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Hope in a Jar

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  6,990 ratings  ·  539 reviews
Twenty years ago, Allie Denty was the pretty one and her best friend Olivia Pelham was the smart one. Throughout high school, they were inseparable…until a vicious rumor about Olivia— a rumor too close to the truth—ended their friendship.

Now, on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, Allie, a temp worker, finds herself suddenly single, a little chubby, and feeli
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published April 1st 2009)
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Princess for Hire by Lindsey LeavittFree Gift with Purchase by Jackie PilossophHope in a Jar by Beth HarbisonThe Haunted by Jessica VerdayNames My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane
Cosmetics on the Cover
3rd out of 60 books — 3 voters
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Community Reviews

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This book could have been a three, but for one ironic event alone.

Spoiler Alert:
In the opening chapter/lines of the book the main character, Allie, walks in on her boyfriend cheating on her. The opening line is "The only thing worse than finding out your boyfriend is cheating on you with a beautiful woman is finding out he's cheating on you with an average woman." I laughed and chuckled and was instantly hooked.

The writing throughout the book was mediocre, but there were these one liners that w
First and foremost, I do not read chick lit on a regular basis, but I was at a point that I needed some fluff, and Hope in a Jar delivered that and more.

For me, Hope in a Jar was like devouring an entire box of those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and dousing them down with a sugar and caffeine laden Dr. Pepper, which is something I hadn't let myself have in years. Full of empty calories, but yet tasted so good and so familiar, it was a wonderful treat while it lasted. The pop culture referenc
This is by far Harbison's BEST book to date.

Hope in a Jar starts out with a bang just like all of Harbison's books do. The difference with Hope in a Jar is that the book just keeps getting better and better.

The plot of the mysterious death of friendship between best friends, the too-good-to-be-true guy friend, and the rivalry between classmates which reignites at a 20 year high school reunion is handled well by Harbison.

The parallel plot lines between the past and the present work well and inc
Maureen Ann
I feel as if I have been reading books that are entirely predictable lately, and this book was no exception. What made this book a standout, however, was the use of the past and the present and Harbison's ability to weave the two together. It is the story of two childhood best friends who have a large fight senior year of high school. Fast forward 20 years and the two have not spoken since, but they both remain friends with Noah, another classmate. Noah sets it up for the two former best friends ...more
Love Fool
Twenty years ago, Allie Denty was the pretty one and her best friend Olivia Pelham was the smart one. Throughout high school, they were inseparable…until a vicious rumor about Olivia— a rumor too close to the truth—ended their friendship.

Now, on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, Allie, a temp worker, finds herself suddenly single, a little chubby, and feeling old. Olivia, a cool and successful magazine beauty editor in New York, realizes she’s lonely, and is finally ready to face
Jennifer Fisher
This book reminds me very much so of a Sophia Kinsella book, just set in US. I started off SO very slow, therefore I was only reading about a chapter a night, which got to be confusing. This is because each chapter is a trade off between two characters, Olivia and Allie. One chapter will be Allie's POV, then the next will flash to their childhood, then the next will be whatever is going on with Olivia. I would definitely suggest to be able to tackle about 2-3 chapters at a time, or dedicate your ...more
Aug 23, 2010 Stina rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This book was weird...

I feel like the author was so hell bent on making sure that she could incorporate nostalgic products from her youth that she forgot to develop characters that anyone would give a shit about. Also, she could have used Lip Smackers and Love's Baby Soft and STILL had characters who were closer to 28 than 38. I had a hard time envisioning these morons being close to 40 years old.

