[Review] Hope and other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

This was my first Book by Julie Buxbaum and it will for sure not be my last. There was so much to love About this Book, first and foremost the writing, but the Depth and Variety in Topics and the likable Characters made for a Wonderful read. The Book was published with 309 pages in 2019 and this is what it is about:

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?



The Characters

  • There is Humour, quick dialouges and banters between Friends that were so much fun while reading
  • Abby would love to be comfortable without words, doesnt have a lot of Friends and think so much. In regards to her age, some if her thoughts were just so adorable! Like a little puppy you want to cuddle.
  • Jack and Noah are so fun characters while also having something serious to them and developing from beginning to end, just like Abbi
  • Jack is gay btw and i wished to have read more from him
  • The friendship is amazing, especially between Jack and Noah, so much fun
  • All the characters have something likeable, something relatable, something interesting, which is the perfect match imo.


The Writing

  • The title of the Book is explained later, which i always appreciate
  • The writing makes for a quick read with rather short chapters, sometimes just half a page of each POV (Abbi and Noah)
  • The writing is descriptive, there are layers you get to pull off with every moving page
  • The Book is about Jokes, Humour, laughing and laughing when you want to cry
  • It is about Teenage Life and adulthold, about pain and Joy of Life and how theres sometimes one of each in everything
  • It is about what it means do be you, with all the flaws and who accepts them
  • It is about Change, Memories, Time and prejudices
  • The Book is modern, with References to Marie Kondo and the 15th/16th anniversary of 9/11

„Life is good, which is why we are all greedy about wanting more of it.“ (p.94)

The 9/11 Tragedy

  • What is left of the People Who died at 9/11? Just a Finger or the eternal uncertainity without a body?
  • You should be grateful to be alive but can you be grateful for being alive while having nightmares?
  • Is the 9/11 Museum a Tourist Attraction?
  • The Book is about the different perspectives on and after 9/11 and the many individual topics the tragedy brings with it: The jumpers, that arent really talked about, the untold Stories of hereos and what does it even mean to be a Hero?
  • The racism after 9/11 with muslims, survivors guilt and the questions what you would have done while knowing that the reality is so different from imagination anyway
  • It is about the paper, the smoke, the blue sky that morning and the Health Problems that affected the survivors
  • It is about grief and moving on, what hope means and the concept of before and after that might just be a myth

„I wonder if everyone, if everything, dies twice. If thats how grief is: cyclical, never finished. The Towers are still falling. And falling again.“ (p. 260)

Favourite Line

„We push back and forth till the sky goes fully dark. Till it turns the Color of Goodbye.“ (p. 129)


There is depth between the lines and characters and the Book is wonderfully crafted in a way that beginning and end match beautifully and that things that get said earlier will be picked up on later and all the little Details matter.  The Ending left me with a smile. That kind of smile you can only have knowing you just finished reading a wonderful Book, one of your new favourites.

3 Gedanken zu “[Review] Hope and other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

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