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Hope and Other Punchlines

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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 attac 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?


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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 attac 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?

30 review for Hope and Other Punchlines

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Is it tacky to review your own novel? Probably! But alas I wrote this book, and it's the one that almost killed me, and took a whole year longer than it was supposed to, and I'm super ridiculously proud of it, so I'm giving myself FIVE STARS. I truly hope you like it too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    "I know better than anyone that you can't always draw a straight line from the who you once were to the who you are now." Abbi Hope Goldstein celebrated her first birthday on September 11, 2001. While that doesn't make her completely unique, one fact does: on that fateful day, a photographer captured her, wearing a birthday crown and holding a red balloon, while the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed behind her. That photo, entitled "Baby Hope," became an iconic symbol of "I know better than anyone that you can't always draw a straight line from the who you once were to the who you are now." Abbi Hope Goldstein celebrated her first birthday on September 11, 2001. While that doesn't make her completely unique, one fact does: on that fateful day, a photographer captured her, wearing a birthday crown and holding a red balloon, while the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed behind her. That photo, entitled "Baby Hope," became an iconic symbol of that day. It truly gave people hope, and as Abbi grew older, she continued to be the subject of intense media curiosity. Strangers would stop her on the street and hug her, crying, sharing their memories of 9/11. It's hard to be infamous for something you didn't have any control over, and living in the New Jersey town that experienced the greatest number of casualties outside of NYC that day, she can never seem to escape the legacy of "Baby Hope." But this summer, just before she turns 17 and starts her senior year of high school, she's determined to do something for herself. She signs up to be a counselor at a day camp two towns away, where no one will know her as anyone but Abbi. It's the perfect plan before she has to confront some issues she's dreading. It turns out that Noah Stern, who is one year behind her in school, has decided to be a counselor at the same camp. Not only does he know that she is Baby Hope, he believes it was his destiny to meet her. His life changed, too, on 9/11, and he convinces/blackmails Abbi into helping track down the other people who were in her iconic photo. But neither of them is being completely honest about the impact of that day on their lives. As they work to carry out Noah's plan, their relationship begins to deepen, but the secrets that both are hiding could be a barrier too great to overcome. Hope and Other Punchlines is a powerful, poignant story about trying to move away from the shadow of your past, and finding the strength to make a fresh start. But at the same time, the book shows us that everything that occurs in our life makes us the person we are, even if we'd rather not acknowledge those things and their effect on us. "Something happens when the story you tell yourself turns out not to be your story at all. You have to figure out what to replace it with. Something needs to grow in the space left behind." I found this book absolutely beautiful—it's emotional but it's funny, too. Even when I thought there really wasn't another angle by which to approach 9/11, Julie Buxbaum found a gorgeous story which sprung from those left behind. The burden that these kids carried on their shoulders, for different reasons, really moved me, and I was completely invested in this story from start to finish. In fact, I read the entire book in just a few hours. I had never read any of Buxbaum's books before although I've always meant to, since I'm such a YA fan. Now for sure I'll definitely be picking her earlier books up. But I can't recommend Hope and Other Punchlines enough. It's a story of family, friendship, love, loss, guilt, grief, and, of course, hope. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    This is my third book from Julie Buxbaum and frankly I don’t know if I should continue with her stories. The first book I read from her, Tell Me Three Things, I couldn’t finish. The second book, What to Say Next, I enjoyed but I remember disliking the love interest or not feeling particularly moved by the romance. Well, same thing happened here. Abbi and Noah are definitely a good match because they don’t annoy one another and simply care about each other tremendously. I know, my expectations re This is my third book from Julie Buxbaum and frankly I don’t know if I should continue with her stories. The first book I read from her, Tell Me Three Things, I couldn’t finish. The second book, What to Say Next, I enjoyed but I remember disliking the love interest or not feeling particularly moved by the romance. Well, same thing happened here. Abbi and Noah are definitely a good match because they don’t annoy one another and simply care about each other tremendously. I know, my expectations regarding soul mates are not very high nowadays. But I did not fall head over heels for Noah like Abbi does because his humour did not work for me. He is socially awkward, as in he doesn’t always understand (or care) when it’s time to be serious. Instead, he makes (bad) jokes whenever he feels like it. It’s pretty obvious he loves attention and making people react. But I didn’t outright hate him. He can be entertaining and sweet. Oftentimes I like characters because of how they interact with other people, not because of their ‘‘voice,’’ and Noah is good to Abbi (the majority of time). This is a gripping story about a teen survivor of 9/11 (Abbi, AKA Baby Hope) and the boy who needs her help seeking out other survivors who may provide him with answers to his questions. Abbi is reluctant to spend time with him in the beginning, since she disagrees with the idea of questioning survivors, but the more she gets to know Noah, the more she understands him and where he’s coming from. I found this to be a convincing romance and overall tale. I even learned from it. For instance, I had no idea many 9/11 survivors ended up developing cancer due to exposure to toxic residue. That’s heart-breaking. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style and the maturity she breathed into Abbi, despite her decision to lie to the people she loves. Yeah, I’ll probably read this author’s future release, too. Might as well since I’ve become fairly acquainted with her style and this was a well-told story, despite annoying Noah. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    3.5 sad, gloomy, tear jerker but at the end hopeful, bright, surviving stars as like how the life goes rounded up 4 stars! To find yourself completely you need to learn losing yourself at first! Baby Hope was in danger, lonely at her birthday, September 11, 2001 ! She was saved from her daycare and as she was wearing a crown on her hat, holding a red balloon, captured by a photographer with a bunch of strangers are standing behind her! At the background South Tower of World Trade Cent 3.5 sad, gloomy, tear jerker but at the end hopeful, bright, surviving stars as like how the life goes rounded up 4 stars! To find yourself completely you need to learn losing yourself at first! Baby Hope was in danger, lonely at her birthday, September 11, 2001 ! She was saved from her daycare and as she was wearing a crown on her hat, holding a red balloon, captured by a photographer with a bunch of strangers are standing behind her! At the background South Tower of World Trade Center was collapsing! Survival tragedy changed Abby Hope’s life, turned her into an icon, a symbol of staying alive, a commercial figure, a reluctant celebrity that she forces herself to stay away from the media circus by hiding her identity! After that tragic day, her life might have been saved but her happiness has been truly removed from her life. Her parents were divorced! She became loner, introvert, socially awkward person, lately loses her best friend to the wannabe It girls! As long as she wants to separate herself with Baby hope image stick with her personal life, she hardly gets rid of her past. Now she is lost without friends, without future dreams, no desire for college, having relationship with boys! The worst part is she thinks she has a deadly disease but she keeps it secret from her parents not to worry about them. ( her mother is already agitated enough because of her grandmother’s dementia ) Now she became a volunteer to work in summer camp! She meets with Noah who has a crazy project about what happened to those people stood behind baby Hope at the epic photo! He easily recognizes Abby and not to declare she is the famous baby Hope to the other camp crew, he blackmails her to help him out on his project. At first Hope rejects him but as soon as they start to talk with people on the photo, she finds a different purpose in her life and realizes she is not alone. All those people are her secret family who shared an emotional past with her. As long as she goes to make interviews with Noah, they became closer. Noah dreams to be a comedian and writing a first 9/11 joke on his stand up show! He is shy, awkward, clumsy, weird kind of sense of humor and he’s also sweet, kind, the problem about him he hardly show his vulnerable side. His bromance with Jack was hilarious! They reminded me of Sex Education series’ Otis and Eric so much! I enjoyed the parts of misunderstandings between Abby and Noah’s relationship. They like each other but not brave and confident enough to show their feelings and they put themselves so many awkward positions. Chemistry part between them is a little missing. As a couple they reminded of wrong casted actors to play in a romantic movie. But as a summary, last parts, Abby’s finding herself and embracing her life, her flaws, her past and near future, family, Noah, Jack, new friends from camp are satisfying and heartwarming! The writer took a big risk to write about the most depressing, heart wrenching, shattering tragedy but she did a great job by turning this tragedy to a hopeful, smiling, joyful journey of life! As a summary, it is a great try and mission is fully accomplished!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    may ❀

