Things Hoped For -- Andrew Clements

Two years ago, Gwen Page moved from West Virginia to New York City to attend a highly prestigious music program/high school as a scholarship student.  Now seventeen, she lives in a brownstone with her grandfather and is preparing for her college auditions at Juillard, the Manhattan School of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Things Hoped ForIt's hard work, but she's comfortable with her practice schedule and somewhat confident that she'll do well... 

...until she comes home one night and finds a message from her grandfather on the answering machine that changes everything:

Hello?  Gwennie?  I hope you had a good day.  There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to tell you, straight out.  I need to go and stay somewhere else--for how long, I'm not sure.  I know this is sudden, but I have to leave right now, today.  And I have to ask you to do something for me.  I want you to keep the house going for me while I'm away.

This is a lot to ask, Gwennie.  I know that.  But it's the best I can do on short notice.  I need to go, right now, and I know you need to stay here.  It's a hard situation, but we've both got to make the best of it.

Now, this is important.  Please don't tell anybody I've gone.  Especially Hank.  I haven't changed my residence, but if he thinks I have, then he'll try to make something of it.  Just steer clear of him. 

Shortly after her grandfather's disappearance, she meets a handsome young trumpet player who is also going through the audition process.

It's a good book, but it would have worked better as a stand-alone.  The invisibility subplot felt unnecessary, like it was just added in because it Had To Be In There Somewhere.  Bobby's presence would have worked fine without it -- his music would have been connection enough.

Although Bobby from Things Not Seen is a major character in this book and invisibility does factor in, I wouldn't describe Things Hoped For as a sequel.  Maybe as a companion -- but if kids think this is a straight sequel, their expectations will not be met and they will be disappointed.  I'd feel okay recommending it to fans with that caveat.

I'd also recommend it to kids who liked the musical aspects of Midnight Hour Encores.  Gwen is a very different character from Sib, and their situations aren't at all similar, but they have the same drive, which young musicians will appreciate.

Books -- YALeila RoyComment