Roam

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you Central Avenue Publishing and a Netgalley for this ARC.

I give his book 4.5 stars 

This YA novel was fabulous, it pulled me in quickly and I couldn’t put it down.  I evoked lots of emotion at times and really made me so grateful that I have never had to worry about a roof over my head and other securities often taken for granted.  

This novel raises many relevant issues including poverty, homelessnes, bullying, exclusion, trying to fit in.  It really illustrated how a series of bad decisions can impact so devastatingly on many lives.  The only thing that stopped this being a 5 star book in my mind was that, while reading, I often questioned if this was a realistic enough account of the issue of homelessness.  I often felt that so many opportunities seemingly came at the right moment throughout the book, especially to the 17 year old main character.  I truly hope in real life this would have occurred, however the cynical part of me questioned how often this would be the reality for others in this situation.

I highly recommend this great book.  I have been thinking about it ever since I regretfully finished the last page.
Was this review helpful?
The characters were written very realistically for high school and in a very raw emotional way. I enjoyed the homelessness and how easy it was to read.
Was this review helpful?
At first glance, Roam is your typical high school romance story: new girl arrives at the school, popular boy is immediately interested in her, popular boy’s bitchy ex-girlfriend goes on to bully new girl for the entire year… You know how it goes. Only this time, the new girl happens to be homeless, and next to worrying about homecoming, she also has to worry about her little sister getting enough food and not freezing to death in the van they’re living in.

Roam was tough to read at times. Although we have never been homeless, some of the financial struggle and awkward lies Abby tells were familiar to me. No teen should hear their parents desperately trying and failing to provide for them, and yet many do. There was a constant anxiety in the book – I as the reader knew that sooner or later Abby and her family would be caught, her secret would come out, she would have to deal with that fallout. And of course, it eventually happened, although it was very different from what I expected.

What I really appreciated in the book is that so many people meet Abby and her family with kindness. There were people willing to help everywhere, despite the awful situation they were put in. While it’s much less positive, I also liked Abby’s flashbacks, and the way completely innocent things sometimes reminded her of the trauma she was put through in her previous school.

I’m going to admit here that I really, really hate the mean girl bully type. Maybe I was just insanely lucky in my high school years, because while I didn’t get through them completely bullying-free, some of the stuff fictional bullies do just goes way over what I can believe. Still, in this case (while I can’t say much without spoilers) I felt like Trish’s case was handled nicely in the end.

Overall, Roam is a mix between your average hetero high school romance, and a story about a girl living homeless with her parents and little sister. It is an emotional read, but thankfully it has both negative and positive emotions, and ultimately ends on a positive note.
Was this review helpful?
Roam discussed the issue of homelessness in a very real way. In every page, you can feel the heaviness and struggle Abby and her family faced in being homeless. For me, the story was really driven by the main character, Abby. Whether you’ll enjoy the story or not will depend on whether or not you like her. Althought it’s really nothing to worry about as Abby is an easily lovable character. 

In the first half of the book, we get to meet an angrier Abby. It was totally understandable as the family is going through a horrible time. I think the author did well in writing Abby; I guess that if any teenager was to go through what she went through, they’ll react pretty similarly. She was really angry at her mum and blamed her on their situation. The story then follow Abby in navigating her life in the new school, with new friends and love interest who had no idea about her living arrangement. 

For me, Roam is a book about acceptance, forgiveness, and empathy. As the book progressed, it focused on Abby finally accepting that it was her new situation and that she had to work with her family to find a solution to their problems. Along the way, Abby also had to forgive her mother who she blamed quite harshly in the book. 

Despite all the struggle she was going through, Abby still got to experience high school. I think it was one reason why I like the book. There’s still balance between the real issues and the fluff. Between the hardships and the friendships Abby found in the midst of all of it. 