    book #5 for summerathon, under the challenge of: "sunrise colors on the cover" ✓ this aint it chief 😞

  6. 4 out of 5

    ♡ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴀ ᴍ ♡

    I have a good time reading this book but I think first half of the story is a bit boring. By the way, I love the way Julie Buxbaum puts ‘tell me three things’ game in this book. It reminds me of her “Tell me three things” book very much!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Wow, what a great book! As one could expect from any book trying to tackle the events of 9/11, this was a *tough read* in places. I don’t think it’s possible to relive those details without feeling reminded/triggered about everything that happened that day and in the days that followed, and Julie Buxbaum’s exquisite way with words make that experience even more visceral. Abbi was photographed as a baby being rescued from the towers. She’s lived her entire life as a symbol of hope to others, with Wow, what a great book! As one could expect from any book trying to tackle the events of 9/11, this was a *tough read* in places. I don’t think it’s possible to relive those details without feeling reminded/triggered about everything that happened that day and in the days that followed, and Julie Buxbaum’s exquisite way with words make that experience even more visceral. Abbi was photographed as a baby being rescued from the towers. She’s lived her entire life as a symbol of hope to others, with parents whose lives have been catastrophically altered by what happened. Without getting into spoilers, Noah’s life was also altered by 9/11, in a different way. Loved all the different angles this examined. Lovely and heartbreaking. Trigger Warnings: (view spoiler)[ 9/11, cancer, PTSD, death of parent, mass shooting, mass death (hide spoiler)] Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arlene

