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Hope in a Jar: A Novel
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Hope in a Jar: A Novel

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,143 Ratings  ·  590 Reviews

From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Secrets of a Shoe Addict comes a tale of old friends, new loves, and the undeniable power of a little face cream.

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 Olivi

Paperback, 340 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 2009)
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Nov 04, 2009 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Love Fool
Nov 25, 2014 Love Fool rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2009 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
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
Aug 23, 2010 Stina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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... "______
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
Jennifer Fisher
Aug 21, 2010 Jennifer Fisher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2010 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Katie Kenig
Nov 22, 2015 Katie Kenig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
This is a sweet, fluffy, caramel-sticky Chicklit book. If you like that sort of thing, this will be right up your alley. Sometimes, that's just what I want - sweetness and light and redemption through makeup and a new hair style. It makes life seem easy. It makes you appreciate your girly-girl friendships and the girls you tried on makeup with when you were 12.

“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
May 17, 2010 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, audiobooks
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
Jun 02, 2010 Krystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2015 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2013 Vicky rated it it was ok
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
Jan 28, 2011 Ann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2010 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Mar 12, 2014 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2016 Franny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought "Hope in a Jar" would complete my chick-lit, beach-read hat trick, but I was wrong. Reading it was just painful.

Apparently, Harbison's writing instructor told her that adding pop-culture and brand-name references would increase credibility and she took it to heart - so much so that I found myself counting the references per page as I read the book (maximum: 15 per page, average: 3-4 per page). If that wasn't enough, her protagonist and friends could easily be 20-somethings: never-marr
Hope in a Jar is my favorite Beth Harbison book from the three that I've read thus far! Like always, the author did a fantastic job introducing interesting characters in interesting situations - with the side of her signature wit, which I greatly enjoy. However, I did feel inclined to shave off a couple of stars from my rating because of Harbison's way to end her books very abruptly. Like "Shoe Addicts Anonymous" and "Thin, Rich, Pretty", "Hope in a Jar" wraps up disproportionately quickly, when ...more
Reem S 240521
Jun 08, 2013 Reem S 240521 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 09, 2014 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-chic-lit
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 probably a 3.5. It caught my interest right away and kept me interested the whole time. My main problem was that it's about 38 year olds and they go to their 20 year reunion and everything that happens seems for fitting for 28 year olds at a 10 year reunion. They were too old for the story. Other than that it was really enjoyable. Quick read too. A little language.
Mar 18, 2015 Alex rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Beth Harbison's books are always hit-or-miss with me, but I usually find them to be cute and mindless reads even when I don't necessarily love them. This one, however, was just plain awful.

To start with, there is no way these characters were almost 40 years old. They sounded as if they were 13, and I couldn't stand any of them.

Everything about this book was predictable and obvious, and (view spoiler)
Mar 18, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pure guilty pleasure chick lit read!

Allie and Olivia are best friends from middle school and through most of high school. At their 20th reunion they become reacquainted and fall back into a BFF pattern. A common male friend, Noah and the high school mean girl Vickie/Tori, who are now a couple, cause angst and plotting of the girls. Allie realizes she loves Noah and wants to save him from making a mistake. Predictable, but an entertaining story that alternates the 20 years.

One th
Mary (BookHounds)
Jul 18, 2009 Mary (BookHounds) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
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.
Jul 20, 2009 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-read
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.
Sep 18, 2013 Michelegg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cyndi McGinnes
More reasons to avoid high school reunions
Jun 04, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2015 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My fault for reading a book that celebrates makeup (I'm just not interested in makeup). But I also found the characters hard to like ... They were pretty whiney. But it was just a light read for a weekend trip and it served its purpose.

I ask myself, "Carol, why are you reading fluff?" And I know the answer right away. Because the world is going nuts. Because my kids are nuts. Because life is hard enough right now (and really, always). I'd appreciate my reading material to be very light on the d
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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.” 2 likes
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