- C.H. Armstrong
- February 5, 2019
- Young Adult Fiction | 320pp
- Trade Paper 978-1-77168-151-3 $14.99
- Ebook 978-1-77168-152-0 $5.99
Being a homeless teen is harder. Keeping it a secret is even harder.
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?
“In Roam, C.H. Armstrong sings with a brilliant, powerful youthful voice as she portrays a narrator named Abby who experiences what it’s like to be homeless with her family, while dealing with the emotional and complex daily challenges of attending a new school. We, her readers, are drawn in from the first page. This lovely book has tremendous heart.” —Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking
“Roam is a study in empathy, forgiveness, and second chances—an impactful and memorable story of teenage homelessness.” —Foreword Reviews
“In her warm and hopeful novel, C.H. Armstrong has created a spirited heroine who triumphs over her circumstances thanks to those who believe in her; friends, family, teachers and ultimately, herself.” —Lorna Landvik, author of Once in A Blue Moon Lodge
“Armstrong’s book pays compassionate and eloquent attention to teenage angst and love amidst the backdrop of homelessness.” —Cara Sue Achterberg, author of Girls’ Weekend and I’m Not Her
“A must-read for all young people to understand the hardship of homelessness and how they can reach out to help others.” —Cathy Lamb, author of No Place I’d Rather Be
I hate this town already.
My stepdad, Nick, drives down the main street of Rochester, pulling even with a car filled with teenagers. I stare at them, thankful for the van’s tinted windows that keep my gaze from catching their attention.
The driver is a girl about my age, and the car is a fi re-engine red sports car with temporary tags. She and her passengers dance in their seats, singing to the blaring music.
Everywhere I look screams wealth and privilege—from the carefully manicured lawns to the kids in the car next to us. Th e cost of their clothing alone would probably eat up Nick’s whole paycheck—if he still had one. But he doesn’t, and neither does Mom.
I wonder about the kids in the sports car. Are they as perfect as they appear, or are their lives secretly as screwed up as mine? Maybe the driver’s dad is embezzling money from his company. He’ll get caught next week, the scandal will hit the newspapers, and the whole family will be ruined. Or the guy in the passenger seat: maybe he’s about to discover his parents are really his grandparents, and his “older sister” is really his mom. Everybody’s hiding something. We all have secrets. It can’t be just my family.