    #iamemotional There are events in my life I’ll never forget... where I was, who I was with, what I felt. September 11, 2001 is one of those moments that has stayed with me... forever. This novel takes me back to that time and adds a whole new layer to the story. Every character played an important role in this novel. Their stories mean everything to me. This book will require some recovery on my part and will likely land on my top 5 this year. I’m sure.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    So good!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Like all Buxbaum books I loved this and the fact that it wasn't just a fluff read (not that there is anything wrong with fluff!). I love the depth and emotions all her books have and all the feels that they bring out in me. Most of all, I love that they are relate-able and how they always leave me with a smile on my face. The relationships in this were epic. Jack has to be one of my most favorite characters and I loved his and Noah's friendship!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    “We need the serious to recognize the funny, and the funny to give us even a shot in hell at surviving the serious.” September 11, 2001 changed lives. Holes were created in communities, families, and hearts. But love, courage, and compassion can be found in times of great loss and pain too. The little moments—a helping hand up, a hug, a kind word, or even a laugh to break the tension--make a difference. Abbi and Noah reminded me that laughter can be found in and after our worst moments.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    4.5 Stars! I’ve lived in California for over 20 years, but my New York roots run deep. I was born, raised and went to college in New York. On September 11, 2001, I experienced the horror from 3,000 miles away, but also intimately in the way you feel your past and community calling to you. Kids I went to high school with died that day, both in the towers and as dedicated first responders. I called home repeatedly in the days that followed, only to hear the suffocating news of those mis 4.5 Stars! I’ve lived in California for over 20 years, but my New York roots run deep. I was born, raised and went to college in New York. On September 11, 2001, I experienced the horror from 3,000 miles away, but also intimately in the way you feel your past and community calling to you. Kids I went to high school with died that day, both in the towers and as dedicated first responders. I called home repeatedly in the days that followed, only to hear the suffocating news of those missing and not coming back. I’ve avoided all 9-11 books to date, and yet, I picked up this book because I knew the author would handle it with proper reverence. (Because she is GENIUS!) I was not disappointed. It was clever, thoughtful and sincere. There was even sweetness and humor sprinkled about. I will confidently hand this one off to my daughter soon. Well done!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Renee (itsbooktalk)

    Good news friends...My recent reading slump has ended with this touching, thought provoking story that evoked so many emotions! At times it’s quite sad, but I also found myself laughing while being pulled into the lives of Abby, Noah and Jack. ⠀⠀ ~~ I often tell myself I don’t like YA, then along comes a wonderful review from one of my go to book friends that tempts me into grabbing the book ASAP- in this case it was Larry’s review from @the.bookishworld.of.yrralh (instagram) ⠀⠀ ~ Good news friends...My recent reading slump has ended with this touching, thought provoking story that evoked so many emotions! At times it’s quite sad, but I also found myself laughing while being pulled into the lives of Abby, Noah and Jack. ⠀⠀ ~~ I often tell myself I don’t like YA, then along comes a wonderful review from one of my go to book friends that tempts me into grabbing the book ASAP- in this case it was Larry’s review from @the.bookishworld.of.yrralh (instagram) ⠀⠀ ~~ What I loved about this story was that it centered on a part of 9/11 that I hadn’t thought about before...the survivors in one of the hundreds of historic pictures taken that day. In this story, Abby, who becomes known as “baby Hope” was a one year old who was rescued from the World Trade Center day care center by one of her caretakers and their pic was snapped along with several other strangers as they ran away from the falling towers. I knew I was invested in this story when I had to stop reading and Google whether there really was a day care center...there was...& I learned this along with many other details of 9/11 that I didn’t know or hadn’t considered all these years later. ⠀⠀ ~~ Abby’s story is interspersed with Noah’s who has his own reasons for wanting to find out more about the pic that made Abby famous. I loved Noah’s friendship with his best friend Jack, both were funny while being down to earth good kids. They reminded me of the best friends in the movie Booksmart (excellent movie btw)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Reading Tell Me Three Things by this author gave me a love for YA. It’s one of my favorite books and will make me read anything Julie Buxbaum writes. I love how her YA books feel authentic. From the main characters with their realistic family dynamics to the dialogue and awkward social situations. Reading her books bring back so many of those teenage feelings that I haven’t felt in so long. Her books aren’t NA or erotic fiction masquerading as YA. These are safe books that teenagers can read and Reading Tell Me Three Things by this author gave me a love for YA. It’s one of my favorite books and will make me read anything Julie Buxbaum writes. I love how her YA books feel authentic. From the main characters with their realistic family dynamics to the dialogue and awkward social situations. Reading her books bring back so many of those teenage feelings that I haven’t felt in so long. Her books aren’t NA or erotic fiction masquerading as YA. These are safe books that teenagers can read and adults will also enjoy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Glasgow

