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Book online «Where We Used to Roam Jenn Bishop (red white royal blue TXT) 📖». Author Jenn Bishop

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Praise for Things You Can’t Say

“A touching and believable story about the ways worries feed on each other, the difference that honesty makes to kids, and how much emotional growth a child Drew’s age can experience in just a few weeks.” —Publishers Weekly

“A thoughtful examination of the slow, uneven recovery that follows a devastating loss.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A sensitive exploration of suicide, forgiveness, and the difficulty of navigating friendships.” —Booklist

“Bishop’s emotional novel may provide a way for readers whose lives have been impacted by suicide to navigate a complex topic and will appeal to those who appreciate tales of trauma and healing.” —SLJ

“With a deft, sympathetic hand, Bishop relates Drew’s struggles to define his own identity while coming to terms with the man his father was.” —BCCB

For everyone who’s a little lost and looking for their herd

It could be an adventure. That’s what Mom told me not even a week ago. But as I stare out the tiny smudged window at the airline worker below as he tosses suitcase after suitcase on the conveyor belt headed for my airplane, I only feel like I’m running away. From what’s happening with my brother. From what I did to Becca. From everything.

And not the kind of running away we did as little kids, where you pack your backpack with your favorite snacks, a sweatshirt, and a stuffed animal before hiding out in a neighbor’s yard, but the real kind. Putting two thousand miles between yourself and everything and everyone you know.

A tall guy who can’t be much older than Austin, with dark brown skin, gentle eyes, and a Boston College men’s basketball sweatshirt, slides into the seat next to me. “Sorry,” he says, with no choice but to spread his legs open, his knee knocking into mine. “They were all out of exit-row seats.”

I pivot my legs toward the window and out of his way. “No worries,” I say. “Do you play?” I gesture to his sweatshirt.

“Yeah,” he says. “Forward. You?”

I can’t help but laugh at the suggestion. “No, but my brother, Austin, he…” Used to. The words slip out of my grasp. He will again, I tell myself. Thirty days on Cape Cod is going to fix him. It has to.

“Cool, cool,” he says before slipping red headphones over his ears.

Soon, the plane is filled up. All these people headed to Denver or even farther away. Like me. Except, probably not like me. I bet they’re on vacation or traveling for business. Or going home for the summer now that all the colleges around Boston have let out.

When it’s time for takeoff, I shut my eyes tight, but this time when I close them, all I see is my brother in the upstairs hallway. Austin, with his hand in a fist. How mad he looked, but not at me—at himself.

I don’t like that Austin, can’t look at that version of him anymore. I open my eyes and peer out the window as the plane dips to the left and the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean glimmers in the sun. I reach down, loosen the straps on my Birkenstocks, and rest my feet on my backpack. The vibrations from the engine travel up through my whole body, like they’re trying to soothe me.

The plane levels off, and we head west over the city. The skyscrapers downtown suddenly don’t seem so tall. Down below, I spy the green lawn of Boston Common, the muddy water of the Charles, the stone buildings on the Harvard campus.

Becca must be down there somewhere, at the camp she goes to every summer with her fellow geniuses. All the other summers, she’d complain, wishing I could accompany her. But this summer?

No, this summer I’m sure she’s glad to be away from me and everyone else from our school. Happy for a fresh start after how I ruined her life.

I rummage through my backpack for my sketchbook, flip it open to a clean page, and wipe my sweaty palms on my lap before uncapping my pen.

Dear Becca, I write, before stopping to stare out the window again. Everything’s so small, like a dollhouse world. Tiny Matchbox cars zipping down the Mass Pike. From up here you can’t see the people inside. From up here it looks perfect.

That’s how my life used to be. I didn’t realize it until now—didn’t have anything else to compare it to—but it was.

I close my eyes again, but now all I see is that look on Becca’s face, almost like I’d slapped her. It was my chance to apologize, to try to make things right, but all I did was make things worse. Me and my big mouth. Guess all that time hanging out with Kennedy finally wore off on me.

I press my pen to the paper. I’m sorr—

Some turbulence sends the pen jumping across the page, leaving a huge scribble behind. I close the notebook, put the cap back on the pen. I can write to her later. I have the whole flight. The whole summer, really.

Two months to figure out how to fix the mess I made.



Maybe everything could have been different if Ms. Patel—sorry, Nisha—had never approached me in art class. Not that any of what happened after is her fault. It’s just that something—someone—had to be the first domino to fall. The one that sent all the others toppling. And if I think back, it was that moment that set it all into motion.

At least as far as Becca was concerned.

It was seventh period, the last class of the day before Thanksgiving break. But you wouldn’t have been able to tell from peeking into the art room on that gray day. Ms. Patel always had music playing in her room—a mix of her own CDs and student iPhones plugged

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