Roam was definitely a quick read for me. I have to admit that the book is too Young Adult for me but I think YA lovers will still enjoy the book.
Was this review helpful?
I read Roam on a complete whim. It was a book that I was honestly worried to read. A homeless teen who wants to hide it from their peers? It sounds like fanfiction in every way. But there I was, lounging in the sun, burning to an absolute pile of ash when I thought ‘lets just do it’. So I opened up the file on my kindle, and here we are.

I’ll admit, this review is long overdue, and I'm not good at time management. But I was, okay. It was a pleasant book to read. I wasn’t extremely overwhelmed but there were a few things that kept me really hooked. I found that the writing style of ‘Roam’ was very relaxed, and that made it very easy to read.  

The flashbacks in the story gave me a lot of insight into the characters and made the story more complicated and interesting. And I would be lying if Is aid I didn’t enjoy the book, I was just slightly underwhelmed. The love story seemed extremely thought out, and it showed through the writing, as I felt that it seemed very predictable and easy.

I did really enjoy this novel, and if contemporary is what you want, then this is certainly one to read. You feel with the characters and let the book play on you for a bit. Stopping every now and then builds up your suspense and enjoyment, well, it did for me. The family ties are so strong and I’m sure that this is something people will enjoy.

https://afewchapterstillove.blogspot.com
Was this review helpful?
This is very shallow, basic,, almost flippant and dull YA book. While billed as a reflection on teenage homelessness, the bulk of the story focused on everything but, treating the homelessness as a peripheral issue. However. I do appreciate what the author tries to do, showing that homelessness *is* just another thing, rather than THE thing. A person can be homeless but still smart and talented and worthy of love, compassion, and friendship. 

If I were a high school student, I’d probably enjoy it more than reading it as an adult.
Was this review helpful?
I received an arc from Netgalley for an honest review. This novel is amazing. I’m so happy I’ve gotten a chance an read this novel. I think everyone of all ages should read this book. Abby Lunde is a homeless teenager. Her and her family are living in a van. Her mother made some mistakes that made her lost her job and her step dad was laid off which caused them to wind up homeless. This is a heartbreaking but beautiful story. I loved it, I loved Abby, Zach, Josh and Amber as characters in this story. C.H Armstrong’s writing really captivates the reality of people dealing with homelessness in everyday life. She is a great writer and story teller. Please go read this novel.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautiful book about how easy it is for life to fall apart, and what you do afterwards. 

Abby's mum makes a mistake at work that costs her, her job. Her stepfather is made redundant and suddenly this average family is living in their van. They leave for a new town and Abby has to start school and try and hide the fact that she's actually homeless. The novel is sweet and heart-breaking and there are moments of humour in there too. It's a compassionate and thoughtful story that balances the difficulties of something serious, with the usual problems of adolescence and it feels real to me.
Was this review helpful?
5/5 STARS!

This book was so moving and captivating! The story of Abby’s struggle as a homeless teen in a new town breaks your heart but her strength and perseverance stitch it back together! 

C.H. Armstrong writes an absolutely tragic tale of how one bad decision can have a ripple effect and change the lives of everyone around you. The Lunde family found themselves sleeping in the back of their van in a Walmart parking lot as a means to survive. Seeking out every soup kitchen, pantry or temporary shelter available in town and making the best of a very bad situation.

The author’s ability to pull you into the story as if you were there, experiencing it for yourself was incredible. I loved the teen perspective this book provided on social justice issues as well as economic ones. How difficult it was for Abby to hide, fib and disengage, just to fit in and go unnoticed. 

But she didn’t go unnoticed. She caught the attention of the most popular guy in school and gained a group of friends who were the opposite of the ones that turned their back on her in Omaha. She built an unwavering own support system within the walls of her new high school, with peers, teachers and administrators. She thrived and broke out of her shell, despite the difficult home life she was forced to return to each and every afternoon.

The romantic aspect of this story was sweet and endearing. I loved the chemistry between Abby and Zach. His willingness to accept her, despite the truths she’d kept from him, really showed his true character and love for her.

