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Publisher's Summary

At age 11, Gilly is nobody's real kid. If only she could find her beautiful mother, Courtney, and live with her instead of in the ugly foster home where she has just been placed! How could she, the great Gilly Hopkins, known throughout the county for her brilliance and unmanageability, be expected to tolerate Maime Trotter, the fat, nearly illiterate widow who is now her guardian? Or for that matter, the freaky seven-year-old boy and the shrunken blind black man who are also considered part of the bizarre "family"? Even cool Miss Harris, her teacher, is a shock to her.

Gutsy Gilly is both poignant and comic as, behind her best barracuda smile, she schemes against them and everyone else who tries to be friendly. The reader will cheer for her as she copes with the longings and terrors of always being a foster child.

Katherine Paterson, winner of the 1978 Newbery Medal for Bridge to Terabithia and of the 1977 National Book Award for The Master Puppeteer, again reaches across boundaries with her wit, compassion, and love, and here creates an immensely engaging story about a child's desperate search for a place to call home.

©1978 Katherine Paterson (P)1996 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

  • Newbery Honor Book, 1979

"This Newbery Honor Book manages to treat a somewhat grim, and definitely grown-up theme with love and humor, making it a terrific read for a young reader who's ready to learn that "happy" and "ending" don't always go together." (Amazon.com review)
"Not to be missed, Bresnahan’s reading of this Newbery Honor book and National Book Award winner adds a rich dimension to Gilly’s story." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CM
  • 04-18-17

Heartbreakingly Wonderful

This is a heartbreakingly wonderful story that is perfectly narrated. What more is there to say? Read it or listen to it. The author's characters are so believable and the narrator perfectly captures Gilly's personality. Great book for middle grades and up!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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GOOD

Good. At first gilly was kind of racist but she learned her lesson. I liked it

The audio connection was not very good

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Book for Mature YA Reader

Although it is an easy read, I would only recommend this book to mature YA readers or adults due to the language and topics mentioned (racism, abandonment, religion, etc.). The story itself is enchanting as it follows a tough 11-year-old girl, seeking to find "home".

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I fell in love with Gilly long ago. Still love her

I used to read this to my students in middle school...the best characterizations I read as a young teacher and shared with my students. We became friends with the characters and felt their pain, joy and struggle. I used to have to ask my students if they knew why Gilly was so mouthy and "disrespectful". They rarely had trouble identifying that Gilly was putting on a tough act to protect herself from being hurt once again. A tough and tender heroine, indeed! A must read for any age. Rich emotional intelligence building.
I love Katherine Paterson's ability to create and deepen the gift of human relationship. Her "Bridge to Terebithia" is another one of my absolute favorite book-adult or children's- and it was "The Great (and lovable and tender and tough) Gilly Hopkins" that led me to Jesse and his Queen of Terebithia.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh... I've read better, honestly.

OK, I'm not going to say this book was terrible, but it definitely left a bit to be desired in my personal opinion. I don't know... Usually, I love these kinds of books, so I can't quite put my finger on what it is I don't like about it, but the book just seemed to really depress me more than usual. It would have been nice if the book hadn't ended like it did, but I won't give that away. All I'll say is, if you're looking for a book with a happy ending, unfortunately, this isn't going to be it. I'm glad I read the book, but in hindsight, I definitely wouldn't read it again. Also, if you've had past trauma with neglect, then this absolutely isn't a book for you! I'm just being very forward coming.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not age appropriate

Too much negativity and language. Ended sadly too. I do not recommend for anyone under the age of 15.

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Sharing with my daughter

One of my favorite books of all time and now I get to share it with my daughter!

The narrator has a beautiful and expressive voice. It was a bit difficult to tell sometimes whether Gilly was saying something out loud or just thinking it to herself.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Bad

The chapters are not the same. It needs a lot of work and maybe they even need to restart.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful