Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SELLING HOPE by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb


by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-61122-4
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels, a magician’s daughter, hates vaudeville and fantasizes about abandoning the itinerant life and saving enough money to settle down with her widowed father in Chicago. Her father, conversely, fervently espouses Thoreau’s ideals, pronouncing, “Wherever you are—that’s your home!” Taking matters into her own hands, Hope decides to cash in on 1910 America’s terror that Halley’s Comet will destroy the Earth. She enlists the help of the handsome 15-year-old Buster Keaton and begins a booming business in minty-fresh “Hope’s Anti-Comet Pills.” (Her mission becomes significantly less mercenary in the 17-day countdown to the comet’s predicted arrival.) Hope has a sort of vaudevillian Tourette’s—her “internal voice” is peppered with wisecracks that appear frequently, offset in bold and italics, and they are insufferably corny or, worse, baffling: “Chicago is so windy, a chicken here once laid the same egg six times!” Unfortunately, these quips—however reflective of the humor of the era—detract mightily from this oft-engaging, pleasantly romantic romp through a fascinating time in America’s entertainment history. (author’s note, acknowledgments, recommended reading) (Historical fiction. 11-14)