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The Great Gilly Hopkins

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  15,919 Ratings  ·  866 Reviews
An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly.
Paperback, 178 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Turtleback 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.

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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  ·  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 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  ·  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
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
Mar 21, 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
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)
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!
Lauren DeStefano
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.
Tory Anderson
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
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
Jul 24, 2009 Hillary rated it really liked it
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
Jan 29, 2015 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
Sep 24, 2016 Raevyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book broke my heart, both on its own merits and due to personal reasons. 4.5 stars
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!
Amy Brown
Sep 03, 2016 Amy Brown rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, children-ya
This book was lying around my house so I decided to read it as a quick palate cleanser between other, harder books. It made me cry my face off. I think that's Katherine Paterson's thing.

The protagonist, Galadriel "Gilly" Hopkins, is rather a horrible child. Abandoned by her mother, she's been messed around by the system and various nasty foster parents until she's almost a lost cause. Her social worker finally puts her with Trotter, the foster mother of last resort. Trotter is a huge, messy woma
and the best mom award goes to...
Jun 26, 2015 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Did this one make you cry, too? Ugh.
Melanie Page
Update: 2/12. I finished reading Gilly to my husband. I think he was both happy and totally heartbroken with the ending. I thought the book was even more powerful now than it was when I was a girl. I am going to write a blog post soon about these "wild" adolescent girl novels that I love, and Gilly will be on the list. I'm also thinking I'm going to avoid the film that's due out soon. The actress playing Gilly was 15, not 11 or 12, like the Gilly in the book. Massive differences in those ages, d ...more
Nov 15, 2014 Kary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it
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  ·  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 10, 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
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
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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?” 5 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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