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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 attacks 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 attacks 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. 5 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. 4 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 that day. I "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. 4 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. 5 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 Center was colla 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

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    So good!

  8. 4 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. Abbi Hope “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. Abbi Hope Goldstein is Baby Hope. A photograph captured her, on her first birthday, being carried out and away from the 9/11 devastation. The image, of little Abbi holding tight to her birthday balloon, gave hope to so many during a time of pain and fear. Now 15 years later, Abbi is still trying to find a way to live her life as “Abbi” not Baby Hope. She is much more than an iconic image. She’s grown up and changed, but no one seems to see or hear that. But this is Abbi’s summer. She wants one summer to herself to be herself without Baby Hope. So she heads off to summer camp, where she can blend in and start fresh. No one will know her as Baby Hope. But of course, who does she find at camp? Someone who recognizes her… Noah. I just want to say right here and now that this boy’s story made my heart hurt. *deep sigh* Noah Stern’s life also changed under that clear-as-can-be-blue-blue Tuesday morning sky in September 2001. And now he wants answers. With a little blackmail and lots of gummy bears, Noah sets off to find the truth and hopefully more (trying not to spoil!). But he needs a little help from Baby Hope. This quick moving story pulled me in at word one. The short chapters move you along to new friends, old friends, survivors, and memories. And that’s the word that keeps popping up here for me—memory or memories. Some people will never forget what happened on 9/11. Some can’t bear to think of it. And others, like Abbi, have no memory of 9/11, but it’s still a huge part of their lives. The memory of that day echoes in so many different lives in so many different ways. But memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes we hold on tight to a story or belief—whether it’s true or not---because it’s all we have of someone or something. Strength, memory, before & after, and the pieces of our lives after a loss all run through the heart of this book. Memories of who we were and memories of the ones we lost. We do what we have to do to survive the hole in our lives after a tragedy, but stories and memories change along with our hearts. We grow and hopefully heal. “My heart has unclenched itself from a fist to an open hand. But 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.” This powerful little book packs a wallop. There is a lot going on with identity and grief and surviving. For me, the best friend storyline made an already full book too full. Cat’s story needed more time. But alongside all that seriousness….there are a lot of laughs and smiles here too. Abbi, Noah, and Jack form a hysterical trio. Noah and Jack’s friendship and banter are pitch-perfect and punny. But…*shakes head laughing*…I never thought Phil would end up being my favorite comedian. :D Hope you meet these people and hear their stories. Highly recommended. **Quotes taken from ARC**

  9. 4 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 missing and not 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!!

  10. 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) ⠀⠀ ~~ What I loved abou 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)

  11. 5 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 didn't know it 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!*

  12. 4 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.

  13. 4 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.

  14. 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 reso 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

  15. 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!

  16. 5 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.

  17. 4 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 book like thi 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

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)

    This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd Short and Simple Review It took me a little bit to get into this book. It's from dual POV and at first, the chapters were so brief, especially Noah's, that it was hard to get the emotional connection. I ended up really liking this book, even though it is not my favorite by Julie Buxbaum. The narratives of both characters was powerful and I like some of the topics this book discussed, such as the separation of a photograph from a person a This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd Short and Simple Review It took me a little bit to get into this book. It's from dual POV and at first, the chapters were so brief, especially Noah's, that it was hard to get the emotional connection. I ended up really liking this book, even though it is not my favorite by Julie Buxbaum. The narratives of both characters was powerful and I like some of the topics this book discussed, such as the separation of a photograph from a person and how a major event (such as 9/11) affects those who have no memory of the event. I liked how the story flowed and how Abby and Noah teamed up to find the other people in the photograph. I do wish that this book was not a romance but that's just because I've been getting tired of romance in YA lately.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Another fantastic contemporary from Julie Buxbaum. This book manages to be light and sweet (and features an adorable romance), while also tackling some heavy subjects - grief, loss, illness, breaking up with friends - set 15 years beyond 9/11, in a town and with characters that still feel its impact in a raw and personal way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    kazually

