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Hope Was Here (2001 Newbery Honor Book)
by Joan Bauer
ISBN 0698119517 / 9780698119512 / 0-698-11951-7
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Here's a book that's as warm and melty as a grilled Swiss on seven-grain bread, and just as wholesome and substantial. Ever since the boss promoted her from bus girl two and a half years ago when she was 14, Hope has been a waitress--and a darn good one, too. She takes pride in making people happy with good food, as does her aunt Addie, a diner cook extraordinaire. The two of them have been a pair ever since Hope's waitress mother abandoned her as a baby, and now they have come to rural Wisconsin to run the Welcome Stairways café for G.T. Stoop, who is dying of leukemia. But he's not dead yet, as the kindly and greathearted restaurant owner demonstrates when he decides to run for mayor against the wicked and corrupt Eli Millstone.
As old-fashioned goodness lines up against the bad guys, the campaign leads Hope in exciting new directions: a boyfriend who is a great grill man, a new sense of herself and her mission as a waitress, and--when Addie and G.T. finally realize that they are meant for each other--the father she has always wanted. And all of it backed up with stuffed pork tenderloin, butterscotch cream pie, and the rhythm of the short-order dance.
Joan Bauer, who won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Rules of the Road, has served up a delicious novel in Hope Was Here, full of delectable characters, tasty wit, and deep-dish truth. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell [via]