The drama was stupid... I read a lot of chick lit and I can't stand the unresolved fight... "______
I was quite disappointed in this book. The heroine and three other classmates meet up at their 20th high school reunion. None of them are married. The heroine does temp work, just dumped her cheating boyfriend, and doesn't seem to have a life. The plot might have worked had the characters been 23 or maybe even 28, but 38? I kept thinking how immature they were, especially the heroine and the villain. I've read other chick lit and thought the characters had deeper issues. Also, the ending was qui ...more
I was kind of disappointed by this book. After reading Beth Harbison's Shoe Adicts Anonymous, I thought for sure I'd found a new author who I'd love all her work. Maybe I hoped for something too similar to the first book, and would fare better reading her second novel, Secrets of a Shoe Addict. Despite its title, "Hope" in a Jar, this book was a little bit of a downer. I suppose I give Ms. Harbison credit for tackling some deeper and tougher issues, but I found its efforts to do so combined with ...more
In her latest novel, Harbison taps into the universal fear of having to attend one’s 20-year High School Reunion when your life is far from what you’d envisioned it would be at graduation. When she discovers her live-in boyfriend in the arms of another, Allie Denton takes a serious look at where her 38 years have gotten her: working unsatisfying jobs through a Temp agency, fifteen pounds overweight, and now, single again. To make matters worse, her best friend from high school, Olivia, shows up ...more
4.5 stars really. I bought this book for $2.99 because of an after-holiday sale on the barnes and noble website. I bought it because it sounded semi-interesting but kind of like a soap opera. Which it was. However, I found myself really enjoying it. At some points I couldn't even put it down. I spent most of the day yesterday reading it. It's interesting how 20 years after their high school graduation Olivia and Allie have pretty much traded places. I really enjoyed the flashbacks of Allie, Oliv ...more
2.5 stars
I was looking for some light chick lit, but didn't enjoy this one as much as other books by Beth Harbison. I felt like the characters did not act their supposed ages. As it was their 20 year high school reunion, they'd be 38 years old. I felt like their actions were more like those of 28-year-olds. The only thing that would have needed to change were some of the references to beauty products from their teens and make it a 10 year reunion. Also, while I definitely believe that a fight in
I don't have high expectations here . . . just wanted a light book. I read Shoe Addicts Anonymous in one sitting on a flight from UT to FL so I expect I'll have this one finished up quickly.

Well, I was right (above) - super fast read (I started it on Wednesday night and finished it Thursday) and I'm glad I didn't have high expectations. It was cute but sooooo predictable. Total chick lit! Even though the characters were 38 years old, I felt old reading it - like it was meant for someone in her 2

Hope in a Jar was a fun book to read. The chapters alternated between present day and the old school days for Allie and Olivia. The chapters of school days were fun to read as a lot of my memories are similar to that of Allie. From the posters hanging on the wall to the trips to Woolsworths (are there any Woolsworths left these days?) it was a fun read. Allie and Olivia are both enjoyable characters and I could see myself being friends with them, both in s
Kelly Keefe
To be fair I probably would have given this book a 3.5 instead of a 3. It just was't anything all that special. It was a let down for me. I was very excited to read this book after reading an excerpt in Cosmo and another friends positive review but it just didnt live up to the hype for me. I don't feel like any of the characters was really developed well enough and the book just ended to quickly. She wrapped up a 300 some odd page book with not nearly enough pages or thought. I didnt hate the bo ...more
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Reem S 240521
Hope in jar is a novel wrote by Beth Harbison. It takes about two girls Allie Denty and her best friend Olivia Pelham when they were in high school means that before twenty years. Allie was the pretty one and Olivia was the smart one in their school but because of a vicious rumor about Olivia they broke down the relationship and ended. It is happy and sad on the same time. It is interesting and lovely novel.
Allie Denty is preparing for her 20 year high school reunion and she's not looking forward to it. In high school, she was the "pretty one" and now she's put on weight, doesn't have a job or a relationship and is feeling pretty low.

Olivia Pelham was the "smart one" and hasn't been back to town since she left after a viscous rumor too close to the truth ended her friendship with Allie.

Noah is Allie's best friend who is currently involved with her arch enemy from high school and has maneuvered both
This was a very funny, light story that really made me laugh. Having been to my 10, 20 AND 30 high school reunions, I totally related to the emotions and concerns of the characters. I thought Beth did a very good job developing the characters and building a believable and funny story.

