Bloom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

A sweet story of young love. I appreciated that it wasn't necessarily a "love at first sight" story, but I did find some of the getting-to-know-you parts lacking. Beautiful illustrations; worth reading just for those alone.
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This quiet romance/coming-of-age story uses a leisurely pace to tell a familiar tale, made distinctive by the bakery setting and activity of bread making.

Ari works in the family bakery located in a coastal town. He wants to move to a bigger city with his band of friends, but his father needs his help to keep the struggling business going. Then Hector comes to town to clean out his grandmother’s house and winds up working at the bakery.

Many readers will relate to Ari’s loose vision and aimlessness. He has a goal, but it’s more of a dream than a possibility. As pointed out by other characters, he doesn’t work to make it happen, using the family business and other’s expectations of him as an excuse to avoid making scary steps on his own. He wants to have something meaningful, something his own, but he doesn’t yet know what that might be. He’s full of yearning but not direction.

When it’s pointed out to him that having family, friends, and a job isn’t so bad a life, Ari understands that, but it’s still not what he wants, even though he doesn’t always know what he wants. Hector’s perspective balances out Ari, helping him grow up and understand other points of view.

This is a book to devote a good amount of time to, as incidents develop slowly. The authors seem more interested in showing a realistic wander through life events than following one succinct storyline through tight editing.

The story often pauses for double-page montages, capturing moments in time wordlessly with overlapping slivers of observation. Particularly when it comes to the baking, this helps capture the feel of the process, the time spent assembling and creating, or the emotional effect of a moment. The character work is lovely and expressive, building up the cast members beyond the explicit text.

A late, overly dramatic event is the most artificial element. It feels forced to create a decision point, and that story manipulation isn’t in keeping with the slow development, as with dough rising, that permeates the rest. Given the similarities in setting, season, and mood, this might be a good followup to This One Summer.
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This was a great read. As I am tying this book I want to go back and reread it. It honestly shows what people go through and how making decisions is bigger than just one person. I would recommend it!
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This sweet, coming-of-age story hit all the right notes. The art style complemented the story's easy, slow-build pace with smooth lines and details tasty enough to eat. Bloom was an instant buy for my library's YA collection.
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Oh, my gosh. This book was adorable with just the right amount of angst to keep me invested right through the end.

Ari has been told his whole life that some day he will take over his family bakery. This is not the life he wants. 

Enter Hector, the cute boy who bake like there’s no tomorrow.

This book is such a slow burn and I am so here for it. I wanted them together the first glance on the page and yet there’s so much going on here. Hector loves to bake, Ari wants to get away from it. These boys are so soft and I am here for it.

I adored the art in this book. The line work is so clean and the monochrome blue just presents beautifully. Expressions come across clearly and the art enhances and tells much of the story. 

Also I spent this whole book hungry and immediately wanted to make the recipe in the back of the book. Dang not having starter!
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A stunning story of finding your first love which should become a part of any YA book collection - Library or otherwise. And the colour scheme is everything!!
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4.5 Stars A sweet and beautiful graphic novel about first love and finding yourself along the way (especially in the post high school period)..  The blue and turquoise color scheme is absolutely stunning and matches the seaside setting.  Would definitely recommend for YA collections.
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4.5/5
This story was very sweet and highlighted the struggle of growing away from your parents and new relationships. I wish there had been a few more pages at the end of the two guys' relationship.
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I'm so glad that I was able to get this ARC from NetGalley.  I love the layers within this story, as supporter of the LGBTQ community, I am constantly looking for new stories to add to our collection and this a GEM!  Aside from the beautiful artwork the story is heartfelt and easy to relate too.  Honestly, that's what creates empathy, the ability to relate and is clearly something we NEED in this world.  I loved the story and I look forward to more work from Panetta.  So glad that our physical copy will be here soon, the masses need this!
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Super cute & sweet book! Will definitely be returning to this whenever I need a pick-me-up. The messages in this book are also extremely important for teens and done in a beautiful way. Plus, the art is amazing!
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This graphic novel by Kevin Panetta is totally sweet and a visual delight just like the red velvet cupcakes they sell in the bakery that functions as the story's main setting. For me, it read a lot like a recipe might; it's got the basic structure of a love story with a summer romance flavor to it. A little coming-of-age and family-dynamic drama added for balance and zest. It could be a middle-of-the-road pleaser, not unlike those cakes from a box we all make on occasion. I believe it's the beautiful illustrations and splash-panel designs that elevate Bloom to the next level though. Panetta's artwork is such a deft blend of terrific character rendering and spot-on setting/background drawing that consuming this tale is more like ordering that perfect confection from your favorite bakery, so satisfying and delicious.
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Beautiful book about finding your footing and seeing what's around you instead of what you think you want. A truly delicious read the metaphor is sweet and the characters are a pleasure to get to know.
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Bloom is a heartwarming story of Ari, a boy fresh out of high school and eager to move away from his family's bakery to be with his band. While struggling to make decisions about his future, Ari meets Hector who may be a replacement at his family's bakery. As the two begin working together Ari begins to rediscover his love for his family' bakery as well as a possible love for someone else... This would be a great addition to middle and high school libraries.
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Adore, love, sweet, tender, beautiful, endearment are a few of the words to describe my love for this book.
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Very good book with a well paced story and wonderful art. The book is also interspersed with recipes which is a nice touch for a book that has baking as a theme.
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If you follow me on social media, it’s likely that you’ve seen me gushing about Bloom, Kevin Panetta’s and Savanna Ganucheau’s debut graphic novel from First Second Books. In addition to interviewing Panetta and Ganucheau for The Beat, I wanted to write a proper review as well. My reasons are twofold: 1) I received an advanced ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and 2) I love this book so much and I want to talk about it with everyone, all the time.

