Joan Bauer's novel Hope Was Here, is a wonderful coming of age story about the title character, Hope, making her way in the world. Hope Yancey is an engaging and unique character who is moving to Mulhoney, Wisconsin, with her aunt Addie in order to work for a man who is dying of Leukemia. Addie is a short order cook and Hope is a waitress. Every place she goes, she writes "Hope was here," to prove that she was there and had made an impact on the place.
Her real name is revealed on page six of the novel. Hope states:
"But my mom, Deena, left me with two things. One I kept--her gift of waitressing; the other I threw away--the name she gave me at birth which, I swear, was Tulip. How a person can look at a two pound baby all wired up in a hospital box and think Tulip is beyond me."
Hope has only seen her biological mother three times in her life: on her fifth, eighth, and thirteenth birthdays. On her eighth birthday, she asks her biological mother why she named her Tulip. Her mother explains that she once saw a movie that was set in Holland with an actress running through tulips and looking happy and free. Hope's mother explains: "I wanted to think of you that way. Happy and free. Running through tulips." Hope states that it took her twelve years to break free from the "curse" of her name and all the teasing that went with it.