    This book is an exquisitely crafted look at public and private grief and what it means to grow up in the shadow of tragedy. Julie Buxbaum knows how to mix the sad with the funny in a brilliant, heart-melting way. Loved this so much.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    I’ve now read all three of Julie Buxbaum’s YA novels and I’ve loved them all. She’ll certainly be an auto-buy author for me from now on. Hope and Other Punchlines is the stunning, emotional story of a 9/11 survivor, Abbi. On her first birthday, she was saved from the South Tower’s day care center. Wearing a paper crown and clutching a birthday balloon, Abbi Hope was photographed with the tower crumbling behind her. The photograph became a phenomenon and from then on she was no longer just Abbi, she was Ba I’ve now read all three of Julie Buxbaum’s YA novels and I’ve loved them all. She’ll certainly be an auto-buy author for me from now on. Hope and Other Punchlines is the stunning, emotional story of a 9/11 survivor, Abbi. On her first birthday, she was saved from the South Tower’s day care center. Wearing a paper crown and clutching a birthday balloon, Abbi Hope was photographed with the tower crumbling behind her. The photograph became a phenomenon and from then on she was no longer just Abbi, she was Baby Hope, National Treasure. We pick up with Abbi fifteen years later. She is now a teenager unable to escape notoriety and the grief that surrounds her like fog everywhere she goes. Abbi is committed to having a happy summer, counseling at a camp for four year olds where no one seems to recognize her. And that’s where she meets Noah. His father died on 9/11 and he is desperate for Baby Hope’s help to interview all the survivors photographed alongside her in that famous photo. Abbi and Noah both have secrets. I read Hope and Other Punchlines in a single day. I couldn’t put it down. Fast-forward to 3 a.m., when I was lying in bed in the fetal position, crying, having just read the final page. But don’t worry that Noah and Abbi’s story is one solely of grief and darkness and loss. Because these two special characters are also full of hope and resilience and by the time I closed the cover, I cared for them deeply. If I had remembered or reread the summary for this book before starting it, I would probably have passed on to something else, unsure I was up for a story so heavily steeped in the tragedy of 9/11. That would have been such a loss. Because this story moved me and shook me and will stick with me for a long, long time. 5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kara Gemian

