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The Great Gilly Hopkins

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  19,280 Ratings  ·  1,109 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 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.
Heidi The girl uses a lot of swear words (g-d, h-ll, d--m, n-g--r). I think that last one might be the reason. I listened to it on audio and they replaced…moreThe girl uses a lot of swear words (g-d, h-ll, d--m, n-g--r). I think that last one might be the reason. I listened to it on audio and they replaced that word with a lengthy description.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-45)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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 ...more
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, classics
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.
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)
Mar 18, 2016 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
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.
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!
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Did this one make you cry, too? Ugh.
Serisop (Cioccolatoelibri)
In realtà 4.5.

Dopo aver letto ed amato "Un ponte per Terabithia", non potevo non dare un'occasione anche a questo romanzo di Katherine Paterson.
La storia di Gilly Hopkins è particolare, profonda e soprattutto da comprendere. La nostra protagonista è un'orfana e passa da una famiglia ad un'altra con la stessa facilità con la quale si cambia i vestiti. Dice sempre che non le importa, che le piace cambiare, ma il suo disagio è palese a tutti.
Una bambina come Gilly ha semplicemente bisogno di attenz
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.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think that gilly has good reactions to things but the storyline isn't very well because to many good things happen to her and only in the beginning is the trouble and the best.she also puts a lot of things to the negative side.gilly also has to much diolouge and thinking but less also doesn't have much detail to know what time period. I think it's around late 1800 because gilly didn't say it was normal to invite th black over for a dinner.
This is one of the 'classic' children's books that was first published when I was young, yet I don't remember ever reading it. I'm always looking for classic books for the children's book club I facilitate at our local library, as I often include a couple of them on our reading list.

I first tried reading a paperback edition of this book back in 2014, but I never got around to finishing it. So as I was trying to go back and finish some of my 'currently reading' books, I rediscovered this book. (I
Apr 24, 2014 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
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Gilly, a very intelligent child, who has been in the system for years going from foster home to foster home, making her angry and a brat. She is determined to be with her mother who she believes loves her and wants her. She finds herself with Maime Trotter, the fat widow. William Earnest, 7, a mentally challenged boy along with the blind, black elderly man next door. The reader watches her grow both emotionally and socially. However, the story ends unsatisfactorily for me but I suppose realistic ...more
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!
Kris Patrick
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should say written by The Great Katherine Paterson.

I have to wonder would Gilly get published today? I love her foul mouth. When she says, "Dammit, Trotter. Don't try to make a stinking Christian out of me." I about died! That has to be one children literature's all time best lines.
Cynthia Egbert
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This is a sweet story about a brilliant young lady but it broke my heart and I am desperately trolling around now trying to find a book to read that will make me feel better.
- ̗̀ sab ̖́-
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two words, soul. Crushing.

I only finished it because it's short. I didn't really like the characters, plot, or writing. I'll probably still try the movie though.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
and the best mom award goes to...
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story is about twelve year old Galadriel (Gilly) Hopkins who is currently in the foster care system. She has already been through a few foster care homes and is being taken to another foster care home. She desperately has faith that her mom will appear one day and take her home. She idolized the thought of her mother and how perfect she was. She has been in the foster care system for about eight years. She is a very smart but manipulative girl who believes that she can break down anyone she ...more
My 6-year-old daughter and I found this to be an exceptional book. We listened to it on a road trip along with my mother who thought it was horrible because Gilly isn't the perfect little girl and has a mild potty mouth. But what makes the book so wonderful is that Gilly is realistic. The author has created a very true-to-life picture of a pre-teen girl who has become guarded and hardened by the foster care system. Because this is her 4th family in 4 years (by no fault of her own), she's decided ...more
Whew. This girl is a tough cookie. I just wanted to grab on to her and hug her. Gilly is a foster kid that has toughened herself up to survive the world she lives in. She sabotages her placements, making sure that people can't hurt her. She's racist, she's foul-mouthed, she's mean, and she's a thief. She's broken. She's wearing an armor a mile thick, and still hurts constantly because her mama doesn't want her.

Gilly finds herself in a foster placements with a family that starts to affect her a
Amy Brown
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya, fiction
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
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

Did you ever wonder how it feels to live in a foster house?

The Great Gilly Hopkins is a book about a foster girl that is desperately looking for her mom. Purposely she has a bad attitude about the foster homes because she wants to be reunited with her mother. Gilly causes these foster families to dislike her so that her mother could, hopefully, one day, come pick her up and take her to her ‘real house’. Right away when Gilly is sent to her newest foster home with Trotter (a fat religious lady) s
Denise Chojnacki
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can see why this book won a Newberry Award. The writing really is brilliant and the evolution of the characters into an ending I didn't expect was wonderful. I will say that I was considering this for a 5th grade read but there are a lot of elements in the book that could be questionable. For instance, Gilly says the word hell many times throughout this book. That's just one of several elements that I questioned. As an adult I understand where that was coming from given her situation, but not ...more
I thought I would hate the brash, loud-mouthed Gilly but I actually grew to like her and her politically incorrect views. I mean, she's a kid and has had a really rough go of her young life so far and her anger and distrust is understandable. She was real and she said things most people would have thought at least once, if in the same position as her. The story really does come full circle with Gilly having to accept that some things are out of her control even while she is beginning to learn to ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sebuah novel tentang 'beranjak dewasa' oleh Katherine Paterson (yang juga membuat, antara lain, Bridge to Terabithia) dan dialihbahasakan oleh penyair legendaris Sapardi Djoko Damono.

Saya sangat terkesan dengan versi film Terabithia, tapi karena belum baca novelnya, The Great Gilly Hopkins ini menjadi kali pertama saya membaca karya Mbak Katherine. Sesuai dugaan saya, langsung terasa cocok. Agak mengingatkan saya pada beberapa judul novel Judy Blume yang juga pernah diterbitkan di Indonesia: ga
3.5 Stars.

What to say, what to say? I liked the book a lot but the ending is terrible. Terrible in as much as the harsh realities of life were not what I was expecting. It's marketed as a children's book for goodness sake. I was expecting the typical we all lived happily ever after...and I should have known better, but that doesn't make it any better. I was practically in tears the last 5 chapters.

This is the story of Gilly Hopkins who is mad at the world. She is cruel, spiteful and mean. She
Jun 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
I hated this story!

Gilly is brash, mean, and insults others. You know that she creates trouble and appears tough because she is so hurt inside from wanting her biological mother, Courtney, to come get her from her new foster home.

Gilly is NOT a lovable character (even knowing why she does what she does) because of how she treats others. This includes her racism. Reading this story, I thought, "Well, at least you know there will be a happy ending of her realizing the love from and to her foster f
Melanie Page
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was a disappointment. Let's just say that I couldn't stand the "protagonist". Couldn't. Stand. Her. I mean seriously, how are readers supposed to sympathize and connect with her? She's an absolute jerk, she's almost unearthly mean to everyone who isn't her, she's a dreadful racist, an unforgiving tomboy, an outspoken atheist, a common liar, and a foul-mouthed brat. And she doesn't change that much by the end of the book either. Newbery honors? Nope. Also, I think a second star may hav ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
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 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
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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?” 7 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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