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Where We Used to Roam

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In this powerful middle grade novel from the acclaimed author of Things You Can’t Say, a young girl navigates the social growing pains of middle school and struggles to find her place while her older brother fights to overcome opioid addiction—perfect for fans of The Seventh Wish and Waiting for Normal.

When Emma starts sixth grade, things finally begin to change. She may s
Published March 23rd 2021 by Aladdin
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Average rating 4.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Jenn Bishop
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I mean, I'm sure once I'm done revising, it'll be worth all five stars. ;) ...more
I loved this sensitive, deeply relatable story about family, friendship, and addiction. Jenn Bishop has a knack for writing about difficult topics in an honest, accessible, and balanced way. There's a lot of sadness in this novel about a girl whose older brother is battling an opioid addiction, yes--but there's so much humor, adventure, and beauty, too. WHERE WE USED TO ROAM is a powerful, necessary story about the effects of addiction on Emma's family AND it's a story about Emma's development a ...more
Theresa Grissom
Thanks to Edelweiss for an eARC of this book.

This is my favorite Jenn Bishop book to date (and I have read all her others). I had a hard time putting this one down. The author does a great job of showing how drug addition affects not only the user but the family as well. Loved the characters. Loved the friendships. This would be a great book to talk along with Kate Messner's The Seventh Wish. Looking forward to purchasing for my elementary library. I recommend this for 4th grade and up.
Elly Swartz
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Where We Used to Roam is a sensitive and thought-provoking story about one girl’s efforts to navigate changing friendships, a brother’s addiction, and the ripple effect it has on the whole family. This story will surely be a catalyst for difficult discussions and leave a lasting imprint on your heart.
Jessica Lawson
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book and have so many feelings about it. Jenn Bishop has written such an unflinchingly honest story about so many things~ the way friendships can drift apart, the way we need to find the people who "get" us, the pain of addiction-based diseases (both for the patient and their families), and the way that our mistakes can ultimately be overshadowed by our goodness and ability to forgive. To move forward despite setbacks.

The dialogue rings so true throughout. I read the second
Jenn Bishop
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Ah yes, the book in which I explore my long obsession with bison (and also maybe my crushes on local meteorologists?).
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
A young girl navigates the social growing pains of middle school and struggles to find her place while her older brother fights to overcome opioid addiction.
Kim Bahr
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful story about a family dealing with an addiction
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jenn has written another beautiful story showing a middle grade student struggling with life much the same as tweens everywhere. Readers will be introduced to Emma. Emma is tween that struggles with her lifelong friendship, meeting new friends, and managing a family issue when her brother has an accident and is no longer himself. Then she is suddenly off to Wyoming where she meets Tyler, who is dealing with his own tween issues. Readers will love the relationships built throughout this novel. In ...more
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Where We Used to Roam is a realistic, pitch-perfect book about a family dealing with a teenage son’s opioid addiction. Featuring a relatable protagonist struggling to find her place when nothing in her world is as it used to be, this engaging middle grade book highlights the value of conflict resolution skills, finding friends who see us, and loving our family even when they fall off the right path. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for middle grade books about addiction in the family. M ...more
Lilli Gilliam
Can't wait to read, Jenn! The cover is absolutely stunning! ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, juvenile
I enjoyed this story though the summary was a little deceiving. The first chapter details Emma on her flight to Denver while thinking about how everything in her life blew up. Chapter 2 to the 55% mark explains the past 7 months of Emma's life where she makes new friends, leaves behind her best friend, and witnesses her brother transforming into a different person after a shoulder injury. About 25% of the book takes place in Wyoming which was disappointing. Emma never connected to Delia and Sadi ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bishop has carved a jewel of genre of her own in the middle grade world. She continues to write books that give us the best of what middle stands for—heart, humor, friendship, and solid issues rooted in family and society. In this book, Emma’s family wrestles with her brother’s drug addiction at the same time she copes with the challenges of changing, growing, splitting, and reshaping friendships. Just as in real life, problems don’t come in compartments, and Emma can’t manage them in her art sh ...more
Colin Bischoff
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an adult reading middle-grade, I appreciate the way that this book takes seriously the challenges of pre-teen life. It would have been too easy to focus the book on the serious problem of older brother Austin's drug addiction, but Jenn Bishop does the work to convince us about the importance of Emma's waning childhood friendship and the excitement and fear of new possibilities that are opening up to her. Emma's feelings come across as very authentic and I think the story will ring true to rea ...more
Abby Cooper
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down - a must read about family, friends, and addiction. ...more
Melly Smelly
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seriously can't wait to read this! ...more
Robin Kirk
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Bishop is carving out important ground in middle-grade fiction, where the emotions of both boys and girls take center-stage in stories that engage younger readers. In Where We Used to Roam, she explores how a young girl manages to find a way through a friendship minefield while at the same time trying to understand her brother's fight with addiction. I think many kids face similar challenges and will find sympathy and hope in these pages. ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Emma lives in a suburb of Boston with her parents, a meteorologist and a running store owner, and her older brother Austin, a football star. Her long time best friend, Becca, is very bookish, and as sixth grade starts, the two are having a hard time finding common ground. They both want to join clubs, but Becca wants to do Battle of the Books and Forensics, neither of which sound at all appealing to Emma. She would rather do art club, since one of her hobbies is making
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emma and Becca have been best friends since they were toddlers. They’ve taken ballet together, walked to school together everyday, gone to baseball games together. Basically, they’ve been inseparable. That doesn’t mean they’re alike. Becca is ALWAYS reading and Emma’s passion is art. She’s never without her sketchbook and makes imaginative, creative shadow boxes. Her art teacher encourages her to come to the art club, even though Becca warns her about “the people who are in the art club” and whe ...more
Laura Gardner
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We need more MG books about the opioid crisis and its impact on families; this one by @buffalojenn is excellent! Thanks to @simonkids for the free book (and to @redcanoereader for sharing her copy!)
Emma is in 6th grade and has a loving, close family that includes her, her mom, her dad, and her older brother Austin. She's growing apart from her childhood best friend, Becca, however, and making new friends who share her interest in art, Kennedy and Lucy. Normal tween friendship drama ensues. Th
Read in the
Apr 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of friendship and family, of growing up and growing apart, of trusting your gut and forgiving yourself when you don't. I loved it.

