[G] The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

8 Apr

(#63 on School Library Journal‘s Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results from 2012.)

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson is about a smart, sassy, racist girl named Galadriel (or “Gilly”) who has been causing trouble in the foster care system. I had no idea she was named for the Lord of the Rings character, and I was surprised by how racist she is at the beginning of the book for a main character in a children’s book. But I was impressed by her journey of acceptance for both herself and for those around her, even if she didn’t get quite the happy ending she had hoped for.

I avoided reading this book for a long time, and I’m not really sure why. I think for a while, it was one of those books that I had heard about so much that I thought I’d already read it. Recently, after reading a summary of it, I was able to place it firmly in the “haven’t read” category (or at least the “don’t have any recollection of it at all” category) because I didn’t really feel like reading another rebellious (foster, orphan, adopted, etc.) child books (I’d read plenty growing up). But then, I needed a “G” book off the Top 100 list, so I decided to give it a try. (I also got a copy of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which I’ve been meaning to read for forever, but I didn’t really like Coraline all that much, so it made me less enthusiastic about Gaiman’s other “G” book. I’ve checked it out at least twice already, but hopefully I’ll actually get around to reading it this time. I just didn’t get around to it before I had to write this post…)

It was another small ordeal getting a hold of a copy because there were none available through the L.A. (city) public library, so I had to go through the county system. Other than the fact that my county library branch is not quite as close as the city library branch, I also try to avoid the county system because it takes a really long time to get books from different branches, and on top of that, they don’t have email notification when my book arrives. Instead, I get a quaint letter in the mail telling me that my book has arrived (sometimes after I pick it up at the library because I was obsessively checking my online account to see if the book was there yet, so I found out before they could notify me).

Anyway, I finally had time to read the book a couple weeks ago, and I enjoyed it despite myself. I shouldn’t have been surprised, since Katherine Paterson wrote one of my favorite books while growing up, Jacob Have I Loved. I usually like happy endings, but for some reason, I’m okay with not having one in her books.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter G.


4 Responses to “[G] The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson”

  1. Stephanie M. Hasty (@smj274) April 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I am visiting from A-Z. I must say I quite enjoy your topic and also have a deep love for JACOB HAVE I LOVED. I’ll have to check out this book!

    Here’s my G post:

  2. thebnc April 9, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    I remember reading that book when I was 10 or 11, the perfect age for it. 🙂 I had COMPLETELY forgotten Gilly’s real name was Galadriel, something that makes me grin now (as I converted to LOTR fandom when the movies were released, nearly 10 years after I read the book).

    It’s been a long time and I haven’t reread it since, but I remember really enjoying the story and Gilly’s growth as a character, but being sad that the ending wasn’t happier.

  3. Nagzilla April 9, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Wow, I haven’t even heard of this book. I also liked Jacob Have I Loved when I was younger, so I may have to check this out.

    I will say that The Graveyard Book is fantastic. I personally thought it was very different from Coraline. Much more like American Gods. But then, I love me some Neil Gaiman, so it was fun to read with my daughter.


  1. SLJ’s Top 100 Chapter Books 2012 | nita's books - April 19, 2013

    […] and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964) #62 Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (2006) #63 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (1978) #64 The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (1947) #65 Wonder […]

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