Roam by C.H. Armstrong – Book Review
Roam by C.H. Armstrong – Book Review
Author – C.H. Armstrong
Publisher – Central Avenue Pub
Pages – 320
Released – 5th February 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1771681513
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 4.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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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 behind what little they had for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager-fitting in at school, dreaming 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 new friends let her down like the ones back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?
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.
Reviewed by Stacey
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About the Author
I am a prolific writer and author of THE EDGE OF NOWHERE (2016), ROAM (2019), and co-author of DÉJÀ YOU (2017).
An Oklahoma-native transplanted in Minnesota these last 26 years, I am a 1992 graduation of the University of Oklahoma and a rabid Oklahoma Sooner Football Fan. On most Saturdays from September through January, you can find me propped in front of the TV watching Sooner Football, or studying my smartphone for mobile updates from ESPN that give the current score of whomever OU is playing.
I’m a life-long lover of books and vehemently outspoken about banning and challenging books.
I’m blessed to come from an amazing extended family that begins with my father and his thirteen brothers and sisters. There is very little in this world more important to me than family.