I adored this read for both the characters and the storyline.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a surprise because I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Tge book centers around Abby, a seventeen year old homeless teen. Unlike some stories, where the teens runaways or is addicted to drugs. She's homeless along with the rest of her family because of a scandalous decision by her mother.

This book really pulled on my heartstrings because I can remember the turbulent emotions of teen years and I can't imagine trying to deal and be homeless! I was pleasantly surprised with the spiritual element in the novel and I thought it was a fabulous touch!

I enjoyed discovering the rocky relationship between Abby and her Mother. I believe, most of us can sympathize because we have had those ups & downs with our own mothers.

I recommend reading this coming-of-age novel, for anyone that is a YA or New Adult book lover! Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for providing me with an ARC for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
*4.5*

 was totally blown away by this book, really. I was expecting to like it, but not love it as much as I did.
"Roam" is a YA contemporary story about Abby, a teenage girl who suddenly finds herself living on the streets with her mother, little sister and stepdad thanks to stupid mistake that her mother made. Abby finds herself divided between being an homeless teen and living the best life she can at school.
This read truly opened my eyes. I suffered with Abby and for her, and I cried a lot, both happy and sad tears. I was so happy that she was able to find herself again, and that she had the chance to find some amazing friends, Josh before all. He was one of my favourite characters, and he was so sweet in giving her all of those Disney nicknames. I also liked the diversity in this book, even if one particular line, where Abby first met one of the boys (don't want to say who because spoilers) and discovered that he is homosexual really bothered me. She said something along the lines of "are you sure?" and I hate that, cause yeah, he's sure thank you very much, you don't ask that to a person who is certain about his/her/their sexuality. Hence the 4,5 stars and not 5.
Beside that, though, I loved everything. Like, for real. The romance was really good, and I don't care if it was a bit too fast, I was enchanted by Zach as much as Abby. He was sweet and caring and I was beyond fascinated by him.
The familiar bonds in this book were truly amazing. I loved how Abby's family was stronger when everyone was there, and I loved how, despite the differences and the struggles, everyone kept on loving each other and they always tried to understand the other person.
I have to say I am truly happy to have read this book, really.
Thanks again to NetGalley and the publishing house for giving me this chance.
Was this review helpful?
I received a netgalley of Roam by C.H. Armstrong, in exchange for an honest review. Abby is a 17 year old senior who is new to town. Due to indiscretions on her mother's behalf, they are homeless. Abby tries to juggle being a normal teenager while trying to hide her secret of being without a home. Abby tries to meet challenges and keep hope alive. You feel for her character and it gives you a glimpse into what many others are facing today. I found it to be an enlightening read.
Was this review helpful?
Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager living with her family in their van is harder. That’s what life is for Abby Lunde in Roam by C.H. Armstrong.

Life was good for Abby in Omaha. Sure her mom was a teacher at her high school, but she was a cheerleader and she had good friends. Her baby sister wasn’t too annoying and her step-father was her Dad and he was pretty good. That’s until her mother had an affair with the high school football coach. She lost her job; Abby was bullied and kicked off the cheerleading squad. Her friends abandoned her. To make things worse, her step-father’s company closed down. With her parents unable to find work, they lost the house. So they moved to Rochester, MN to start over. Living in their van until they can afford someone to live.

From the start, Abby is a success in her new school. She acquires two best friends. Girls are also best friends with the town’s one out gay boy (who is stereotypically Disney-obsessed). The rich, good looking, smart, guitar-playing Quarterback has fallen for her. The Quarterback’s jealous ex-girlfriend bullies Abby. She just needs to hide her living situation until her parents can get them back on their feet and all is great.

Writing that made me realize the stereotypes in the book, but I don’t recall any people of color. Maybe because they were all financially well-off and unless it’s an academically smart Asian person, people of color are generally portrayed as lower-income.

