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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 3 star ratings
3 reviews

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4.7 out of 5
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    Great YA Read about Homelessness

    Roam is a YA novel that revolves around homelessness, family and friendship. I really liked how the author portrayed how easy it was for the MC and her family to become homeless and the ways in which they struggled. I became more aware of what homeless people go through and what services are available for them. Roam is also a book about family and although there is conflict within the MC's family, in the end, they band together and try to take equal responsibility. As well, I like how positive friendships and relationship were highlighted in the story. I also think the flashbacks were utilised very well. Things in the MC's current life trigger memories from similar but traumatic situations and from this we gradually learn about her past and what she has been through to make it hard to trust her friends with the truth of her homelessness. The novel ends off on a very hopeful note, with the message that one shouldn't be ashamed or embarassed of things that are out of their control. As far as the writing and characters go, I thought it was quite good. Nothing special but they really carried the message and ideas well, which I think are the star qualities of this book. Overall, Roam is quick read that shines a light on the underrepresented issue of homelessness. 3.75 stars
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    Delightful characters

    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.
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    A wonderful, poignant read

    Abby Lunde at just Seventeen years-old is going through one of the toughest times of her life. Not only have her family consisting of Mum, Stepdad Nick and little sister Amber had to move cities, they also don’t have anywhere to live and are currently living in the families van, as well as not having enough money for food so are relying on homeless places and churches to feed them. Abby’s Mum made a terrible decision that cost her, her job as a teacher. Nick was then was made redundant and with no money coming in, losing their home and the whole town turning against them Nick decided to take the family to Rochester where he knew they could get help. Now Abby is in a new school, trying to make new friends, whilst trying to keep the biggest secret she has ever kept – She is homeless. 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.

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