    i really liked all the characters, relationships, and the plot about 9/11 but this book kind of felt really stretched out. i really liked it until maybe page 150 which was when i started getting bored. also like every maybe 75 pages Noah and Abbi actually met and interviewed one of the five (maye four?) survivors of 9/11 which they had planned on doing in the beginning. it felt like a side plot rather than being the main plot. everything just felt really scattered and not organized. like Noah an i really liked all the characters, relationships, and the plot about 9/11 but this book kind of felt really stretched out. i really liked it until maybe page 150 which was when i started getting bored. also like every maybe 75 pages Noah and Abbi actually met and interviewed one of the five (maye four?) survivors of 9/11 which they had planned on doing in the beginning. it felt like a side plot rather than being the main plot. everything just felt really scattered and not organized. like Noah and Abbi were supposed to be working as counselors for camp but a bunch of scenes were just them hanging out with Jack, going to the interviews, going to parties, and other stuff. it just felt really weird and i was kind of bored.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I think everyone can remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  It is one of those dates that you will never forget as long as you live. For Abbi, it is more than that since she became an internet meme that day as "Baby Hope" and wishes that she didn't have to relive that day after day as people recognize her.  Noah's life was also broken that day but he has ulterior motives when he figures out who Abbi is when they both end up as counselors at summer camp.Abbi doesn't want to be "Baby Hop I think everyone can remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  It is one of those dates that you will never forget as long as you live. For Abbi, it is more than that since she became an internet meme that day as "Baby Hope" and wishes that she didn't have to relive that day after day as people recognize her.  Noah's life was also broken that day but he has ulterior motives when he figures out who Abbi is when they both end up as counselors at summer camp.Abbi doesn't want to be "Baby Hope" and suffers from that day when her picture at her first birthday was snapped with the twin towers in the background.  She now has 9/11 syndrome and more than likely will die from complications of inhaling chemicals that spread that day.  Noah wants to find out who is in the background of that picture and in order to keep her identity secret, she gives into Noah's scheming.The story of each of these characters and what they remember about the event that changes their lives is heartbreaking and will really give you ALL THE FEELS.  Although it seems like Noah is after his own goals in reaching the people in the picture, it also helps Abbi overcome some issues herself.  This story is really told with a lot of sensitivity for the horrors of that day.

  22. 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 to find the answe 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rodoreads

    I laughed, I cried my eyes out. Everything hurt for a while. And this book reminded me why I love Julie Buxbaum so much.

  24. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    9/11/01. Everyone *thinks* they know Baby Hope, the one year old girl in a birthday crown carried out of one of the buildings holding a red balloon. But her real name is Abbi and she’s fifteen and can’t erase the unwanted notoriety. Noah wants, even needs, to know Abbi who may hold the key to his questions about that tragic day. 9/11 is one of those indelible dates etched in everyone’s mind. We remember exactly what we were doing we we heard about the twin towers. We recall the feeling in the pit 9/11/01. Everyone *thinks* they know Baby Hope, the one year old girl in a birthday crown carried out of one of the buildings holding a red balloon. But her real name is Abbi and she’s fifteen and can’t erase the unwanted notoriety. Noah wants, even needs, to know Abbi who may hold the key to his questions about that tragic day. 9/11 is one of those indelible dates etched in everyone’s mind. We remember exactly what we were doing we we heard about the twin towers. We recall the feeling in the pit of our stomachs. For me, it’s the day I was driving to the doctors, about to be diagnosed with breast cancer which is the same illness that killed Connie, the woman who saved Abbi, though Connie’s was likely caused by 9/11 Syndrome. Abbi has asthma from inhaling the fumes that day. She also is coughing up blood and thinks her days are numbered. Julie Buxbaum was written another winner with HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES with quick-witted, believable dialogue and a touching plot. Both Abbi and Noah are great characters, socially awkward and suffering. Abbi’s friends have dropped her, her grandmother just moved in due to dementia and Abbi can’t escape her Baby Hope legacy. Noah’s father died a few days after he was born in the twin towers. Although his mother tells him otherwise, he believes the unnamed man in the photo is his father. Buxbaum is an automatic preorder for me.

