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Things Hoped For    by Andrew Clements order for
Things Hoped For
by Andrew Clements
Order:  USA  Can
Puffin, 2008 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Seventeen-year-old Gwen grew up in West Virginia where her uncle introduced her to the fiddle at age four. Now at seventeen she is a violin prodigy living in New York City with her grandfather and preparing for the most important auditions of her life.

To do her best, Gwen must practice her violin consistently, never taking her focus off the upcoming auditions. There is no room for anything else in her life. When her grandfather leaves a message that he will be gone for a while, she is surprised and puzzled but slightly relieved. Living with Grandfather has been a blessing. He even built a practice room for her in the basement, but anything that is not about her auditions is a distraction.

Lately, her great-uncle Hank has been badgering her grandfather. He stops by as frequently as twice a week, demanding that Grandfather sell the house, which they own together, so that he can use the money to bail out his Staten Island business. His visits upset Gwen's Grandfather making his already persistent cough worse. To keep her uncle from attempting to sell the house while Grandfather is away and Gwen is alone, Gwen pretends that her grandfather is still in the apartment and that he refuses to see his brother.

This book is full of surprises, with an invisible thief, and Gwen's grandfather turning up at an inconvenient time in the most unusual place. Through these experiences, Gwen learns that it's not always necessary to be so single-minded.

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