    This was a fantastic read. As someone who has lived in Northern New Jersey all her life and remembers seeing papers floating in the sky on 9/11 after my Elementary school was evacuated to the field for a bomb threat, this book really meant a lot. I am lucky that I didn't know anyone personally that was lost that day and none of my close friends did either, but that of course does not take away from the tragedy. This is the first book I have read regarding the subject and I honestly di This was a fantastic read. As someone who has lived in Northern New Jersey all her life and remembers seeing papers floating in the sky on 9/11 after my Elementary school was evacuated to the field for a bomb threat, this book really meant a lot. I am lucky that I didn't know anyone personally that was lost that day and none of my close friends did either, but that of course does not take away from the tragedy. This is the first book I have read regarding the subject and I honestly didn't know it was about the aftermath of that day until I started reading, but Julie Buxbaum is an auto-buy/auto-read author and that cover is just gorgeous! I absolutely loved Abbi and Noah's story. I laughed out loud and cried and then laughed some more. Buxbaum did a wonderful job of laying out the grief of this fictional town and fictional picture while still keeping everything completely real and accurate. There is a town in NJ that has the highest number of deaths from that day, a thought that I had never entertained before, there is something called 9/11 Syndrome. This book is real and important. Hope and Other Punchlines is heavier than Buxbaum's other YA novels, but don't let that stop you from reading. IT WAS SO GOOD. Read it and you won't be disappointed. *Thank you to Edelweiss for the opportunity to read!*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I know better than anyone that you can't always draw a straight line from the who you once were to the who you are now. Rather unexpectedly, this novel stole my heart. I chose this for my book club's September selection, thinking the 9/11 aspect would make for some interesting discussions. Honestly, though, for the most part, I've surpassed the point in my life when YA novels really resonate, and didn't have high hopes. But then the sweet, fresh voices of Abbi and Noah made me smile and laugh...and I know better than anyone that you can't always draw a straight line from the who you once were to the who you are now. Rather unexpectedly, this novel stole my heart. I chose this for my book club's September selection, thinking the 9/11 aspect would make for some interesting discussions. Honestly, though, for the most part, I've surpassed the point in my life when YA novels really resonate, and didn't have high hopes. But then the sweet, fresh voices of Abbi and Noah made me smile and laugh...and I knew I'd chosen a winner. Hope and Other Punchlines, while at times gut-wrenchingly emotional...is also funny and immensely hopeful. It's a quick, easy read told from the two protagonist's points of view. The chapters are short and direct, which I think works quite well in this format. I see other reviewers talking about the lack of chemistry between Abbi and Noah, but for 16 year old children, I thought their chemistry was off the charts. At that age, chemistry is going to be quite different than it is for those of us in adult relationships. They were beautifully perfect. And Abbi's grandma? Loved every word she uttered. She was a gem. At it's heart, this book is about so many pertinent topics--family, grief, friendship, guilt, loss....and yes, even hope. It's a joyful story I plan on sharing with my 14 year old daughter. Before I wrap this review up, I have to comment on all the people stating jokes shouldn't be made about terrorist attacks. I kindly disagree. As cliché as it sounds, laughter truly is the best medicine. Humor heals our souls. And what could possibly be a bigger F.U. to the terrorists and their supporters than seeing us happy and laughing? Even Pete Davidson, an SNL cast member who lost his father on 9/11, found it in his heart to make a joke about this tragedy...and it was funny. Anyway, I'm stepping off my soap box and recommending this book to each and every one of you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    T. Rosado

    5 Stars This is the 3rd book I've read by this author, which for me is the magic number that determines whether or not they become a favorite. Julie Buxbaum is now officially a favorite YA author of mine. (I still need to read her adult lit.) Hope and Other Punchlines was in essence, a "9/11" story that focused on the tragedy's effect on two teens and their families. I'd recently read a couple of books with 9/11 as their backdrop, but not from the perspective of the children born on and aroun 5 Stars This is the 3rd book I've read by this author, which for me is the magic number that determines whether or not they become a favorite. Julie Buxbaum is now officially a favorite YA author of mine. (I still need to read her adult lit.) Hope and Other Punchlines was in essence, a "9/11" story that focused on the tragedy's effect on two teens and their families. I'd recently read a couple of books with 9/11 as their backdrop, but not from the perspective of the children born on and around that date. I really enjoyed this shift in viewpoint. Noah and Abbi weren't actually there or weren't old enough to remember, but their lives were drastically altered because of it. At the same time, through their eyes, we meet a number of adults who were there and help fill the gaps in Noah and Abbi's stories. The book was emotionally stirring with a highly compelling writing style. Like this authors previous work, she has a quick wit when it comes to banter and commentary. That wit was a nice balance when paired with the heartbreaking turns in the story. Most importantly and not always found in YA lit, I felt that these were realistically written characters with authentic family relationships. I was immediately drawn in at the start and then didn't want to leave when nearing the end. A moving story by a consistently wonderful author.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Belle Ellrich

    *I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL COPY FOR THE PURPOSES OF A BLOG TOUR. THIS HAS NOT AFFECTED MY OPINION* I'm just going to say right now that I was entirely let down and a little bit disgusted by this book. When I was offered a position on a blog tour for Hope & Other Punchlines, I was really excited. It was pitched as a comedy meeting tragedy with a bit of romance, along with other elements that stuck out to me. However, once diving into it, all the problems began to form.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    IT's a myth, this concept of a before and an after. Every time I see a perfect blue sky, want to know what I really think? I think there are only afters and after thats." This story kinda snuck up on me. There was good character moments and surprisingly a lot of humorous dialogue, but I didn't really connect with it for a large part of the story. But the last 50 pages really elevated the story. I felt the emotional weight and really connected with the characters. There was a lot of happy resolutions IT's a myth, this concept of a before and an after. Every time I see a perfect blue sky, want to know what I really think? I think there are only afters and after thats." This story kinda snuck up on me. There was good character moments and surprisingly a lot of humorous dialogue, but I didn't really connect with it for a large part of the story. But the last 50 pages really elevated the story. I felt the emotional weight and really connected with the characters. There was a lot of happy resolutions (a few sad ones too), but if anyone deserved a bit of happy in their lives it's Abbi Goldstein who feels the weight of a legacy forced upon her on her sholders everyday. I LOVED al lthe family dynamics - with Abbi's family and with Noah's. Noah and Jack's friendship was truly amazing, and I thought the romance was cute. This story really has so much going for it - it's a wonderful exploration of grief, guilt, and survival all wrapped up in a single, inspiring picture. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Catherine McKenzie

