We spend a lot of time in Hope Yancey's brain as she narrates the story about food, fathers, and finding love, but it's a good place to be. Aside from being insightful, engaging, and funny, the young woman is incredibly credible. She shows compassion to those who are struggling even as she struggles to find a sense of purpose and belonging.
While Hope's rather mature for her age, she still comes across as a teenager by revealing her anxieties about fitting in, making friends, and dealing with her mother. She talks directly to us—the readers—about the more painful parts of her life but it never feels like she's whining or complaining when she does so.
We can sense her sadness, though, through the little emotional tag lines she adds at the end of her sentences. For example, "My mother taught me to do that on my thirteenth birthday—the last time I saw her" (43); or "Everything seemed like it belonged there. Except me"; or "I wish like anything my mom would treat me as well as she treats her customers. Ask me what I need." Yeah, it's a little passive-aggressive, but she'd lose a whole lot street cred as the narrator if she didn't acknowledge the hurt.