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Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
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Hope hasn’t had an easy life. She was abandoned by her mother when she was a baby, and has lived with her Aunt Addie, a cook, since then moving from place to place in search of work. In her latest move, she and Addie left a great diner in Brooklyn to go to a small town in Wisconsin, when Addie’s business partner emptied the bank account forcing the diner to close. But in spite of hardships, Hope didn’t choose her name for nothing, and in Wisconsin she finds hope in a waitressing job at the Welcome Stairways Diner, and in friends with their own problems, like Braverman the cook, and G. T. Stoop who is running for mayor and fighting illness. Hope says: "You know what I like most about waitressing?  When I'm doing it, I'm not thinking that much about myself.  I'm thinking about other people.  I'm learning again and again what it takes to make a difference in other people's lives."
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