Call Me Hope

 Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson

Hope is your average twelve-year-old – or at least that’s what she appears to be on the outside. She should be free and careless, but instead she’s stressed and worrisome.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place – or – between being the person she wants to be and a verbally abusive mother, Hope is sick of being called stupid, of all the “shoulds” and “are you listenings,” and most of all being called “Hopeless” or “dumb sh**.”  
 But Hope soon finds peace and solace when she’s assigned to read “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” Through Anne’s diary she learns how to cope, how to be brave, and above all that she’s not the only person to have the feelings she holds so deep down inside. Hope even goes as far as making a secret annexe of her own in her closet.  

Hope finally comes full circle. With the help of Anne Frank, friends and family, she finds out she isn’t as hopeless as she thought. By the end of the book readers are taken on a journey through painful feelings, heartbreaking situations, and brutal honesty. As Hope will never forget Anne Frank and the struggles of all those during the Holocaust, readers will never forget Hope.  

 The core of Gretchen Olson’s Call Me Hope is verbal abuse. The subject matter, which is sensitive, is approached with grace, care, honesty, and above all, tact. It is a difficult task to present this to children in a way that is mature yet understandable, Olson does a great job at not dumbing down the text or not assuming that her target audience won’t “get” the books point.

Within the pages, Olson has done a fine job defining (not in the traditional sense but by way of emotion) of what verbal abuse is, the key signs to know if someone is verbally abused, and all of the feelings that are attached. She has also done a fine job in creating a character, Hope, that is strong, realistic, and one that is readers can sympathize with.  

Call Me Hope is a story of courage, of love, and of truth. It is well written and broken into short chapters – a key component to making this book what it is. Because of the short chapters, the book is understandable and relatable. It’s amazing how well Olson  blends to completely different life stories together and makes it work. There are even moments when readers may think they are reading about the feelings and struggles of Frank herself only to  realize they are Hope’s feelings. Olson has even managed to work in powerful quotes from Diary of a Young Girl blending fact with fiction.   


One thought on “Call Me Hope

  1. missprint says:

    This is an official invitation to join my “Finding the ‘good’ parents in YA Lit” challenge and post your own list of books with “good” parents (in addition to the emailed message for symmetry’s sake).

    You can find all the information here:


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