  25. 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. For one, every chapter is *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. For one, every chapter is short and choppy. Most of the sentences are repeating and/or contradict each other, and there's barely enough information to take in. It was completely character driven, but the problem with that was that the characters were barely even developed a quarter of the way through. Abbi is constantly talking about being Baby Hope. I get it, you hate being this pillar of hope and perseverance. Stop talking about it every other line and actually do something. Noah, on the other hand, annoyed me from the first sentence of his POV. Not only is he obsessed with stalking and tracking down 9/11 victims, but he also blackmails Abbi into doing his bidding. And we were told this was supposed to be somewhat romantic? Bleh. Another thing was that he was focused on making a successful 9/11 joke. Excuse me, but since when was a terrorist attack funny? I get it, some people are able to joke about it and all, but as a reader who takes that day very seriously, I feel that was a little inconsiderate to our emotions and how that would come across. I ended up DNFing this because of how craptastic it was going. I'm usually not this hard on books, but this one really fell way way way below the line. Honest to God, I never ever say this about anything I read, but I absolutely HATED this one. For that, I rate it 1 star. I wouldn't suggest this book, obviously, but if something about my ranting review interested you in reading it, knock yourself out.

  26. 5 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

    Murray

    “Sometimes it feels like those towers are still falling and will never stop.” To love and to laugh are one of the best and most humane things in life. It makes sense that the author is tackling a tough subject like the inhumane act of the 9/11 attacks with the help of these two emotions – it makes it more bearable and hopeful. Meet the fictional character Abbi Hope Goldstein – Baby Hope. When she was a baby, a photo was taken that captured her happily holding a red balloon, while behind her, th “Sometimes it feels like those towers are still falling and will never stop.” To love and to laugh are one of the best and most humane things in life. It makes sense that the author is tackling a tough subject like the inhumane act of the 9/11 attacks with the help of these two emotions – it makes it more bearable and hopeful. Meet the fictional character Abbi Hope Goldstein – Baby Hope. When she was a baby, a photo was taken that captured her happily holding a red balloon, while behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center was collapsing. She immediately became the symbol of hope and resilience, and the famous photograph could be found in many households in the USA. With such fame, there comes the burden of so many people’s hopes and pain. Now sixteen, Abbi just wants to get away from that, and she finds the perfect opportunity – a summer in Knights Day Camp, working as a counselor of a group of little kids who don’t know about her past. That’s is also where she meets Noah – a guy who definitely knows who Abbi is and has something to ask of her. Julie Buxbaum is not afraid of writing about tough subjects. The 9/11 terrorist attacks are one of the biggest tragedies in history, so writing about that can be tricky. The author is using fictional story and characters, but she intertwines them with real facts about the event. The result made an impact and I learned some details that I didn’t know about the real tragedy. For example, something that I learned about was the 9/11-related illnesses that kept taking victims even after the attack. I also liked the idea that humor can make even the toughest subjects easier to live with. As with so many people, the terrorist attack changed the life of Noah forever. Everyone deals with pain in different ways, though, and Noah’s way is through comedy. He wants to be able to make the perfect joke about 9/11 someday. A joke that will not be offensive and hurtful, but will actually make people laugh and forget about their pain for a second. This might come as a bit controversial to some people, but I think the author handled it with grace. All in all, I liked the characters and the story. I was not that much into the romantic part, because, for some reason, it was not exciting enough in my opinion. However, there were enough other things in the book to keep me interested, and I give it 4 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Allie Larkin

