Sierra's Reviews > Hope Was Here

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
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May 04, 2010

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Read in May, 2010

I'm disappointed to give this book three stars, because I was very optimistic about it being at least a "four starer." It has a winning formula for success; for instance, it received the Newberry Honor, it was written by someone with a decent sense of humor, it was endorsed by a literature savvy friend of mine, and it has a cool cover. Plus, it is about a server in a restaurant, so I planned on being deeply empathetic with the narrator for her patience with the endless plights of the waitress. However, I found this book fairly generic, wildly predictable, and totally unbelievable. Furthermore, I have discovered a new literary pet peeve after the Sarah Dessen tradition: I cannot stand when an author finds a winning formula and then tweaks each subsequent book's details very slightly, but sticks within the "winning formula" realm, and deviates very little from plot and character development. I read Peeled, by the same author, and was disappointed to find nearly the same exact story. I even wondered if I was reading a series because the protagonists seemed so alarmingly similar in the two books. The plot line of Peeled was uncovering a large corporate scandal that involved the mayor. The plot line of Hope Was Here was uncovering a large political scandal that involved a corporation. I think I probably would have enjoyed these books if I hadn't read them in conjunction with one another.
That's not to say that this book was unpleasant. It actually was a pleasant read with some redeeming things about it. Bauer is a more comedic writer than some. Her characters are cute, although far too well behaved. It's a fun read, and a light read, and an easy read, but not the strongest bit of YA lit I have ever read.
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