It’s May, and I am delighted to be able to kick off this amazing month with an even more amazing book tour! I know, I say it every time, but seriously, the team at Rockstar Book Tours knows how to pick some Rockstar books! Check out their website and don’t miss any of their rocking tours.
“I wonder… If that’s how grief is: cyclical, never finished. The Towers are still falling. And falling again.”
Abbi has been an icon of hope for most of her life. Captured in the arms of a woman running, crown on her head and balloon in her hand, while the World Trade Towers collapse behind them, she became “Baby Hope” and it’s an identity that she hasn’t ever been able to separate from herself. But the summer before her Senior Year, she yearns for eight short weeks of anonymity. To just be a girl no one knows. Not the baby strangers cry and hug in public (still).
Noah knows immediately who she is, and what she represents. But that iconic photo has far more than just Baby Hope in it, it could have answers Noah has waited his entire life to find. He befriends Abbi and convinces her to join him in his quest to unlock the secrets of the other survivors in that photo. Neither one of them stop to ask: are they really ready to confront the answers they think they seek?
“It’s forever part of our peripheral vision. We may not remember, but we can never forget.”
We get the alternating perspectives of Abbi and Noah. Abbi, fifteen years after she was carried away from the Towers, her photo captured and ensuring that she would never be an anonymous survivor, able to heal on her own, in her own way. And Noah, dealing with his own loss from that traumatic day. But he chooses to believe that humor can heal all wounds and has a plan of his own.
There are so many amazing themes tackled in this book. First, I was immediately struck at the way Buxbaum handles the enormous gravity of September 11. Like most people my age, I remember the day the Towers fell, and though I was nowhere near New York City, the skies were quiet and we all felt the haunted hush of the unknown. It was a day that touched us all, in numerous ways, both explicable and inexplicable. The characters is this book, like many teens, don’t have specific memories of that day unfolding around them. Their memories are ones they’ve pieced together from videos and photographs. From stories they’ve been told. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t marked by the tragedy. The most striking truth is that September 11 is a wound that is still healing; a day that continues to show us how deep our scars actually run.
Through their journey tracking down the Baby Hope photo survivors, Abbi and Noah both learn that tragedy and trauma means different things for different people. Some people just cope. Some face it head on. Some count their blessings but all of them carry their grief. I loved how this book is such an intimate look at trauma on a huge scale, but Buxbaum peels away the enormity, and gives us the ability to understand and connect individually as well.
“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.”
It may seem like Hope and Other Punchlines is a heavy book. And it is, in its way. But it also isn’t. Hope. Survival. Grief. These are things that have definition. They have meaning and dimension and understanding behind them. And then they don’t. They can be huge, monstrous things that can get warped away from the proportion we give them, transformed into things we can barely comprehend or deal with. Through Abbi and Noah, we can see how to begin to take control over those shapes and definitions, no matter how warped they’ve gotten. Our past shapes us, but our present defines us. We can change, always choosing to move forward, look ahead.
This is the kind of book I throw at everyone. It’s a beautiful story, but the messages written in the pages are exquisite. How to grow, not just emotionally and physically through an event that defines you, but also normal growing. That being who you were isn’t the same as who you are, and that’s okay. That we all struggle with this, as teens, as adults. That there isn’t always answers, or right ways to deal with life, or things that make sense. But that through all of that mess, through Life with a Capital L, there is always hope. And love. And all the other beautiful things that make us laugh and make us cry and remind us, that in the end, we are alive.
Thank you Rockstar Book Tours and Get Underlined for sending me a copy and including me on this tour!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a finished copy.
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?
Title: HOPE & OTHER PUNCHLINES
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
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 http://www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of HOPE & OTHER PUNCHLINES, US Only.
Before you go, be sure to check out the rest of the tour!!!
5/1/2019- Dani Reviews Things– Review
5/2/2019- Lone Tree Reviews– Review
5/3/2019- Lifestyle Of Me– Review
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
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
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
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