Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Hope and Other Punch Lines blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you!

Title: HOPE & OTHER PUNCHLINES
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 320
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

The New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next delivers a poignant and hopeful novel about resilience and reinvention, first love and lifelong friendship, the legacies of loss, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.

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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I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Hope and Other Punch Lines provided me with a new perspective regarding the events that happened on 9/11. I know where I was when it happened, and I've always understood what it meant on a larger scale, but I have never made myself look closely at the details. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know there were jumpers, people that chose to leap to their deaths over the alternative, and it's made me reflect on my life as well as that horrible day. 

Julie Buxbaum has taken a tragedy and shown us the impact through new eyes. Abbi and Noah both survived something that day, even though their experiences were drastically different. Abbi became a symbol, a tangible hope that people could cling to, and Noah lost his father. Honestly, I didn't like Noah at first. I hated what he essentially forced Abbi to do. I understood his reasons, but they didn't justify his actions. I wish his choices had been addressed with more depth and sincerity, but Noah used humor as a coping mechanism. 

Abbi was a kind and selfless character, and she allowed people to share their grief with her, even though it made her uncomfortable. Her life wasn't her own, since people associated her with the Baby Hope photo. Even though she was a baby at the time, people felt compelled to share their personal stories and tragedies with her, regardless of where they were (supermarket, sidewalk, etc.). She even went along with Noah's plan, disregarding her personal feelings, and was nice to him despite how he handled the entire situation. Her desire to avoid conflict and negativity is what caused her to keep a big secret from her family, which I wish had resulted in more than a slap on the wrist. 

If you ignore how their relationship started, Abbi and Noah had an adorkable romance. I really loved their conversations in the car, and even the subtle foot taps they shared. I enjoyed Noah's friendship with Jack as well, and how easily the two boys accepted Abbi as one of their own. All of the relationships in this book (good and bad) were authentic and completely relatable. 

The parents and families were fantastic and flawed. Abbi's parents were divorced, but the two remained close friends and lived on the same street. They were both involved in their daughter's life, and they talked to her like she was an adult and her opinion mattered. Also, I loved Abbi's no-nonsense grandmother! Noah's mom remarried after a decade or so, and Noah's stepfather is present, even if he's not actively involved in his stepson's life. They were just different people, neither of them bad, but they'd never tried to see past their differences before. I enjoyed seeing how their relationship progressed, and was happy to see they there were both willing to try.

Buxbaum didn't shy away from the hard topics and conversations, and it was a really eye-opening experience for me. I feel like I have a new understanding, a more educated perspective, and also a greater appreciation for the people who were present during the attacks. A lot of people have medical issues that are directly related to chemicals they were exposed to on 9/11, and there's still a lot we don't know. I think the author has created something that will encourage people to remember, and she does it in a way that's both hopeful and honest.


About the Julie:

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, What to Say Next and the forthcoming Hope and other Punchlines (out May 7, 2019.) She’s also the author of two critically acclaimed novels for adults: The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and more books than is reasonable. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.

Giveaway Details: 
3 winners will receive a finished copy of HOPE & OTHER PUNCHLINES, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One: 
5/1/2019- Dani Reviews Things- Review
5/2/2019- Lone Tree Reviews- Review
5/3/2019- Lifestyle Of Me- Review

Week Two: 
5/6/2019- Jena Brown Writes- Review
5/7/2019- Feed Your Fiction Addiction- Review
5/8/2019- Ex Libris- Review
5/9/2019- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
5/10/2019- Struck by Stories- Review

Week Three: 
5/13/2019- Belle's Archive- Review
5/14/2019- BookHounds YA- Review
5/15/2019- Life of a Literary Nerd- Review
5/16/2019- Savings in Seconds- Review
5/17/2019- Resch Reads & Reviews- Review

Week Four: 

5/20/2019- A Bookish Escape- Review
5/21/2019- Book-Keeping- Review
5/22/2019- Pacific Northwest Bookworm- Review
5/23/2019- The Book Dutchesses- Review
5/24/2019- Popthebutterfly Reads- Review

Week Five: 
5/27/2019- Down the Rabbit Hole- Review
5/28/2019- Do You Dog-ear?- Review
5/29/2019- Two points of interest- Review
5/30/2019- We Live and Breathe Books- Review
5/31/2019- The Clever Reader- Review

18 comments:

  1. This definitely sounds like a tough book. I'm glad that Bauxbaum handled it so well. She has a knack for writing tough themes though. I'll have to read it for sure!

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    1. This was my first book by Buxbaum, but I'm on hold for Tell Me Three Things at the library. They only have one copy of the audiobook, so I've been on hold for awhile! I was hoping to get to it before reading this one, but it didn't work out.