    Fantastic and life-affirming Another fantastic YA read from Julie Buxbaum. She weaves a classic love story into the raw emotions of loss and life after 9/11. The subject is treated with sensitivity and - yes - humour. Because love and laughter is how we heal. I laughed and cried and I love this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Wow! I forgot how amazing it is to read a Julie Buxbaum book. Once again, she gifted me with a story that touched my heart, and its mere mention brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I keep saying this, but 9/11 books are tough for me. That day left an indelible mark on me, and I will admit, that some of the tears I shed were the sad kind. The first chapter was so emotional, and the interviews with the 9/11 survivors were both touching and heartbreaking. But, why I value a b Wow! I forgot how amazing it is to read a Julie Buxbaum book. Once again, she gifted me with a story that touched my heart, and its mere mention brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I keep saying this, but 9/11 books are tough for me. That day left an indelible mark on me, and I will admit, that some of the tears I shed were the sad kind. The first chapter was so emotional, and the interviews with the 9/11 survivors were both touching and heartbreaking. But, why I value a book like this is because we now have a generation, who only know of the attack from their history books. Buxbaum managed to write a beautiful and moving story, which included romance and humor, and also helps remind us to never forget what happened that day. Buxbaum built this story around two very likable teens, and both Abbi and Noah quickly endeared themselves to me. Although I was quite frustrated with a secret Abbi was keeping from her parents, I still wanted her to be able to enjoy her summer free of Baby Hope's legacy. At the same time, I really needed her to get some answers with respect to her little secret. It was beyond stressing me, because I cared for her so much. My heart went out to Noah too. He was so cute and sweet and goofy in the best way. Watching that little spark ignite between him and Abbi filled me with joy. But, I also wanted Noah to get the answers he was seeking. He needed closure, and Buxbaum did a fantastic job giving it to him. I know I am making this sound all emotional, but it was actually a really well balanced story. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I swooned, I even got a little bit mad. Buxbaum did a phenomenal job bringing me through the highs and the lows, and never, at any point, did she leave me hopeless. I could wax poetic about this book forever, but instead, I will give you a few bullet points: • Jack was an amazing best friend and I ❤️ him. • Abbi's parents were fabulous and I loved what was running in the background between them. • Grandmas - you know I adore them, and Abbi's was fantastic, even if her subplot was a bit heartbreaking. • Some of my father's friends are currently suffering from 9/11 cough, so I appreciate Buxbaum raising a little awareness of that. • Noah's comedic attempts were rather fun, and it's a little bit out of the norm hobby, which I liked. • The subtle shoutouts to Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next delighted me. I cried a lot as I wrote this review, because the book was just that touching for me. Buxbaum is on my shortlist of authors, who produce YA perfection, and Hope and Other Punch Lines more than earned its place on that list. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  24. 5 out of 5

    The Clever Reader

    wonder if everyone, if everything, dies twice. If that’s how grief is: cyclical, never finished. The Towers are still falling. And falling again.” This book was so beautiful! I loved What to Say Next but this one is my new favorite. Abbi Hope Goldstein, or to the rest of the world Baby Hope, is just a girl who wants to remain anonymous for one summer. Eight weeks. But when Noah recognizes her at the camp he’s working at for the summer he decides he’s going to recruit her in order wonder if everyone, if everything, dies twice. If that’s how grief is: cyclical, never finished. The Towers are still falling. And falling again.” This book was so beautiful! I loved What to Say Next but this one is my new favorite. Abbi Hope Goldstein, or to the rest of the world Baby Hope, is just a girl who wants to remain anonymous for one summer. Eight weeks. But when Noah recognizes her at the camp he’s working at for the summer he decides he’s going to recruit her in order to find the answers he’s been looking for. Abbi is such a great MC for this YA Contemporary! She’s compassionate, smart, and despite being accosted on a daily basis she is sympathetic to those who are reminded of 9/11 whenever they see her face. I loved her courage. She builds new friendships and learns that people just grow apart as they get older. Her family dynamic was unique and her parents were super supportive. Her grandmother is the freaking best! Noah is adorable! He is definitely the comedic relief of the story. The jokes keep rolling which is a testament that some people need comedy to cope with the tough stuff. When he learns that his mother has kept a secret, along with everything else about his father, he realizes that the story he’s created about his father isn’t even close to the epic story of what really happened that day. I thought he was the perfect complement to Abbi’s character! The events of 9/11 have affected many people in many different ways and is something no one will ever forget. I still remember what I was doing on the day that changed everyone’s lives. I think this book is important for young readers who may only know of events from history books. It may be fictional but I believe the sentiments found throughout the story are accurate to how life is or was before and after the events of that day.