Emma is finishing up her sixth grade year. After she joins the school's art club, she finally finds her "herd" (her brother, Austin's, term). This leaves her torn between her best childhood friend, Becca, and her new friends that share common interests. Then, she makes a mistake that may ruin her friendship with Becca forever. Normally, she'd consult h
M.L. Little
Mar 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
@kidlitexchange Partner: Where We Used to Roam by @buffalojenn. Available NOW through @simonkids.
Emma’s time in middle school gets off to a rough start. She feels like she’s drifting away from her childhood best friend, Becca, and finding new, close friends who share her same interests. This causes problems with Becca, who isn’t growing up as quickly as Emma. On top of that, Emma’s brother, Austin, has been secretive and withdrawn ever since surgery for a football accident. When they find out A
Apr 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where We Used to Roam examines the impact of teen opioid addiction on a family, especially from a younger sibling's perspective. Emma is in seventh grade when her older brother, Austin, sustains a football injury that requires him to undergo surgery. His relationship with his family members, school work, and physical health starts to suffer. Emma deals with family dynamic changes while also developing new friendships that make her re-examine how she feels about her best friend, Becca. When she a ...more
Karen McKenna
May 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought opening the book with Emma on a plane flying "Putting two thousand miles between yourself and everything and everyone that you know" was a great plot choice. I was instantly intrigued by why Emma couldn't come up with the words to say in an apology letter to her friend and why her brother used to play basketball. I was engaged quickly and the flashback to 7 months earlier to find out how everything went wrong had me hooked.

This story does a great job of portraying the shifting friends
Sara Magnafichi
Thank you to Jenn Bishop for providing a copy with #Collabookation. Just as she did with Things You Can't Say, Bishop draws you in from the very beginning. I read this book in 2 sittings. Bishop has a way of making tough topics approachable for everyone, including those who have experienced the topic first hand, and those who have not. Where We Used to Roam explores Emma's experience of having a brother who becomes addicted to opioids after a sports injury that led to major surgery. We experienc ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm super grateful to author Jenn Bishop for providing #collabookation with an ARC of this mg text that tackles some tough topics.

Emma's 6th-grade year begins ok, but things with her best friend and then her brother take an unexpected turn. As she tries to navigate the unfamiliar territory of growing apart from Becca, her brother Austin ends up addicted to opioids.

Since her parents need to take care of Austin, Emma finds herself spending the summer in Wyoming—far from her family, and a much-ant
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This necessary and powerful middle grade story needs to be in classrooms and library‘s. Emma is going to be starting sixth grade and notices that her and her best friend are veering in different directions. Her beloved brother is a football player who gets injured and ends up getting addicted to opioids. Emma feels much guilt around this. Her parents end up sending her to stay with their friends in Wyoming for the summer while they try to help their son. While away Emma meets Tyler who has secre ...more
Cindy Christiansen
Loved this book! Emma, the main character, is going through so much of what my own students are going through. Changing relationships with her friends and family are confusing her, and she feels like it’s her fault that things get messed up. When she gets sent to Wyoming, she’s almost relieved. The things she does there and the people she meet center her a bit, but she still thinks she can make things right again. But is that really true? Should things revert back to the way they were? Preordere ...more
With thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for an early copy in return for an honest review.

Navigating friendships during the transition from elementary to middle school is incredibly difficult. Add in a brother struggling with an opioid addiction and Emma has a lot on her plate right now. Her parents decide she should spend a summer in Wyoming. Good book about some really tough issues. I appreciated the look at the far reaching impact of addiction. Due to the tough is
Jenny Adelman
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jenn Bishop excels at taking topics that can be challenging to discuss and writes about them in an approachable and appropriate way for middle grade readers. In WHERE WE USED TO ROAM, Emma learns her brother has an opioid addiction and has to cope with the changes this brings her family. She is also trying to find her place in middle school, especially related to friendships. A trip to Wyoming helps Emma find herself and helps her move forward in finding her people. Highly recommend for middle g ...more
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Jenn Bishop is the author of the middle-grade novels Things You Can’t Say, 14 Hollow Road, and The Distance to Home. She grew up in Massachusetts and as a college student spent one incredible summer in Wyoming. She has been obsessed with bison ever since. After working as a children’s librarian, she received her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Jenn ...more

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