cover image Where We Used to Roam

Where We Used to Roam

Jenn Bishop. Aladdin, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5729-4

Quiet, artistic sixth grader Emma O’Malley describes her beloved older brother Austin, a high school junior, as the guy “everyone paid attention to when he walked into a room.” So, when Austin urges Emma—who loves creating Joseph Cornell–inspired shadow boxes after seeing them at the Art Institute—to join the art club, she agrees, despite discouragement from her best friend Becca. Soon, Emma realizes she has more in common with art club members Kennedy, who is white, and Lucy, who is Asian, than with übersmart, book-loving Becca. But then Kennedy publicly humiliates Becca, and Emma’s parents reveal that Austin is addicted to opioids, which he’s been prescribed for a sports injury. While Austin undergoes treatment, Emma is sent from their home in the Boston suburbs to spend the summer with family friends in Wyoming. There, Emma befriends affable, curly brown–haired Tyler, whose mom is in prison for selling narcotics, while she grapples with anger and guilt. In this transparent examination of how addiction can affect families, Bishop (Things You Can’t Say) effectively showcases Emma’s realistic struggle to forgive her friends, her family, and herself; her turbulent emotions make her a relatable, authentic character. Ages 8–12. [em](Mar.) [/em]