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The Great Gilly Hopkins

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  21,182 ratings  ·  1,332 reviews
Watch out world!
The Great Gilly Hopkins is looking for a home. She's a foster kid who's been angry, lonely, and hurting for so long that's she's always ready for a fight. Be on the lookout for her best barracuda smile, the one she saves for well-meaning social workers. Watch out for her most fearful look, a cross between Dracula and Godzilla, used especially to scare shy f
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published 1996 by Heinemann Educational (first published March 29th 1978)
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Popular Answered Questions
Justice hard G. Narrator Roy Dotrice couldn't grasp that, so like many other names, he destroys it.
Sylvia Gilly made some racist comments. Maybe that's why (besides the swear-words).

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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,182 ratings  ·  1,332 reviews

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Jan 06, 2009 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
This is a book with honesty and heart. Gilly is no angel - she's tough. She wants her mom. Gilly is in the foster care system and she feels you have to be tough to survive life; you can't need anyone's help. She is smart and capable and she knows it and she also knows how to use that as a weapon.

This book was powerful and it moved me. I was brought into a way of life not my own. I think this is a fantastic book. Well written, strong characters and a subject matter would could all do with knowing
Rain Misoa
May 12, 2011 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
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 and ...more
Sad, realistic tale of an eleven year-old girl flung from one foster home to another, with predictable results on her psyche. The author doesn’t sugar-coat things or give in to sentimentality (except for the little bits that incorporate Wordsworth’s poem “Ode to Immortality”). The anger of the abandoned, neglected girl is the prevalent tone, with dialogue and monologues peppered with words like “hell”, “goddamn” and “retard” at staccato speed. There is also racism (Gilly is loathe to touch the h ...more
Apr 18, 2009 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
4 stars!

11 year-old Galadriel Hopkins (AKA Gilly) is a pretty Mean girl.

Gilly is Arrogant, Racist, Self-centered, Closed off to others and pretty Tough. But, she's also very Bright.

The book stars with Gilly moving onto her 3rd foster home (in the last 3 years)... Onto the home of old, fat Maime Trotter and small, shy, not seemingly very smart, 7-year-old William Ernest.

Gilly knows how to roll, how to deal with new foster homes and schools - she's done it for ages! (since she was 3) - she knows
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Terrible. Excessive profanity, a misbehaving main character, religion bashing, and an ending that was way too pat.
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tory C.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Rebecca McNutt
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Did this one make you cry, too? Ugh.
C.G. Drews
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
Leah Agirlandaboy
Jul 10, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
Hmm. Well. I didn’t really like this. Gilly was downright awful, and while I thought it would be kind of a charming reverse-Pollyanna situation, the ratio of horrible Gilly to redeemed Gilly was way, way off. She was a product of her circumstances, sure, but I felt like that might not be apparent to younger readers, AND no character ever stepped in to say, “Hey, let’s not use the n-word and the r-word,” etc. The other characters mostly just shrug, which I found super bizarre for a kids book. Lot ...more
Christopher Hicks
Jan 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was so completely depressing. At first I couldn't stand this little girl. She was so mean and horrible. Then I realized hurting people hurt people so I felt sorry for her and hoped someone would love her. It showed a glimmer of hope that she would be Happy then it all went downhill. I read this for a Y A book club. I would Never recommend this book to any child. It's just a waste of time.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I purposely went into this popular children's story blind. I'm glad because I didn't have any preconceived ideas going into it. Gilly was not a likeable main character but as all educators know, children who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving ways. I loved Gilly's makeshift family. They weren't what she envisioned but they give her the love and support she was desperately craving. I was let down by the ending. I understand why Paterson chose it, it's just not the ending most read ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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)
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 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
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, childhood-books, youth
This was/is one of my favorite childhood books, and I really wanted to reread & understand it from an adults perspective.
Perspective-wise, the story seems to change for child vs adult.
What really stood out to me as a child was her rough demeanor and even idolized her a little.
Feelings while reading this as a child were largely astonishment, admiration & a little sadness for the main character, Gilly.
As an adult, understanding better her actions, it's mostly pity but still admiration for her str
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, children-s
Man, it has been a long time since I have read this. It was a great listen today at work. Listening today as an adult, my favorite line in this heart wrenching book is when Gilly finally sees the mother who abandoned her and thinks to herself that her dreams of her mother are shattered and her mother is nothing more than a "a flower child gone to seed." God Bless Gilly and all the children in the world out there who are living in her same circumstances.
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2020 Popsugar Challenge-Read a banned book during Banned Books Week

This book has been challenged/banned for strong language and racist content.

Language. Gilly is angry through much of the book and it comes out in her behavior and the way she talks. Her language feels true to life to me for a girl in her situation.

Racist Comments. Yes, they are there. They illustrate Gilly's defensive nature and lack of understanding. There are also comments about overweight people and Gilly uses the "r" word in
Cynthia Egbert
This is also a revisit due to a class requirement. This is not one that I was looking forward to revisiting. This is one of the most depressing books that I have ever read. That has not changed since I read it back in 2015. It is an important book that opens up great discussion but it hurts my heart and it stays with me. I suppose that is the whole idea...
Linda Williams Jackson
The first time I tried to read this book, I hated it and stopped reading after a few chapters. The next few times I tried to read this book, I still hated it and, again, stopped after a few chapters. I skipped to the end and was glad that Gilly had gotten what she deserved.

So tell me why, after all those attempts, I went back to this book in an attempt to read it AGAIN. I guess the umpteenth time must be the charm, or perhaps I have grown as a reader and have learned not to judge the whole book
One of the meh-est of meh books I've ever read.

I read lots of reviews where people either LOVED it so much and thought Gilly was just the best or HATED Gilly and thought she was a little racist brat. (Which, to be fair, she kinda was.)

I didn't feel any strong emotions either way. I think that has to do with a couple of reasons. Anyone that's been following my reviews, has probably noticed a whole slew of Newberry books come through. I'm currently working on reading all the medal and honor book
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
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
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
I am really curious as to how this will be presented on the screen. Really looking forward to finding out!

Review to come!
Fern Kuntz
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This book starts with the main character, (Galadriel Hopkins) riding in a car on her way to a new foster home. She is already known as “Gruesome Gilly” throughout the foster care system.

When they get to their destination, a woman opens the door, with a little boy behind her. The woman’s name is Maime Trotter. Trotter calls her Gilly, because her actual name is too hard to pronounce. She goes by Gilly most of the time anyway. Gilly calls Maime Trotter, Trotter just because.

The woman introduces
Anne Snyder
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Touching story about a foster child and how important that humans not be just disposable.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book has the same general premise as Anne of Green Gables, minus the humor, beautiful scenery, and a main character who is likeable and grows through her mistakes.
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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

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