Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.
Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka “Baby Hope”) wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.
Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She’s psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.
Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it’s a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?
Hope and Other Punchlines was a buddy read that I completed with Alana @ The Bookish Chick. We were both punched in the feels with this one. We follow two characters, Abbi and Noah. They go to school together but ‘meet’ when they learn they’re both camp counselors at a summer camp. They join together on a mission to find one of the people in the background of ‘the baby hope’ photo. Though Abbi doesn’t know all of this. I didn’t like how Noah handled the part where he got Abbi to help him with this. It was kind of gross and make me not feel good. But he does manage to redeem himself as the story goes along.
I loved Abbi. She puts a face on to be the Baby Hope when people need her to. Because so many see her as a symbol. But she is also a person, and just wants to be a teenage girl. She was very mature for her age and I really enjoyed that. I completely adored her family. They were so loving and funny and I loved all the scenes with them. I really loved that despite her mom and dad were divorced, they were still basically best friends. It was just really heartwarming and pure.
Noah’s family was a little more complex. But by the end of the book, I loved them too. Noah gains a new appreciation for his family after he learns some secrets and that was my favorite part of his story. I think that part was well done.
I also adored Noah’s best friend Jack. He and Noah take Abbi into their group and the three of them were pretty hilarious. I just overall, really enjoyed this story. Alana and I somehow didn’t realize that we were buddy reading it on the anniversary of 9/11 but I’m glad that we accidentally planned it this way. It gave me all the feels and absolutely made me cry in a few parts. It wasn’t a story that made light of 9/11 but rather showed a different aspect that most people probably wouldn’t even think about. Hope and Other Punchlines was well written and punched me in the feels. I definitely think it’s one that everyone should read.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.