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Sometimes we need an idealist in our lives. Hope lives with her aunt Addie, who has cared for her since Hope was abandoned by her mother when she was a baby. Since then they have been traveling around the country, Addie cooking and Hope waitressing as soon as she was old enough. They finally felt settled in Brooklyn, until their world was stolen from under their feet. Now they're are moving again, to a small town in Mulhoney, Wisconsin.
Hope is far from a spoiled child, but she misses big city life, her friends, sushi, everything that Mulhoney doesn't have. But life gets more interesting as the owner of the restaurant, a kind-hearted man who is battling leukemia, decides to use his last few months well and runs for mayor. It's a small town, but people fight dirty, and Hope has to keep her spirits up as the race is on.
I loved this book when I was about 15 years old. Hope was brilliant and fearless despite her flaws. I was completely enamoured by her idealism and the character of people in this book. Here is a story about people who are let down by life, yet really make something of themselves. It was inspiring, and an awesome book for a shy teen to read.
Now, not-too-many-years-later, it stands up to the re-read. Sure, it's not as an intense as I remember, nor as heartbreaking. The characters are more abstract now, the antagonist is a little more caricatured, and the storyline is a bit unbelievable. But at its core is an idealistic story about doing good with your life, helping others, and staying, well, hopeful.”