    Julie Buxbaum tackles difficult subjects like mortality, grief, and national tragedy with an astute kindness and realness that never veers into goopy sentimentality. Because of this, HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES, feels safe in a way I deeply appreciate. We're never manipulated into tears, even while dealing with with the long-reaching "after" of families affected by 9/11. Since, as readers, we're in such trustworthy hands it's possible to delve deep into this complex subject and empathize hard. The Julie Buxbaum tackles difficult subjects like mortality, grief, and national tragedy with an astute kindness and realness that never veers into goopy sentimentality. Because of this, HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES, feels safe in a way I deeply appreciate. We're never manipulated into tears, even while dealing with with the long-reaching "after" of families affected by 9/11. Since, as readers, we're in such trustworthy hands it's possible to delve deep into this complex subject and empathize hard. The emotions I felt as a reader were earned by the nuanced, endearing characters and Buxbaum's breathtaking observations on life, teenager-hood, and misunderstandings between people trying their best. I love this brave, beautiful, big-hearted book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    *Wow, this one is going to be hard to review. It will contain some little to medium spoilers so be prepared for that.* *I did dnf this a little over halfway through. What to Say Next is one of my favorite contemporary reads of all time, and I still stand by that recommendation. After reading that book I became so hyped for whatever this author decided to write next. After reading the synopsis of Hope and Other Punchlines I knew that this book might hit a little close to home. My uncle worked in t *Wow, this one is going to be hard to review. It will contain some little to medium spoilers so be prepared for that.* *I did dnf this a little over halfway through. What to Say Next is one of my favorite contemporary reads of all time, and I still stand by that recommendation. After reading that book I became so hyped for whatever this author decided to write next. After reading the synopsis of Hope and Other Punchlines I knew that this book might hit a little close to home. My uncle worked in the twin towers and he happened to be out of town at a business lunch when the attack happened. So I knew going in that this book might be a little hard for me to read at times. I went in to Hope and Other Punchlines expecting to learn a bit more on some of the personal impact of people who could have went through this tragic event. Yes this is present in the book. Abbi is recognized constantly as the photographed baby that is pictured surviving this tragic event. Abbi was named “Baby Hope” due to a surfacing image of her being carried away in the midst of this event. I loved being able to learn more about Abbi and how 9/11 affected her. When I think of this event, I find myself forgetting how health problems were also a result for survivors. It was heartbreaking to read about some of the health problems for some of the survivors of the attack and how they constantly carried repercussions of this event with them. It truly makes me feel sick to think about how this can haunt all survivors of different attacks. I will not say that I was disappointed to learn that Abbi hates being recognized as Baby Hope. I see how Abbi feels in regard to being associated as this symbol of hope which is sure to be very stressing and tolling on her. However, it did get a bit repetitive and annoying how she would continuously complain and whine about it every other chapter. My main problems with this story come from the male character, Noah. Noah is obsessed with figuring out who the unknown people in the Baby Hope photo are. Noah decides to basically blackmail Abbi by threating to reveal her identity at their summer camp unless she helps him work on finding out everyone included in this famous photo. I did not like Noah at all. Yes, Abbi does have her flaws and faults too, but Noah was unbearable to me. Noah is introduced as a good individual who is fascinated by this image of “Baby Hope” and he is also interested in pursuing comedy. This book mentions how laughter is so important in the world and how it has the potential to fix everything. Yes I do agree that laughter and happiness are extremely important in the world, but I do not like this particular incorporation of Noah’s view of a joking manner. One of Noah’s goals is to be the first to create the perfect 9/11 joke that will not be too offensive and will make people laugh. Why is this even included? This has no relevance to the main plot and I honestly do not see why this was a necessary inclusion as a character trait. Whatever. This inclusion made me feel so uncomfortable and disgusted. This, combined with the blackmail, honestly made me dislike this character to the point where I dnfed this book. This book has a lot of inclusions that annoyed me or made me question the relevance and ultimately made me not enjoy anything for both the plot and characters. For example, I do not understand why the parents are continuously described as “liberal.” Do not misread my words, I am not including this to show any political stance. I just do not understand why this word was the sole description at times to describe her parents. I kind of feel like this was included to highlight political views but I could be misreading. But my point for this is, why is so much insensitivity included which shows a contrast to other additions and purpose? Maybe my opinions are not well-supported in your eyes and maybe they are. This is just how I saw the book during my own reading experience. I hope this book is better enjoyed by others, but at this point I cannot support or recommend it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charlsa

    This is a YA story of grief, loss, friendship, and the constant battle to overcome the results of 9-11 for a teenage girl. I like the honest look at what it would be like for one of the babies, now a teenager, of 9-11 to live in a world that knows who you are. Most of us weren't close enough to the disaster area to be in contact with survivors on a daily basis. What must it be like for a teenage girl, trying to be a normal teenager, when people view you from their own lens of your circumstances? This is a YA story of grief, loss, friendship, and the constant battle to overcome the results of 9-11 for a teenage girl. I like the honest look at what it would be like for one of the babies, now a teenager, of 9-11 to live in a world that knows who you are. Most of us weren't close enough to the disaster area to be in contact with survivors on a daily basis. What must it be like for a teenage girl, trying to be a normal teenager, when people view you from their own lens of your circumstances? This story helps us see why a survivor of that tragedy might have problems trusting others when they don't know others' motives and how they might navigate that situation. I also like that while Noah had his own set of circumstances, motivations and was self-serving for much of the book, he ultimately was able to look at Abbi for who she is, not for who the world thinks she is.

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