I’m actually fine with there being no people of color in Roam. Sometimes that’s just the neighborhood and there are other books for other neighborhoods. (Please seek out and read those books too!) The stereotypes and utopian aspect of Roam is a little frustrating though. David Levithan did it in Boy Meets Boy because he wanted to write about the world he wanted to live in. I’m not sure C.H. Armstrong was that intentional. Which leads me to my one real criticism of Roam: I’m not sure how much time the author spends with teenagers. I suspect not much. While John Green’s characters are often criticized for their expansive vocabularies, the speech in Roam is often rather formal and a little too “wisdom of an adult”. The adult characters have it a little too, but it’s mainly the teenagers and mainly in the second half.

I definitely enjoyed reading Roam and I’m thankful homelessness is being discussed in this way with no fault or drugs or even mental illness as the cause. The ending is a tad perfect, but I’m happy Abby got it.
Was this review helpful?
Roam is a beautiful narration of what life is like for a homeless teen, and it took a look at what most wouldn't really see just by looking in. Abby is such a wonderful character who I fell in love with I wanted to give her a hug threw the most times. I think young readers will benefit from this book. Stunning read!
Was this review helpful?
First I would like to than Net Galley for granted me mu wish and allowing me to read this ARC. I have to say that this story really touched my heart because it touches on real life issues that young adults go through on a daily basis.

Abby has everything in her one day and the next due to something her mother did they are up and moving to another town. Abby can't believe it because this is her last year of high school and she doesn't want to up and change schools even though she doesn't have any friends and she doesn't have a boyfriend either. But her mother has messed up and her actions have caused the family to have to move. Only when the family moves to a new town they are homeless and are having issues that are causing the family to fight.

Abby is pissed off at her mother but her step father keeps trying to tell Abby that things will get better. Abby starts a new school and she is instantly being bullied which causes her to shut down instead of stand up for herself. Things get worse and Abby thinks her life is over but she holds on and decides to stick it out with her family.

This is a must read story about homelessness and bullying and family sticking together. Everyday teens go through these issues and some deal with it and others give up and commit suicide. Abby chose life thank God but it could have gone the other way.
Was this review helpful?
A contemporary YA novel that doesn't pull any punches. Abby is a typical high school girl who wants to be liked, have friends, go to dances and look nice. The only difference is, she and her family are homeless and living in her mom's van, and Abby doesn't want anyone to know. Tension builds as the weather gets colder in Minnesota and Abby fears being found out. The author touches on many current issues through a delightful cast of characters, showing just how resourceful teenagers can be and how difficult situations can make you stronger. An excellent read.
Was this review helpful?
C.H. Armstrong knows how to write an incredible plot that is not only educational and eye-opening, it is heart-warming too. Abby was your typical teenager. She had good friends, a nice school and a roof over her head, then through no fault of her own, but one that her mum caused by a lack of judgement all that was taken away from her. Her best friends turned on her and made her life hell and with losing their home the family had no option but to pack up and leave and live in their van.

The book is set in the USA and I’m in the UK and it’s hard to think that this family would be left to live in their van as this just wouldn’t happen in the UK, we have emergency housing, shelters, hostels, charities for those families that are homeless. unfortunately, not so much help if you are single and homeless though.

The book is told from Abby’s perspective as she tries to fit in and actually makes some lovely new friends but she is always wondering what will happen when they find out she has nothing, will they dump her like her old school friends. She is quite rightly cagey and worried. Even little things like using her lunch card which she uses to buy her dinner using the states free school dinner scheme for those on low income, or having to brush her teeth and have a quick washing in the school bathroom before school starts.

Her friends including Josh, Wendy, Tera, and Zach are all likeable and fit the story perfectly. Zach is her love interest and I’ve heard people say that it’s not realistic that they would have begun dating so quickly. I’m sorry but this is not true. It does happen, especially with teenagers. I’ve been there and so have most of my friends I grew up with.

