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Selling Hope [Kindle Edition]

Kristin O' Donnell Tubb
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $8.10 (48%)
Sold by: Macmillan


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Book Description

It’s May 1910, and Halley’s Comet is due to pass thru the Earth’s atmosphere. And thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father are due to pass through their hometown of Chicago with their ragtag vaudeville troupe.  Hope wants out of vaudeville, and longs for a “normal” life—or as normal as life can be without her mother, who died five years before. Hope sees an opportunity: She invents “anti-comet” pills to sell to the working-class customers desperate for protection. Soon, she’s joined by a fellow troupe member, young Buster Keaton, and the two of them start to make good money. And just when Hope thinks she has all the answers, she has to decide: What is family? Where is home?

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Magician Nick McDaniels and his 13-year-old daughter have been on the vaudeville circuit ever since his wife died. Spending her time on trains and in grubby boardinghouses, Hope longs to settle down in Chicago, their hometown, and desperately wishes for a blue notice telling them that their magician act is no longer wanted, but how would they support themselves? She needs money to tide them over until her father finds another line of work. In May 1910, Earth is about to pass through the tail of Halley's Comet, and people are panicked. With the help of Buster Keaton, a lanky boy also on the circuit, Hope hatches the idea of selling anti-comet pills to gullible “Coins,” who will do anything to save themselves. Tubb uses rich historical material well in this clever story whose time line is a 17-day countdown to the comet catastrophe. Not only are Keaton and his family part of the scene, but so are Bert Savoy, a comedian in drag; Benjamin Franklin Keith, an impresario; and the Cherry Sisters, a dull act regularly pelted with rotten fruit. Wisecracks, most of them vintage, are interspersed in a way that makes readers feel Hope is muttering them in response to what is happening. In this lively first-person tale, Hope isn't always completely believable because the language and vocabulary of her internal thoughts are sometimes too adult for a girl her age, even one with a father who spouts Walt Whitman. Still it's a good show with heroes, villains, and heart.–Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1910, Halley’s Comet caused quite a pandemonium. Thirteen-year-old Hope, a smart and smarty-pants heroine, travels the country on the low-level vaudeville circuit with her magician dad, but she desperately wants to ditch the show and stay in Chicago. To do that they’ll need money, and in a flash of inspiration, Hope whips up a side business selling “anti-comet” pills (thinly disguised mints) to hysterical people convinced the comet will bring any number of horrendous calamities with it. She gets help from another kid in the show, Buster Keaton, who, aside from being adept at slapstick, is handy at bringing a blush to Hope’s cheeks. Tubb deftly ingrains a thoughtful ethical question into the story (is Hope really helping people by assuaging their fears or simply ripping them off?) but never overdoes it in this bouncy tale populated by a terrific cast of characters. The well-synthesized period flavor extends right down to the one-liners that punctuate Hope’s earnest, easygoing, and perfectly pitched narration (“This morning’s gravy was so thick, when I stirred it, the room spun around!”). In the end, though, it’s Hope’s relationship with her father—a sort of proto-hippy-dippy naturalist who often seems more of a child than Hope—that steals the spotlight with a gentle and well-earned tug of the heartstrings. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

Product Details

  • File Size: 356 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (November 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9VOG2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,023 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children January 5, 2011
Like many of the other performers in the vaudeville circuit of the early 1900s, thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father Nick had few skills that could land them a higher-paying factory or office job. So they stuck with the vaudeville tour despite the low pay and poor working conditions: seedy boarding houses, abysmal food, endless train trips, and uncertain job security. Hope actually felt relieved when she heard that Nick's magic act, for which she served as an assistant, might get cut from the lineup after their month-long stay in Chicago.

Hope longed to stay in Chicago, which she considered home. All she needed to do was save up enough to pay the $2 to $3 weekly rent charged for the typical furnished room that she and Nick would need while they searched for jobs. A fortuitous set of circumstances brought the perfect opportunity to earn this kind of money. Earth would pass through the tail of Halley's Comet in two weeks, and people wielded all sorts of irrational fears. Hope figured she could sell these people some new hope in the form of Anti-Comet Pills to relieve their anxiety. At 25 cents a pill, she could make some easy money. But was it right to take advantage of vulnerable people, some of whom had financial circumstances as tenuous as those of Hope and Nick?

This novel provides readers with a unique storyline and interesting historical setting. Cleverly intertwined throughout the text are important themes in economics, including entrepreneurship, working conditions, savings, and child labor. While the main character seems overly mature for her thirteen years, the book ranks highly on substantive content and an entertaining plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling second novel April 6, 2011
"Selling Hope" is a shining success for Kristin O'Donnell Tubb. Her skill as a story-crafter and wordsmith continues to grow, following her successful debut novel, "Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different."

The tightly woven tale of Hope McDaniels carries the reader along on a journey as daunting as the vaudeville circuit traveled by Hope, her father and their extended family of circus misfits.

Hope wants a secure future for herself and her magician father, a security she sees only in money. She intends to gain that wealth nickel by nickel from frightened, gullible townspeople, hawking a magic pill that will save them from the ill effects of the approaching Halley's Comet.

But her mission changes as Hope grows closer to the customers she calls "Coins." Hope identifies with their fears and longs to bring them comfort as they face the comet countdown to May 18, 1910.