      I think the author did a wonderful job bringing attention to 9/11. I do think that it's starting to fade from people's memories, and there is a new generation that likely knows nothing about it. It will just be something else taught from a history book, even though there are people alive that lived through it and are still struggling.

      I'm not sure if this is still true, but I remember someone cancelled the medical funding for the first responders that were there that day. They knew there would be problems due to all the chemicals and smoke inhalation, even after all these years, so they set something up to help with those costs. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's terrible that anyone would even consider taking aide away from those people.

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  2. This sounds like a devastating read but it also sounds like such a solid book. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Tough themes can be hard to pull off. Like you, I can recall exactly where I was when I heard about 9/11. Such tragic times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

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    1. It was super solid! I really enjoyed the author's writing, and the perspectives she showed us through her characters. It's easy to forget that there are still people struggling in the aftermath of 9/11. Either they were there, or they've lost someone close to them. There are a slew of medical issues that continue to crop up and afflict those closest to Ground Zero. It's an ongoing problem that people are still healing from, but it's easy to forget when you're not one of them.

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  3. Aw, sounds like a very touching read! I'll have to keep this one in mind.

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    1. It was very well-written, and really made me think about 9/11 with a new perspective. I was a child when it happened, and haven't really thought about it now that I'm an adult (until now that is). It's crazy what happened, and horrible, and truly unimaginable. It's hard to really fathom what those people in the two towers were feeling as it happened, or even the people on the ground running for their lives. Do you run away? Do you try to go back inside and save as many people as you can? Do you look for loved ones? It's impossible to know what you would do in that situation, or how you would feel. I think Buxbaum gave us two amazing perspectives with different views on the overall situation.

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  4. It was horrible what happened. I have watched all the footage a couple of times and watched all the interviews. I remember my brother calling me and telling me to turn on the news. This sounds like a hard book but good too.

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    1. I really like that the author highlighted how people were affected by what happened on 9/11, and the impact it had on families and communities. It's something people are still struggling with today, and the medical issues alone would be difficult to deal with.

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  5. This sounds so intense and I'm glad it sounds like she handled such a difficult topic well.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I know the topic was intense, but it didn't feel overwhelming. I really liked both Abbi and Noah (after my initial dislike of him, haha), and enjoyed their journey. Noah wanted answers about his father, and Abbi just wanted to live in the moment. We also get to see how 9/11 impacted people individually and as a family. I thought it was really well done.

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  6. This novels sounds so hard hitting. I've seen a couple of documentaries and one that I remember was from one we watched in my high school English class and seeing that there was jumpers was absolutely horrifying. I could not stop crying as we watched footage. This day was so heartbreaking in so many different ways.

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    1. I called my husband as soon as I finished reading this one, and I asked him how you were supposed to choose. Do you jump or face whatever is inside? Were they able to call their families and say goodbye? These are questions I ask myself, but that I really don't want the answers to. It's too heartbreaking. I also did some 9/11 research on my own afterwards, and it was horrible. Seeing it now as an adult, versus when it happened as a child... completely different perspective.

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  7. This one has been on my TBR since I saw Buxbaum’s first mention of it. I adored Tell Me Three Things and this one sounds like I’ll love it just as much, if not more. I love the way you describe Abbi and Noah’s relationship. I am already so on board for it! And the fact that there are good families represented... big thumbs up!

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    1. I've enjoyed seeing more and more awesome families in YA books! Even broken and unorthodox families can still be amazing. Lately, I feel like the father is a jerk, or the mother is uncaring, and I know that those types of families exists and should be represented, but it's nice to see the other side of the coin.

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  8. I adore Buxbaum, and man! She knows how to hit me in the feels. There were times, when I was a hot mess reading this one. I used to be able to see the top of the towers from my Main Street. After the attacks, I watched them smolder. Devastating. I love that she is bringing this story to a generation, who only know 9/11 from their history books. And, I adored the side plot with Abbi's parents. It was wonderful source of hope for me.

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    1. This book had so many feels! Everything Noah is feeling regarding his father, and also his relationship with his mother. Abbi's relationship with her parents, her secret, and her grandmother's dementia. Abbi's parents and their entire relationship... it was amazing. Abbi outgrowing her old friends and making new ones, knowing that sometimes we change as we get older and that's okay.

      I had no idea you lived so close to where it happened, Sam. That must have been hard on you to see every day. Like you, I'm glad she's reintroducing what happened in way that younger generations will be able to relate to.

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  9. I definitely want to read this one. It's not my usual tastes but something about it had caught my attention from the first time I saw it mentioned.

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    1. It's always a crazy feeling when something outside our preferred reading piques our interest! For example, I read Among the Red Stars, even though I typically avoid historical fiction, and really enjoyed it. I thought the entire book was well-written and love that it was based on real women that fought during the war.

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