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Comics & Graphic Novels Literary


by (author) Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki

Drawn & Quarterly
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


"Gloriously rendered… An ode to traveling as friends when you’re both young and carefree and every new experience is exciting and wondrous.”―Robert Ito, The New York Times Book Review
Spring Break, 2009: Five days, three friends, and one big city.
Roaming marks a triumphant return to the graphic novel and a deft foray into new adult fiction for Caldecott Medal authors Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.
Over the course of a much-anticipated trip to New York, an unexpected fling blossoms between casual acquaintances and throws a long-term friendship off-balance. Emotional tensions vibrate wildly against the resplendently illustrated backdrop of the city, capturing a spontaneous queer romance in all of its fledgling glory. Slick attention to the details of a bustling, intimidating metropolis are softened with a palette of muted pastels, as though seen through the eyes of first-time travelers. The awe, wonder, and occasional stumble along the way come to life with stunning accuracy.
Roaming is the third collaboration from the critically acclaimed team behind Skim and Governor General’s Literary Award winner This One Summer. Moody, atmospheric, and teeming with life, the magic of this comics duo leaks through the pages with lush and exquisite pen work. The Tamakis’ singular, elegant vision of an urban paradise slowly revealing its imperfections to the tune of its visitors’ rhythms is a masterpiece—a future classic for generations to come.

About the authors


Jillian Tamaki est l'illustratrice et la caricaturiste de plusieurs livres, dont Cet été- là, un roman illustré pour ados qu'elle a créé avec sa cousine Mariko Tamaki. Ce roman lui a valu le Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général, catégorie littérature jeunesse – livres illustrés et le prix Eisner dans la catégorie « meilleur album graphique ». Les illustrations de Jillian se retrouvent dans les publications les plus prestigieuses comme le New York Times, le New Yorker et le Guardian. Originaire de Calgary, en Alberta, elle habite maintenant à Toronto.


Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario. Her books include Skim and This One Summer, both co-created with her cousin Mariko Tamaki; and Super Mutant Magic Academy and Boundless. She has contributed illustrations to some of the world's top publications, including the New York Times, the New Yorker and the Guardian, and has taught at Parsons and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.


Jillian Tamaki's profile page

Mariko Tamaki is a writer and performer. Her work includes the novella Cover Me, creative non-fiction collections True Lies and Fake ID, comics Emiko Superstar (with Steve Rolston) and Skim (with Jillian Tamaki), and the young adult novel (You) Set Me on Fire. Her debut as a screenwriter/actor, Happy 16th Birthday Kevin, premiered at the Inside Out Festival in Toronto in May 2013. Mariko’s stories have been broadcast on national radio and she has appeared on stages, in various incarnations of herself, across North America. Mariko can be found online at @marikotamaki and

Mariko Tamaki's profile page

Editorial Reviews

How exhilarating it is to be young, to be in love, to explore new places and aspects of yourself, and to experience each emotion, good or bad, so very intensely.

Library Journal, Starred Review

A fizzing, brilliantly observed tale of the kind of youthful city break that might only last days but can echo for a lifetime.

The Guardian, James Smart’s Best Graphic Novels of 2023

Roaming is about two Canadian kids on spring break to New York… It turns out to be surprisingly emotional even though it’s a very simple story. I’ll admit: I shed a tear.

New York Times Staff Picks

Lushly drawn, Roaming is an immersive, compelling read showing both Tamakis at the top of their game.


Roaming made me wanna be 17 all over again. Mobbing the streets of NYC with my angsty, goofy, dare-devil friends skateboarding at the cube on Astor place and riding the Cyclone at Coney Island, screaming at the top of our lungs, feeling like nothing could ever stop us. The Tamakis give us NYC youth magic on a platter scuffed with glitter, make out sessions and tourist stops at Times Square. It’s a love letter to the greatest city in the world and all the beautiful tender queer kids running wild and free.

Juliet Takes A Breath

The beauty of Roaming is that it captures its characters at a potent moment of change, one that holds possibilities and that also contains loss.

