Tag: Realistic FIction

Jessica’s Thoughts on Hope and Other Punchlines

Kim read and reviewed this one a few months back and her review caused me to want to read it! My local library had it available on audiobook, and I was able to listen to it.

Kim’s review is here.

Hope and Other Punch Lines
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Published: May 7, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 25- October 4, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

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?

Jessica’s Review

All I can say about this book is this: WOW. September 11, 2001 is a day we will always remember as it is the day that changed the entire world: It was my senior year of college and I was in an 8am class. We had no idea that anything had happened until people started showing up for the 9:15 class. We still had that class but then I ran to my dorm room and saw the second building fall. I ran to the campus safety class where I was a student worker as ‘my boss’ the campus safety director was from New York. I spent the rest of the day in the Student Union Building. 

Hope and Other Punch Lines  is a powerful book that talks about that day and its aftermath.  Abbi Hope Goldstein is “Baby Hope” who was one year old at the time of the attacks. She is ‘famous’ for a picture that was taken of her while in the background one of the World Trade Center buildings is collapsing.

Abbi just wants to live as normal a life as possible despite being sick at times and not being recognized for this picture she had no control of.  She is trying to have a normal summer being a camp counselor when she is recognized as Baby Hope by Noah. The two team up to find out more about the picture of Baby Hope as Noah also experienced tragedy on that day that he will also not remember.  As they work together they discover things they never even imagined possible.

Hope and Other Punch Line is very powerful for those who experienced 9/11 and will also help those who will only learn about that terrible day from history books.  We see the attitude difference just 15 years makes between those who lived it and those who have to learn about it. 

I did not cry while listening to the audiobook, but you can’t help but remember that day and the emotions you felt, and characters in the book experience these same emotions.

This is a book everyone should read. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Michigan vs The Boys


Author: Carrie S. Allen
To Be Published: October 1, 2019
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 8-12, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.

Jessica’s Review:

Michigan vs The Boys is not a light – hearted read. It is a realistic portrayal of a teen girl joining a boys’ team and the consequences of that (positive, yet mainly negative).  This is a novel about a girl and girl empowerment. You can’t help but root for Michigan to succeed despite the many setbacks that occur from her own ‘team mates’. 

Michigan is a strong female character who goes through many emotions and experiences. I hated she kept silent throughout most of the abuse she endured.   She is great at hockey and did everything to stay on the team, which included keeping quiet as long as she could. There is also a sweet romance that doesn’t take away from the story. 

I did not like the coach. Yes, he put her on the team, but it was obviously not willingly.    A coach should be someone you should be able to come to in times of trouble, but he was not that for Michigan.  To me, he was just as bad as the boys were and most of the problem.  He did not support Michigan.  For example: making her change into her uniform in a broom closet!?!? Come on, there has to be a girl’s changing room somewhere in the school.  After all, there are still girl’s teams in the school, just not a hockey team anymore. And extreme rules that only applied to her?  It seemed that coach did everything he could to keep her out of the team. 

You know an assault is coming while reading as it is mentioned in the book description, but for me an assault happened more than once.  I was expecting something graphic, but it was not, yet still achieved what it meant to.

I would love to see another book with Michigan, to see what happens next in her life.  

Allen worked in sports medicine and knows her sports lingo!  I did not understand all of the vernacular, but she gets the point across.

I would recommend this for older teens (14+)  due to the violence against Michigan along with some foul language and extensive mentions of teen drinking.  This is an important book that should be read.   

Many thanks to KCP Loft for my arc copy that I was sent. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK  

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Hope and Other Punchlines

Author: Julie Buxbaum
Published: May 7, 2019
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

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?

Kim’s Review:

I read the description while browsing the books in Target and I was just fascinated. When I was teaching in Hawaii, I would make sure to do a special lesson every year on 9/11. I realized that my students were the very last of the kids who were born right before September 11, yet they weren’t old enough to remember what happened that day. I’m pretty sure that most of our followers at Jessica’s Reading Room are old enough to remember what happened and we all remember exactly where we were when we found out about the attacks:

I was in Mrs. Hand’s 8th grade English class. Then we all trekked across campus for chapel where we had a school wide prayer meeting. Later that night, my mom admitted that she thought it was a prank when she heard it on the radio but when she realized it was serious, she wanted to come pick us up right away from school. Everybody meeting in a huge building like the Founders Memorial Amphitorium didn’t sound like such a hot idea that day. We all have stories and memories that stick in our brains down to the smallest details.

This book is about a baby who was photographed being saved from one of the towers; the photo made her famous and she doesn’t remember a thing. She then has to learn to navigate her life around this photo, dealing with people who draw hope from it, even when she was too young to have any idea of what was happening. I very much liked the perspective of the younger kids who lived through it, but don’t remember. This is such a great book to have in high school classrooms and would be a great teaching tool. While it doesn’t focus on the details of the attack, it does give an in-depth look at the aftermath.

Believe it or not, this was not an ugly cry book for me. I did get misty and my heart definitely warmed. I liked this book a lot and I would absolutely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

 

 

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