cover image Hope and Other Punchlines

Hope and Other Punchlines

Julie Buxbaum. Delacorte, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6677-1

In this novel, Buxbaum (Tell Me Three Things) offers up an emotionally resonant, wryly humorous portrayal of two young adults navigating trauma and acceptance years after 9/11. Nearly 17-year-old Abbi Hope Goldstein is eager to spend the summer as an anonymous camp counselor instead of as Baby Hope, the famous toddler turned cultural artifact who was photographed being carried to safety as the first tower fell on Sept. 11, 2001 (her first birthday). She also intends to enjoy a carefree eight weeks before telling her parents about an increasingly worrying cough that she suspects is 9/11 syndrome—complications from breathing the toxins at ground zero. Immediately recognized by fellow counselor and budding comedian Noah Stern, Abbi reluctantly agrees to help interview other figures in the Baby Hope photograph, unaware that Noah has a hidden personal motivation. Told in alternating perspectives between the two teens, the novel sensitively depicts how definitively 9/11 split countless lives into before and after. Directly affected by the events but too young to remember them, Abbi and Noah provide distinctive points of view with which teen readers, for whom 9/11 is history, will identify. Ages 12–up. [em](May) [/em]