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ROAM by C.H. Armstrong

Seventeen year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha, but thanks to her mother’s awful mistake, they had to leave what little they had behind for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager—fitting into school, buoyed by dreams of a boyfriend, college, and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over their heads, but times are tough for everyone and Abby is doing everything she can to keep her shameful secret from her new friends. The divide between rich and poor in high school is painfully obvious, and the stress of never knowing where they’re sleeping or where they’ll find their next meal is taking its toll on the whole family.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her friends let her down the same way they did back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?

Title : Roam
Author : C.H. Armstrong
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 303
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Central Avenue Publishing
Release Date : February 5, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5

Micky’s 3.5 star review

This was our January bookclub pick and I am to thank for this month’s read. ROAM was a sweet and gentle contemporary YA exploring the experiences of a homeless family through the eyes of seventeen year old Abby.

This was a read that immediately sparked compassion for the family’s situation but there was an underlying conflict in the family that made their situation even more discomforting. Abby’s family were living in a van, in a Walmart car park, in winter. Meanwhile, Abby was conveying the appearance of a normal teen at school when life was anything but normal.

What I liked was the narrative about homeless life. I felt emotion over the difficulties this family was experiencing. There was Abby’s younger sister, her step father’s love, shame and difficulty over their situation and then there was the difficult relationship between mother and daughter; that was just a hot mess. I liked learning and reading about life eating at soup kitchens, relying on charity and trying to keep things quiet. The storyline of illness was a bumpy ride and had me feeling the stress.

Things I wasn’t so keen on was the teen life in high school, it was a little predictable and cliche at times. I was glad that Abby had Zach and some good friends on her side but sometimes it came with a slice of seeming to be unrealistic.

ROAM was a generally enjoyable and sweet read. I appreciated a book tackling these themes and we’re off to discuss at bookclub this weekend. There are some discussion questions in the back of the book, so that’s super handy.

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