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The Great Gilly Hopkins

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,852 Ratings  ·  782 Reviews
Watch out world!
The Great Gilly Hopkins is looking for a home. She's a foster kid who's been angry, lonely, and hurting for so long that's she's always ready for a fight. Be on the lookout for her best barracuda smile, the one she saves for well-meaning social workers. Watch out for her most fearful look, a cross between Dracula and Godzilla, used especially to scare shy f
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published 1996 by Heinemann Educational (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.

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May 15, 2015 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
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
Lisa Rathbun
Dec 14, 2014 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
Rain Misoa
May 13, 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
Sep 06, 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
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.
May 21, 2013 Tina rated it liked it
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)
Tory Anderson
Sep 30, 2015 Tory Anderson rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 05, 2009 Nmck rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 15, 2015 Friday rated it it was ok
and the best mom award goes to...
Lauren DeStefano
Nov 11, 2010 Lauren DeStefano rated it it was amazing
Read this when I was in fourth grade and completely loved it. If I recall, the assignment was to read a chapter a night, but I read most of the book in one day.
Nov 15, 2014 Kary rated it it was amazing
I read this all in one sitting...and cried. If you're looking for a happy ending, don't pick this one up. Like Paterson's other well-known novel, Bridge to Terabithia, this is beautiful, but heart-breaking. But, this book does paint a very accurate picture of foster care. Gilly is a hardened foster kid - foul mouthed, racist, manipulative, and a thief to boot. She has been bounced from one home to another after being abandoned by her hippie mother. She has learned to "protect" herself from getti ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
I'm pretty sure that Katherine Patterson can only write great stories. Her characters are always real, and they deal with real problems, and the relationships are always wonderful!
The protagonist here is Gilly Hopkins, an eleven-year-old foster child who believes that her mother loves her and wants to be with her, but in the meantime, she hops from home to home and is an awful brat. She ends up at a unique home with Ms. Trotter, a fat, single woman who has been taking care of foster children for
This was another tutoring read, and it sparked quite a lot of interesting discussion between me and my student. She enjoyed reading it a lot, and I hardly had to push her to read at all, which was a pleasant surprise.

The main character, Galadriel "Gilly" Hopkins is tough, angry, and brilliant. She's a foster child who's been shuffled around too many homes before she ends up at Maime Trotter's. Gilly is a fascinating character, a girl who is at once so jaded and yet so full of hope and romance. H
Sep 24, 2011 Leeann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 1978, so when I used it in my 7th grade class I found there were a few disconnects with the kids.

First of all, there is some sensitivity training when teaching this book....Gilly is a foster child who has been moved around a lot, so she has a lot of anger and mistrust...

She also has some issues with being racist. She uses the term "colored" and tells about 1/2 her class being black, and her teacher is black as well. It isn't until the middle of the book that she reali
Connie  Kuntz
Apr 25, 2013 Connie Kuntz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this one aloud to the kids. The experience was simultaneously hilarious and cringe-inducing. The reason? Well, Gilly (title character, short for Galadriel) swears. She swears a lot. She's also a racist, a liar, and a thief. She is judgmental and she's manipulative. There's more: she makes fun of blind people, overweight people, and slow people. She's sarcastic, she's angry, and she's mean. In short, she sucks. But not really.

If you can stand all that tension, you will be rewarded with a w
Nov 17, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gilly Hopkins has been shuffled around from one foster home to the next. She is a a foul-mouthed eleven year old who is really rough around the edges. She does not trust anyone (especially adults) because of the many broken promises she has experienced. As a result of her difficult life she has a hard time attaching herself to people, which includes making friends at school.

I liked Gilly because although she is rough and tough, she is still an eleven year old kid. Her life has not been easy by a
Feb 23, 2009 Rian rated it really liked it
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 10, 2008 Nathalie rated it really liked it
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
The Cheap Reader
Jan 12, 2012 The Cheap Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I haven't read this book in a really long time. Since elementary school? Possibly middle school? As a result I didn't remember much about the book. I just knew I enjoyed it as a kid. I was impressed that I still enjoyed this book as an adult. Some books lose their "magic" when you revisit them with a different frame of reference.

Possibly because I'm fuddy-duddy but I was pretty shocked at the language/content in this book. I don't remember the language being bad when I read it as a kid. Obviousl
Dec 01, 2010 Rosibel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Have you ever wonder how does it feel being in foster care? Or even being a foster child? Have you ever felt destroyed being apart from your family? Well In the book “THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS “ BY: Katherine Paterson the main character knows how it feels.

In “The Great Gilly Hopkings “by: Katherine Paterson starts with an eleven years old foster child Gilly Hopkins who wish she could get out of foster care and go back having a real family, but Gilly doesn’t know were her mother is at right now.
This is realistic fiction with a vengence! Any writer who feels pressured to end their book with a happy ending needs to read Gilly Hopkins first. I started out this book rather ambivalently. Gilly is one angry little girl (though, really, who can blame her), and reading her thoughts and moods in the first-person omnicient narrative voice was at first a little intense. It just wasn't what I was expecting, I guess. (Also, because this book was written in 1978 there is some pretty serious discussi ...more
Willie Butts
Jun 12, 2010 Willie Butts rated it it was ok
Shelves: eng-353
Although this novel is comical at times when I look below the surface of this novel and look a little dipper I believe that the author is bringing to light a problem that we have in our foster care system, children are being passed along from one family to another never having a sense of security, comfort or happiness, left to their own devices as they attempt to survive in a world that do not love or care for them.
The setting for this novel seems to represent how Gilly feel’s about life. After
Feb 02, 2013 Stacey rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
Gilly is a foster child who is being moved to a new foster house and family. Mrs. Trotter, William Ernest and the next door neighbor Mr. Randolph are here to help her with the most recent change. But all the while Gilly feels that she is just waiting and waiting for her mom, Courtney Rutherford Hopkins to come and pick her up. My cover has the saying, “Everyone wants a family and a place to call home.” And that is exactly what Gilly is looking for.
Starting this book I was somewhat interested, I
Feb 05, 2012 Callie rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 27, 2010 Joann rated it it was ok
I really did not like this book. I have a difficult time seeing its purpose or value. It was to me a glorification of a bully. The main character was rude, disrespectful, and often down right mean. I understand that the character had a hard life but why do authors feel that creating heroic figures out of characters with terrible attitudes is appropriate? Gilly never faces any direct consequences for her bad behavior and there never comes a point of personal improvement or change.

Perhaps I am jus
Lacey Heart
Oct 31, 2012 Lacey Heart rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't have any children of my own, but every once in a while I get on a YA reading kick. This summer, it's been a combination of recent Newbery Medal and Honor books and ones I remember reading when I was around eight or nine. Carl Hiaasen's Scat and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate were a delight; Jane-Emily was a disappointment.

So I was around eight or nine when I read The Great Gilly Hopkins. I remember being horrified at the life of a foster child in a filthy household. This was most
Jul 26, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main character of this book is Gilly a foster child who has been moved around a lot. She struggles with fears, anger, and feeling alone and unloved. She lies, steals, bullies other kids, is prejudiced, and uses profanity.

She learns to eventually trust and love her foster family before being removed to live with her grandmother. At the end of the book, she finally meets her biological mother only to find that her mother does not love her and is not interested in living with her.

This is a gre
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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
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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?” 2 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.” 1 likes
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