  25. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    DNF/set aside @ 30% Meh. I might pick this back up and try it again soon. I mean, I probably will? It's just... *sigh* I really, really, really hate this love interest. I think he's toxic and gross and he's blackmailing Hope, and it's all icky and low-key ruining the vibe of the entire story for me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner

    I dunno guys. I really wanted to like this book. I didn't care much about the characters. I would find myself not even registering what I was reading at times because I was bored. Some portions of dialogs made me cringe. Making jokes about 9/11 didn't sit well with me. I still remember the moment when I saw the news that day so vividly. I still think Julie Buxbaum has it in her to write another hit. This just isn't it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    I really wish I had liked this one more. Too bad that it was just full of cliches and one main character (Noah) I disliked from beginning to end. I thought Abbi was fine, but she honestly needed a life since she seemed wholly dependent on her ex-best friend Cat to give her a social life. And I also kind of hated that Abbi was fine with forgiving Noah and his whole blackmail thing, but didn't want to try to make up with Cat. I don't know, I think Buxbaum just dropped that whole thing and it didn' I really wish I had liked this one more. Too bad that it was just full of cliches and one main character (Noah) I disliked from beginning to end. I thought Abbi was fine, but she honestly needed a life since she seemed wholly dependent on her ex-best friend Cat to give her a social life. And I also kind of hated that Abbi was fine with forgiving Noah and his whole blackmail thing, but didn't want to try to make up with Cat. I don't know, I think Buxbaum just dropped that whole thing and it didn't make sense in context of what the book was supposed to be about, that your life can change in a moment, so love, forgive, etc. and just be in the moment. "Hope and Other Punchlines" follows 17 year old Abbi and Noah. Abbi we find out is pretty famous due to her picture being taken when she was 1 and a woman carrying her out of one of the towers that fell on 9/11. Abbi hates being known as "Baby Hope" and has to deal with total strangers running up to her, hugging her, and crying all over her. She is working at a camp for the summer to try to come to terms with the end of her long-term friendship with her best friend Cat and the fact that she is scared she may have caught something from 9/11 and that a lot of people who were near Ground Zero that day developed cancer. So that seems like a lot right? Well Buxbaum then introduces Noah. Noah is focused on finding the men and women in the photo of "Baby Hope." When he realizes that Abbi is also working at the same summer camp he is, he tries to talk her into helping him out with tracking people down. When she refuses, he blackmails her to helping him or he will let everyone know who she is. Yeah, he's not a charmer. That first exposure to Noah colored the whole book. I just didn't like him. So first off, Abbi's family is a bit messy (not in a bad way). Her parents divorced when she was younger, but still live 2 houses down from each other. They are constantly in and out of each other's homes. It makes zero sense why they are not together and I started to think of GOOP and conscious uncoupling and shuddered. We get to hear via Abbi's POV her thoughts on 9/11, how it makes her feel to be one of the few who survived that day, and how lonely she is now that she and Cat are no longer friends. Why she doesn't tell her parents she thinks she is ill is some teenager logic which I didn't even mind. When we're young and even when we're older we think we can just ignore something and it somehow isn't real. Noah bugged me a lot. I didn't like him even when we find out what he is supposedly trying to do via Abbi meeting with other survivors. I thought the whole thing made zero sense and should have been resolved with actually speaking to his mother. He was an ass towards his stepfather and just acted entitled the whole book. His ongoing mess of trying to find a funny 9/11 joke made me cringe inside. The secondary characters don't feel very developed. I felt sorry for Cat especially when you hear about her backstory. I really think it would have been smarter for Buxbaum to maybe have dual POVs with Abbi and Cat instead. I think having it focused on Noah added nothing. And I pretty much hated that Abbi and Cat never had the conversation that I think they should have. Just trying to do a big well friends grow apart thing didn't work especially when we hear about how close these two were and perhaps Cat just had lingering issues about the whole Baby Hope thing. The writing was fine, the chapters were short though. Sometimes the chapters were only a page. Buxbaum starts on Abbi's POV and then goes back and forth to her and Noah. The setting of the book primarily takes place in New Jersey, but with references to New York City and the anniversary of 9/11. I thought the whole book was slightly depressing. I was 21 on 9/11 and was about to head to school in Pittsburgh when we heard about the planes and towers. My mom made me drive back to my hometown and we were all scared. I had friends who were in the National Guard who were scared because our first thought was war when we heard the planes were brought down intentionally. I just remember it feeling surreal. That I was in some weird dream and I would wake up soon. The ending is supposed to be uplifting I think, and I did think it was great of Buxbaum to highlight all of the diseases that people at Ground Zero were being diagnosed with post 9/11. I think I disagree with her though that 9/11 isn't in people's minds. I mean that's why the U.S. went to war (again) in Iraq. It's brought up about every other week when the media is discussing Saudi Arabia. Maybe it's uppermost in my mind since I started off in government in 2013 and 9/11 was mentioned on a daily basis in our reports. We used that as a reference point for the longest time in any report discussing Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyway, I ultimately thought this was an okay read, just not in love with it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tanya (Girl Plus Books)

