it won four major awards and is still available in libraries, on audio, and as a movie. Gilly is unlikeable at first--for about half the book, I really disliked her--but boy did I come around in the end. Cert ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book is fierce.
Feb 22, 2009 Rian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Gilly Hopkins, who has lived in several foster homes, finds herself moving in with yet another foster family. She doesn't feel at all that this is the right home for her, and she harbors dreams of going back to live with her mother.

Response: I had a very mixed response to the book. On the one hand, it is a very well-told, hard-edged story that respectfully explores the feelings of a girl who has had a difficult time. Gilly has grown so distrustful of forming attachments, that she tries
Sep 02, 2008 Nathalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
opppening paragraph
how would you feel if no one adopted you for a very long time?welll this is how gilly hopkkins feel's in the story because no onje adopt's her at all.these are the characters in the story gilly hopkins,the mother from the church,family that's adopts her in the story gilly hopkins.The settings in the story are church,orpanage,streets.the plot of the story is that Gilly Hopkins want's to get adopted ,but no one adopts her.If you want to find out if she gets adopted the read th
Feb 04, 2012 Callie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Gilly Hopkins was published in 1978, which means I first read it when I was 9 or 10 years old and approximately the same age as Gilly. I recall I liked the book, and I liked Gilly. I felt it was a great injustice that Gilly could not stay with Trotter, William Ernest, and Mr. Randolph in Thompson Park.

Reading the book as an adult has been a different experience and it is worthwhile. Gilly--like many of us--aspires to live in a fantasy where she is wanted and beautiful. Gilly is sure h
Lacey Heart
Oct 31, 2012 Lacey Heart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this book. I didn't find it that much funny though. But it was very suspensful. I read it about 3 years ago when I was 11. I wonder, is there any other 13 year old girls that read this book? I don't want to be the only 13 year old girl that still reads Gilly Hopkins. I'll admit, at first I hated Gilly. I thought she was mean and her attitude was ugly. But when I got to the part about her crying at the sight of Courtny's picture, I felt so sorry for her. Although I am wondering why Courtne ...more
Nov 30, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to Katherine Patterson for presenting a main character who is unlikeable and likeable. That's a tough thing to pull off. Gilly's character felt very real to me.

Here are some quotes that resonated with me:
"Though it was hard to ignore her the rest of the way to the school, Gilly managed by putting on her celebrity-in-a-parade face, staring glassy-eyed far into the crowd, blanking out everything within close range."

"It occurred to her that if she could get sick, too, no one would blame her
Kerri (Book Hoarder)
This is one of my absolute favourite books. I remember reading it over and over again, though it took me forever to get into because of the cover!

This is one of those books I highly recommend because it's so touching and bittersweet. It's not an easy story - Gilly is angry at the world, bitter and lonely, and she lashes out more than once. She's not an easy character to like, love or empathise with, even though she's been through so much - she's cruel and pushes everyone away as hard as she can,
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From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted t
More about Katherine Paterson...

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“If life is so bad, how come you’re so happy?” “Did I say bad? I said it was tough. Nothing to make you happy like doing good on a tough job, now is there?” 6 likes
“I ain’t got no blood claim on you, and the Lord in Heaven knows I want you to have a good life with your own people. But”—her huge bass voice broke up into little squeaky pieces—“but it’s killing me to see you go.” 3 likes
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