I love that Josh calls all the girls by Disney names – Abby becomes Ariel because of her red hair. I actually used to know someone who did something similar though his were movie character names. There had to be one person who took an instant dislike to Abby, the villain of the book, Trisha. I’ve met my share of girls like her. The type who think that it’s fun to bully others or try to shame them someway, trouble is what they don’t realise is that it makes more of a statement about themselves than it does about others.

I had one little niggle and that was with her sister Amber calling her ‘sister’ all the time rather than Abby. This is explained in the book as to why she does it but it is still really annoying, though Amber is a little cutie and will make you laugh.

Overall the book was a wonderful, poignant read and I enjoyed it the whole way through. I learned a lot about Rochester and homelessness too.
Was this review helpful?
I think the topic of homelessness was handled well, but the book as a whole just didn't do anything for me. I couldn't really get into any of the characters - they all just felt flat and stereotypical: the new girl who everyone immediately likes, the hot quarterback boyfriend, the jealous ex-girlfriend, the funny gay friend... 

Then I found myself skimming much of the plot because it was moving pretty slowly with a lot of chatty dialogue, and I just wanted to skip ahead to where something happened. Some of the dialogue is kind of weird and outdated... Abby makes a joke about her car being manufactured by Fred Flintstone, but then she has to add "It's my feet!" because I assume most teens wouldn't get the joke? Looney Tunes pops up too - not sure how many teens would get the Sylvester and Tweety references. And then some of it kind of feels like a needless explanation... we get a big lesson on how if someone with asthma gets the flu it can lead to complications, and we also get informed of how Facebook and Instagram work together... I don't know. Just felt a little heavy handed in some places for me. 

I also felt like Abby found A LOT of helpful adults in her life willing to bend over backwards to help her find scholarships, sign up for standardized tests, and apply to college... and maybe I'm just a cynical, terrible person, but I just feel like most teens would unfortunately not be that lucky. Abby kind of got everything handed neatly to her, and I just felt like this was a little too inaccurate for my tastes. Everything just wraps up really, really neatly for Abby in terms of her social life in high school and her plans for her future.

TL;DR: While I have been lucky enough to not experience homelessness so far, I felt like I got a realistic peek into the life of a teen going through homelessness and how her daily life would change because of that. However, the stereotypical characters, the slow-moving plot, and the sometimes awkward dialogue kept me from enjoying this one.
Was this review helpful?
This is a frank depiction of the life of a homeless youth. The uncertainty and constant lying. The shame and confusion. How hope falls apart. And some of the scenes are visceral and realistic. At the same time, much of it felt too positive. Everything works out for the protagonist's benefit. She lies to her friends. They forgive and accept her. Her family is found squatting. They are accepted and assisted. Even the bully (who is by no means a complex character) is apologetic and changed when the truth is revealed. So while I appreciated the portrayal of the religious people as generous and compassionate without judgement, I didn't like the book on the whole.
Was this review helpful?
Abby had a good life in Omaha, but due to her mother's awful mistake, they lost their home and had to start anew in Rochester.
Abby hated her mother for it, and for good reason. They were homeless and had to sleep in their car. Who would want that kind of life? Especially as winter had arrived and the temperatures outside were teeth-shatteringly cold.

We follow Abby and her family and you see how typical a teenager she is even though her circumstances could not be more different from all those rich kids in her new school. One of whom catches her eye and heart immediately. As well as the new friends she makes. That's probably one of the things that somewhat annoys me - how quickly she seems to make new friends after all the awful experiences she had in her last school. If I were her, I would've been a bit more cautious.

The reason I rated this 3 stars (or more like 3.5), is because it was a bit too predictable for me. All the things that I thought were going to happen, happened. I did enjoy the story and subject of the book and growth of the characters immensely, I just wish there had been more "what the hell just happened" moments for me.
Was this review helpful?