    4.5 STARS Sixteen-year-old Abbi has lived her life in the shadow of 9/11 – not only as a survivor but as the subject of a famed photograph from that day. She longs to escape the notoriety even as she is dealing with health issues that stem from her exposure to the fall-out on that terrible day. She meets Noah while working as a summer camp counselor and is drawn into his project to track down everyone from the famous photograph. What starts as unwilling participation turns into a genuine frie 4.5 STARS Sixteen-year-old Abbi has lived her life in the shadow of 9/11 – not only as a survivor but as the subject of a famed photograph from that day. She longs to escape the notoriety even as she is dealing with health issues that stem from her exposure to the fall-out on that terrible day. She meets Noah while working as a summer camp counselor and is drawn into his project to track down everyone from the famous photograph. What starts as unwilling participation turns into a genuine friendship – and possibly more – when Noah and Abbi spend more and more time together. Their friendship was so genuine and the dual POV worked so well at showing how they both navigated the new relationship. Noah’s own connection to 9/11 broke my heart and, as truths were revealed, I definitely shed some tears. The secondary characters were stellar – including Abbi’s parents and grandmother, Noah’s friend Jack, and the other survivors from the photograph – and they each added so much depth and realism to the story. "I’m so, so tired of always worrying about our world splitting into a before and an after again." A book whose narrative focuses heavily on 9/11 can be an emotional look at a tragic and defining moment in U.S. history – or a disrespectful plot device used to play on emotions. Thankfully, Buxbaum’s Hope and Other Punch Lines falls into the former category and she writes about 9/11 and its aftermath with respect and gravitas. This was a moving and unforgettable story. (So many thanks to my friend Sam for sending me her hard copy of this book. A book is always a special gift and this one was truly a stand-out. Thank you, Sam!)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kim Friant

    4 Stars—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 4 Stars—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 heat definitely warmed. I liked this book a lot and I would absolutely recommend it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    16 year old Abbi was only a year old when the towers collapsed in NYC on September 11, 2001. Although she doesn't have any memories from that fateful day, she was captured in an iconic photo and dubbed, "Baby Hope." Tired of being recognized and the unwanted fame that comes with it, she's excited to start a job at Knight's Day Camp caring for 4 year olds who are highly unlikely to call her Hope instead of Abbi. Unfortunately for her, however, another counselor named Noah recognizes her and slyly 16 year old Abbi was only a year old when the towers collapsed in NYC on September 11, 2001. Although she doesn't have any memories from that fateful day, she was captured in an iconic photo and dubbed, "Baby Hope." Tired of being recognized and the unwanted fame that comes with it, she's excited to start a job at Knight's Day Camp caring for 4 year olds who are highly unlikely to call her Hope instead of Abbi. Unfortunately for her, however, another counselor named Noah recognizes her and slyly talks her into helping him locate the other people in the photo. How will the interviews change them? First of all, it's odd to think that even though an entire generation is too young to remember how the events unfolded that day, they (especially those who lost relatives) are still affected by them: "We may not remember, but we can never forget." - Abbi Secondly, I'm a sucker for a book about young love, and this one did not disappoint. Although the 9/11 topic was heavy, the humorous parts sprinkled throughout definitely provided levity and even made me laugh out loud several times. Last but not least, this sweet story was a great example of how life is often divided into the "befores" and "afters" of [insert tragic event here], and how the human spirit finds it difficult to let go of its innate Hope for the future. "This is life with a capital L. It's not always pretty." But, "you don't mess around with love. When you got it, you hold onto it. Simple." - Grandma Location: NYC and fictional town of Oakdale, New Jersey Thank you to my friend, Tina, for gifting me this book! :)

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