Hope Yancey is the main character in Hope Was Here. She is a teenage girl who lives with her aunt. Hope is an adaptable person. She adapts to all the changes and moves in her life. The most steady thing in her life is her aunt, who raised her. G.T. becomes like a father to her after he and her aunt marry. Hope and her aunt go to work at G.T.'s diner. She meets Braverman, who works at the diner. She likes him.
Addie is Hope's aunt. She has worked in many restaurants. She cares for Hope like a daughter. She falls in love with G.T. and they get married.
Gabriel Thomas (G.T.) Stoop owns the Welcome Stairways diner. He is a caring man and he eventually marries Addie and adopts Hope as his daughter. He runs for mayor, which is an important focus of the book. G.T. gets cancer, and eventually he passes away from it.
Braverman is an assistant cook at Welcome Stairways. He works hard to help support his mother, who is recovering from surgery. He is a compassionate person. He gets involved with G.T.'s campaign.