Xtra Magazine

Jillian Tamaki’s bluish color palette in her illustrations serves to accentuate both the melancholy and buzzy warmth of the story, while Mariko Tamaki’s dialogue expertly captures the essences of the characters.


Gorgeous, wistful… This is a book for anyone who’s tried to figure out who they are and what brings them joy while, unfortunately, acting like a total shithead in the process. And isn’t that all of us?

Them, 23 Favorite LGBTQ+ Books of 2023

Roaming is a masterful telling of a story we almost never get about young Asian American people experimenting with love, selfhood, sex, affection, artistic ambition, personal ambition, all while looking for the friends who can see you through. We are the third third wheel to this trio of friends, old and new, who come to get lost in the magic of New York, who I suppose is the fourth friend—it is after all a love letter to the city too.

Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

A moving look at the peculiar, if inevitable, challenges of young adulthood… What the Tamakis are saying―or, more accurately, showing―is that we continue to contain our former selves even as we grow out of them.

Alta Journal

Cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki revel in the time-distorting magic of true young adulthood, when a week can feel like a year, and a day can change your life.

The Washington Post

Roaming perfectly captures that weird second adolescence between high school and adulthood: the thrill and torture of new experiences, the growing pains of old friendships, the feelings that are ultimately both silly and life-altering.

Tavi Gevinson

The Tamakis' keen understanding of how friendships shift and change is at its heartachingly vivid best here. Absolutely superb.

ALA Booklist, Starred Review

Roaming took me right back to those sweet, messy years when everything felt terrifying and heartbreaking and gorgeous, all at once. I want to hand this book out to everyone I knew and loved in those years; I know they would fall in love with these characters as much as I did.

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On

For LGBTQ+ readers, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s newest graphic novel is a treat on par with a classic New York City slice.


Anyone who’s been nineteen can identify with Roaming’s overarching themes: the messiness of learning that the freedom of adulthood still has boundaries and that exploration has its limits.

The Walrus

Tender, honest, and gorgeously illustrated, Roaming charters a course through the choppy waters of a queer fling with aplomb.

¡Hola Papi!

The city’s sights, sounds and smells leap out of the pages... We can feel the brush of fingertips and the catching of breath with as much sensitivity as the rush of Times Square or the breeze in Central Park – and that is a treat you can’t miss.


A shrewd and wistful coming-of-age story that may be their best work yet.

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Messy, tender and teeming with life, Roaming is exactly the kind of story young people today should be reading. I couldn't put it down.


An instant classic.

Comic Book Resources

[Roaming] explores friendship, sex, and identity in an energetic romp through New York City rendered with sharp dialogue and in mesmerizing tableaus of soft peach and purple.

Quill & Quire

[Roaming] acknowledges the necessary messiness of young adulthood without judgment.

The Globe & Mail

A big book full of small, meaningful moments.

Electric Literature

Read and experience the thrill of a crush, the pain of being a third wheel, the joy of being inside the M&M’s store.

The Walrus, Best Books of Fall 2023

Roaming perfectly captures so much of what it feels like to be both fully grown and still becoming who you are. The utterly brilliant Tamakis show the highs and lows of friendship and love and what it means to explore. A beautiful book for any 19 year old, yes, but also for anyone who was once 19.

Emma Straub

A nuanced, intricately observed, and bittersweet love letter to the yearnings and frustrations and fears and joys of friendship during a particular moment of change and growth that we will all recognize from our own lives. The Tamakis are masters of the medium of the graphic novel.

Goodbye, Again and Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too

I've never been a young Canadian tourist visiting New York for the first time in 2009, but Roaming made me feel like one. It's a beautiful, immersive slice-of-life, and Jillian Tamaki's artwork has never been more observant, inventive, and breathtakingly alive.

Shortcomings and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

Roaming is gloriously rendered… A love letter to New York, but also an ode to traveling as friends when you’re both young and carefree and every new experience is exciting and wondrous.

The New York Times Book Review

Cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki revel in the time-distorting magic of true young adulthood, when a week can feel like a year, and a day can change your life.

The Washington Post, Best Graphic Novels of 2023

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