Tubb works magic more adroitly than any circus performer as she brings Hope to life in her engaging and entertaining novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging heroine, original story December 13, 2010
Kristin Tubb's Hope is a refreshingly real character, complex and appealing. The vaudeville world she lives in is so beautifully drawn that the reader gets pulled right into it. Tubb has obviously done a LOT of research, but it never gets heavy-handed--every quirky fact presented is necessary for the engaging story. Secondary characters, especially Hope's eccentric father, Nick, and her friend and fellow vaudevillian Cross-Eyed Jane, are wonderful. A good book for school reading, as students can debate Hope's ethics while getting a good dose of history without realizing it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Middle Grade reads all year! November 13, 2010
I'll admit, I actually hadn't heard of the book when the publicist emailed me offering the ARC. But when I read the blurb I thought uh--Middle Grade + Vaudeville + Buster Keaton = WIN. And I was right!

This book is AWESOME! In that I-should-give-up-writing-because-I-will-never-be-that-good kind of way. I have total writing envy. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if this book rakes in a bunch of honors and awards. It deserves it.

The events in the story are not biographical--but they are authentic (man I hope I'm using the right words). Buster Keaton did tour the Vaudeville circuit, and Halley's Comet did cause mass hysteria, so you can't help feeling like, "okay, so, this didn't necessarily happen--but it could have." And may I just say that the 15-year-old Buster in the book is totally swoon-worthy? I'm more than a little in love with him.

And the writing. OMG the WRITING!

I loved every word.

I loved the zinger jokes breaking up the text, like the whole book was a Vaudeville act.

I loved the way she pulls you so deeply into the time that you feel like you're really in Chicago during the comet panic. You live the dirty alleys. The run-down boarding house. The crowded, stuffy theater. The itchy clothes.

I loved the language. Movies called "Flickering Flicks" and customers called "Coins." And Huck! Where has that swear word been all my life????? I am determined to make "Huck" happen. (Insert Mean Girls quote here). But seriously, Huck! How fun is that?

So yeah, in case you can't tell--I LOVED this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone--no matter what age you are. Middle Grade is not just for kids--and this book especially. You will love it!*

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Executed November 9, 2010

Not only is Hope's voice charming, quirky and mischievous, not only is her emotional arc captivating, and not only do I have a ginormous crush on Buster Keaton now - but Kristen O'Donnell Tubb could teach a class on how to write a historical novel that is both informative and entertaining.

Her writing style is brisk and tight, and the story never slows. The reader is immediately emotionally invested in Hope and her destiny. Her father is painted perfectly, the bumbling magician with more on his mind than his daughter. The rest of the carnival participants are not caricatures, which would have been easy, but living, breathing, jump-off-the-page human beings.

This is a rare breed of novel - it tugs at your emotions, it makes you think, and it exposes you to a segment of American history not usually explored in text books.

A great resource for teachers, librarians and students, as well as just a darn good story. I expect SELLING HOPE has a future as a classic!

Can I give it more than five stars? ;)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun-filled romp through the excitement and panic of Halley's Comet
A fun-filled romp through the excitement and panic of Halley's Comet through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Hope. Read more
Published on June 12, 2012 by D. Emory
5.0 out of 5 stars Selling Hope by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
In 1910, Halley's Comet caused a panic. Thirteen-year-old Hope, a spunky and smart girl, travels the country with her magician dad, but what she wants most of all is to find a way... Read more
Published on May 29, 2012 by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Book
Wonderful book for middle grade kids. Original story with excitement, history, and a subtle message punctuated with great writing. Read more
Published on August 24, 2011 by Ben S. Woodard
5.0 out of 5 stars Selling Hope Gives Hope
Selling Hope makes us all believe our lives can change as fast as a comet streaks by. Kristin O'Donnell Tubb's characters take readers on a wonderful ride with the vaudeville... Read more
Published on November 11, 2010 by H. Dills
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific historical fiction for middle grade readers
It's May 1910, and people around the world are working themselves into a near frenzy over the coming of Halley's Comet. Read more
Published on November 9, 2010 by M. Tanenbaum
4.0 out of 5 stars from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com
May 1, 1910: The world might end in seventeen days when Earth will pass through the possibly lethal tail of Halley's Comet but thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniel isn't too concerned. Read more
Published on November 9, 2010 by Miss Print
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Adventure
Readers will root for Hope McDaniels as she tries to cash in on the Halley's Comet mania by selling anti-comet pills. Read more
Published on November 9, 2010 by Rae Ann Parker
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More About the Author

I am basically a big dork who would still be going to school if they'd let me. (But they won't, cause that'd just be weird.) So instead I write historical fiction! All of the research, none of the tests - I've got the best job in the world, doncha think?

SELLING HOPE was given a starred review by Booklist, who said it was "a bouncy tale populated by a terrific cast of characters!" And AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT has been nominated for the Volunteer State Book Award (2011-2012 list) and was chosen to represent the State of Tennessee in the Pavilion of States at the 2009 National Book Festival. I'm delighted to have AUTUMN serve as Tennessee's ambassador!

I love hearing from readers! Please contact me through my website: You're also invited to swing by my blog:

Do things different!


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