Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

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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WOW. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this fantastic book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
This gorgeous light blue hued graphic novel follows Ari, just out of high school, as he works in his parents’ bakery and navigates his friendships, future, and just generally being a teenager. 
I LOVED that this was not a coming out story, it was simply a rocky slow-building romance between two teens working on figuring out their lives. The side characters were vibrant and memorable, and all seemed to convey the sense of being “real people” who will exist off the page into the future. 
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of Sanez’s Aristotle and Dante or Tamaki’s This One Summer. A perfect teen summer romance beautifully illustrated. One of my favorite books of 2019 so far!
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This book is so cute and so melancholy at the same time, which is #moodAF. And, of course, I'm a sucker for family stuff, which it also has plenty of. I like how it doesn't completely end like you want it to, but is still happy.
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This was a very quiet and sweet GAY romance. It features lots of adorable baking scenes, that I really enjoyed because I love watching other people bake. Ari was a bit of a jerk a lot of the time, but I think he had a lot of growth and he was called out on it. I would love to see more from this author, and even more with this couple. Highly recommend!
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Sadly, this book did not work on my device. No matter what I did, it froze and then crashed my Nook. I tried on my phone, my laptop, and Nook and it would spin and think and crash all devices. I was able to get 68 pages into this graphic novel and LOVED what I was able to read. I will be purchasing this graphic novel and am sad that nothing I did was able to allow me to finish it. I'm sure that it would have been a 5 star read had I been able to actually read it.
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Bloom is a lovely coming-of-age story that follows Ari, a boy who wants to move out of his home town with his bandmates and is instead stuck working at his parents' bakery. He hatches a plot to find a replacement baker thinking that will pave the way for his move, and instead learns a lot about life and growing up. 

I thought Bloom was an encouraging read, if a little cliche. Even so, I really enjoyed it. Ari and Hector have lives outside of each other, which is nice to read, and they're both dealing with events in their life that they don't quite know how to tackle. Ari's bandmates aren't really friends, his actual friends don't know how to tell him this, and he's stuck at a place in his life where he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. Hector is packing up his grandmother's house after she's passed away, having taken a year off of culinary school, while also trying to teach himself not to let others use him as their emotional repairman. 

Bloom has lessons to teach and a nice story to tell. It's a lighthearted look at growing up and discovering yourself. Good for fans of Heartstopper and fans of The Backstagers that might be looking for a change of pace.
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I adored this! Such a beautiful and important story, with lovely art to match. Especially enjoyed the double spreads, the wordless panels, and the inclusion of flowers in the gutters. Stunning!
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Ari is a guy right on the verge of adulthood and is feeling stifled by his current life but has no idea what else he wants to do. Enter Hector, a baker in training who can't understand why Ari is so miserable. And yet the two hit it off as they spend their days mixing and stirring in Ari's family bakery. Of course, no book is complete without a complication or two to get in the way just when it seems like things are going well...

I truly loved the art in this novel. It was beautifully done and the characters were so expressive. I also loved the idea of the story. I thought it sounded like a beautiful little summer romance, coming of age read. And in some ways it was that, but it just felt a bit incomplete to me. The plot developed a bit slowly in the beginning and the end felt rushed. 

Overall, I liked it, but I'd really hoped to love it.
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I got this ARC from netgalley and loved it! I will be filming a video review for my youtube channel as well. I really enjoyed this one! I think the title was one of the best titles they could ever think of! It was such a sweet story of new love, starting to become yourself and seeing all the tough times in between! I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see a hard copy of it.
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Bloom is the story of Ari, a recent high school graduate who is torn between moving to the city to rock out with his band or staying home with his family to help them with their struggling bakery. When Hector comes to town and ends up working at the bakery, Ari views the bakery and his friends a little differently as he continues to struggle with what he wants to do with his life.

Let me start by saying that the artwork in the book is lovely and easy to follow, an important factor in any comic or graphic novel. Unfortunately, art is only a portion of the experience and the story, the whole reason the book exists, was weak in my opinion.

Though I read this book in its entirety, I didn't know that Ari was out of high school until I took another glance at the synopsis. There were a lot of little pieces missing. Why does Ari feel the way he feels? He says that he doesn't know what to do with his life...but a book is more about showing than telling and a graphic novel is a great opportunity to do that. I just felt like that opportunity was missed.

The language in the book felt strange at times, the jokes falling flat, the serious moments lacking any emotional oomph. 

This is a sweet book and I did love the baking scenes (basically anything with Hector, who was a great character), but everything started so quickly and ended so quickly that I never engaged enough with the characters and the dialogue often felt stilted enough to completely take me out of the story.
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This is an adorable romance. I loved the artwork. It was a short read but still fairly long for a graphic novel which allowed me to become more invested in the characters and their relationships. By the end, I was almost weeping.  This is a great choice for LGBTQ representation and diversity.
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Recently graduated from high school Ari dreams of moving to the city with his bad and leaving his work at his family's bakery behind. He knows his dad will need help, though, so he tries to at least find a replacement before he leaves forever. Enter Hector, the adorable cooking-school dropout who’s in town cleaning out his late grandma’s house and is absolutely perfect for the job. Over baking, deliveries, and languorous summer fun, Ari and Hector get closer during the quiet, everyday moments that draw them together. The romance is a slow burn and perfectly paced. When disaster strikes and the future of the bakery is called into question, Ari has to face some hard truths about himself. 

  The montages of Ari and Hector are beautiful as Ganucheau’s artwork captures the unspoken intimacy between Hector and Ari as well as the variety of baking techniques of making bread and cakes. You definitely don't want to read this graphic novel when you are hungry. Unfortunately, the character development is lacking in this graphic novel. I wanted to learn more about Ari outside of his interactions with his band and Hector. When he has his epiphany towards the end of the graphic novel, it doesn't particular stick nor is it profound. I also wanted to learn more about Hector. We learn that he is Samoan and that his past relationship did not turn out well, but that's pretty much it. I also wanted to learn more about Ari's band of friends and how his friends shaped Ari's personality and desires. Overall Bloom is a quiet, sweet romance that has a lot of heart and warmth, but it left me wanting more.
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Thanks netgalley for the free arc for review! 

4.5 - the pacing is great and art communicates a lot of really difficult and find movements incredibly well. Found myself rooting against Ari in the first place and was fascinated with liking/disliking him as the protagonist. Portrayed a healthy response to a relationship that could have gotten very dangerous and had a positive (tho quick) resolution. It's nice to see some LGBT rep that isn't JUST a perfect relationship - tho it does feel like apology scenes happen Very Quickly.

Good read for OMG, Check Please & Prince and the Dressmaker fans. Art wise - a similar take to Brosgol's Be Prepared, given a limited palette of colors, and is pulled off well.
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