Hope and Other Punchlines

Sometimes a book falls into your life at completely the right time.  Reading Hope and Other Punchlines, particularly this week, has been emotional, at times bittersweet, and ultimately hopeful.

Abbi Hope Goldstein was the focus of an iconic photograph taken outside the Twin Towers on 9/11 when she was just a year old.  Clutching a red balloon and wearing a construction paper crown, she is being carried to safety by her daycare provider.  The photo, named Baby Hope, became a touchstone for Americans, even years after the attacks.
Abbi is used to people meeting her and crying from the emotions the reminders of the day bring.

But for one summer, Abbi craves anonymity, a chance to just be “Abbi” instead of Baby Hope.  She takes a job as a junior counselor at a summer camp a few towns over, just to make sure nobody knows who she is. Unfortunately, wanna-be comic Noah has also taken a job there.  He also goes to her high school and has always wanted to have a chance to talk to Baby Hope.  In fact, he has a mission that makes him determined to get her help.  Noah is convinced that one of the unidentified men in the photo is his father, Jason, who never returned after that fateful day.  But, if Jason is in the picture, is it possible that he is alive?

Noah and Abbi become uneasy allies who soon discover they actually really like to be around each other.  As their shy romance tries to take spark, both teens have a tendency to overthink their every move.  Then, when two revelations show them how 9/11 will always be in their lives, they have to figure out a way to have and honor the past, while continuing to hope for the future.

OUTSTANDING.  Highly recommended.  I am booktalking this one to all the MS ELA students.

Check it out here.