It was sad that the girls broke up their friendship and a little unbelievable that Olivia did not believe Allie in high school but rather broke up with her instead. It seems to me that as close a relationship as th
Mary (BookHounds)
Pitch perfect Chick Lit. This had everything that makes it a perfect read for the summer with believable characters and plot. Well, OK, it could happen. I don't know if it ever did, but most romances don't have evil female lawyers in them. I can actually believe this might be true though.
I really enjoyed how this story unfolded up until the last 50 pages or so where everything happened way to suddenly and kinda fell apart. All in all the first 4/5ths were very enjoyable and I recommend it as a good read.
A really sweet book about a girl who has been in love with her best friend for 20 years, and he with her, but they never admit it. And two friends who lost their friendship for 20 years and find it again. So good.
I surprisingly liked this novel. I loved all of the 80's references and the author got most of her research correct. I am the same age as the main character and all of her boy crushes were before my time. Little details like that were irksome, but the advertising jingles at the beginning of each chapter were entertaining. As a whole, I thought the author conveyed the nuances of pre-pubescent friendship exceptionally well. Romantic relationships seemed a little out of her forte- or she just has o ...more
Goodreads Description- Twenty years ago, Allie Denty was the pretty one and her best friend Olivia Pelham was the smart one. Throughout high school, they were inseparable…until a vicious rumor about Olivia— a rumor too close to the truth—ended their friendship.
Now, on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, Allie, a temp worker, finds herself suddenly single, a little chubby, and feeling old. Olivia, a cool and successful magazine beauty editor in New York, realizes she’s lonely, and is
Stephanie (StephTheBookworm)
Allie is a 38 year old temp worker. The book starts with Allie discovering her boyfriend in bed with another woman. She kicks him out immediately but realizes she didn’t love him anyways, that she was just with him out of fear of being alone. Shortly after, she attends her 20th high school reunion where she awkwardly runs into her former best friend Olivia, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years (the novel later reveals what caused their friendship to end). When her and Olivia discover that their mu ...more

This is one of those books I would describe as "comforting," akin to a well worn tee shirt, or yoga pants. It has relate-able characters who you instantly like, antagonists who you instantly hate, and a love story that is all sorts of fantastic. Romance, like a navy blazer, never goes out of style. It is a story of two best friends who meet again after a twenty-year reunion, mindful of the fact that they had a following out years before, without getting an
Allie Smith
Hope in a Jar, by Sarah Harbison is an age old story of high school rivalry and unrequited love. Yet, under Harbison’s unique hand, this book had clever originality, even though some of the characters were recognizable from your own yearbook.

Allie and Olivia were best friends throughout middle school and high school, until a falling out senior year, which was never resolved. Their lives after high school took divergent paths, until their 20th reunion. The unlikely and unfortunate engagement o f
HOPE IN A JAR by Beth Harbison

My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for this book, but I feel that it fell a bit flat. I know it's meant to be about friendship enduring, and finding happiness with yourself, but all I saw was product placement and a mediocre story. I don't see why it was necessary to name dozens of specific beauty products (it's not "mascara", it's "the new curved brush turbo lash mascara from Maybelline", or something along those lines), it felt like the products were more important than
Beth Pearson
Received this book as a gift and loved the story line. It's a story about friendship--between girls and boys and girls, and the insecurities you carry with you from high school into adulthood, and if true change is possible, risking your dreams or settling, surviving and still nurturing a relationship with dysfunctional parents, and even how well beauty products work to help us find our Ideal Selves. I enjoyed all the lines that started each chapter that were from the commercials of my childhood ...more
Kate  Maxwell
Even though it took me a while to finish listening to this book, I really enjoyed the story. It was very well-paced, the characters were quite believable and each one of them different (why is that so difficult for some writers?), and it ended well.

The book alternates some of the chapters between present day and the past. The focus is on the friendship of Olivia and Allison, how they were in school together, and them re-connecting at their twenty year high school reunion. Roles were reversed but
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Beth Harbison grew up in Potomac, Maryland, in the shadow of Washington, D.C. Apart from the occasional irritation at being held up in traffic by a presidential motorcade, she has remained fairly uninvolved in the politics that define her home town.

More about Beth Harbison...
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“Well, that's what everyone wants, isn't it? Even these people who go out and have their noses shaved down to pencil erasers, and who get implants, and fillers, and who Botox their faces into immobility, they're all in search of the miracle that's going to make them feel like..." She searched for the word. "Like themselves.” 1 likes
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