Bloom follows Ari and Hector, two teenage boys with vastly different dreams, as they fall in love during the course of a very surprising summer. From the moment they first lay eyes on each other on what would otherwise be a totally innocuous morning, there’s a connection between them that can’t be broken — even with mean-spirited “friends” and actual disasters getting in the way of their relationship.

Here’s the official plot description, per GoodReads:

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom… that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Bloom is the kind of feel-good romance that sticks with you, days and even weeks after you read it. Rather than telling a coming-out story, Panetta and Ganucheau have crafted a narrative wherein the characters aren’t going through sexuality crises; just growing pains. Their friendship develops slowly, from time spent in the bakery together and time spent outside of it, too. Romantic feelings grow organically from there.

Because the book covers a timeframe of several months, there are moments when the character growth feels rushed — though that ultimately doesn’t detract from the overall pacing of the story. Frankly, it just makes me want to spend more time in this universe, with a sequel (or two, or three).

This romance works largely because Ari and Hector have such full worlds outside of each other. In addition to seeing them both interact with Ari’s parents, we also see them interact with their friends. Ari’s band plays an integral role in the plot and Hector’s friends, though they live in another town, have equally full lives. The characters talk about their lives with each other and interact outside of the main romance plot; this makes it all the more believable. Bloom reads like a slice-of-life vignette, which is beautiful in its set-up and execution.

Of course, it isn’t just the writing that lends Bloom this delightfully genuine air. Ganucheau’s art is beautiful, especially in the detail work. I’m particularly fond of the way she illustrates facial expressions; Ari and Hector, in particular, communicate so much through looks and touches. Seeing that represented through Ganucheau’s art is wonderful.

The color palette also emphasizes what the characters are feeling as the story unfolds. Since the panels are colored in black, white, gray and shades of blue, everything is laid bare for the reader. There’s no way to hide anything. That’s not to say that full color comics aren’t beautiful or evocative — they are. The lack of color here just doesn’t feel like anything is lacking, which is frankly a massive accomplishment.

I came away from Bloom with a deep appreciation for the story, its characters and its creators. As I mentioned in my interview with Panetta and Ganucheau, this graphic novel reminds me of books like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and The Music of What Happens. Too often, LGBTQ romances focus on hardship in a way that feels defeatist. Finding positive queer representation can feel impossible some days.

Luckily, that seems to be changing now. Books like Bloom tell queer stories that aren’t focused on the trials and tribulations of being queer, which are still important, but shouldn’t be all that exists. Queer joy is real and it deserves a spotlight. I’m so glad that Bloom shines a light on that.

Plus, I’m a sucker for stories where characters bond over food. I’m genuinely excited to try the sourdough recipe that’s included in the back of this book — and the playlist that’s included is wonderful, too.

Overall rating: ★★★★★
Recommended for: Everyone, but especially romance fans who enjoy a happy ending and a sweet, satisfying narrative. If you’ve ever read a graphic novel or comic book before, this might be the one that turns you onto the genre as a whole.
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Greek pastries and budding queer romance? Sign me up please.  A wonderful coming-of-age story about a Greek-American boy Ari, who doesn’t know what he wants himself, but gets stuck between the different aspirations that his family and his friends have for him, until he meets Hector, a boy of Samoan origin who starts working for Ari’s family bakery. A simple and cute queer love story, which, however, taps into all the right inspirations to make it unique. Before I’d read it I didn’t realize that what I was lacking in life was a Greek-Samoan couple making revani and keke fa’i. More stories like this, please!
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This was super cute! The art was lovely (especially the pages that were baking montages). I'd definitely recommend this book.
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I received an electronic ARC of this title through NetGalley. 

This is a story about a boy named Ari who's stuck for the summer working in his parents' bakery. He doesn't know exactly what he wants from life- until he meets Hector, who loves baking. I love love love the art style and the entire concept of this book. Ari and Hector are just too cute! My only real issue with the story is that Ari and his friends act like jerks to Hector over and over again... and it doesn't feel like enough emphasis is put on these characters actually owning up to what they've done wrong. The climax of the story also feels a little over-the-top, but it's a fun read nonetheless. I would recommend it for older teens.
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A sweet love story between two boys who happen to have a common interest of baking in common (well, one is very interested and one is born into the business). The characters are well rounded and the story flows effortlessly.
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