As you can see from the title of this post, I’m part of the blog tour for Bloom! The tour is hosted by JM Cabral @ Book Freak Revelations, in collaboration with Macmillan International. And so the post starting all the fun can be found here! But you might also want to check out what the guys before me posted: Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books, Kate @ Your Tita Kate & Jessica @ Jessica Books Blog. And don’t forget to visit Bianca @ The Ultimate Fangirl tomorrow! You can find the full tour schedule at the end of this post.
And now we can get into the most important part of today: the review! Though I also prepared some other treats for you to get you in the mood:
1) a playlist that you can listen to on Spotify
2) a little moodboard on twitter
Bloom by Kevin Panetta (writer) & Savanna Ganucheau (artist)
Published: First Second (February 12th 2019)
Genre: young adult; contemporary, romance
LGBT rep: main mlm relationship
Rating: 4/5 🍑
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.
Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Ari is Greek and his parents own a bakery, where he helps out. But his real dream is to finish school and move to Baltimore with his friends to play music. That all changes once he meets Hector, a boy who came to this little town to take care of his late grandma’s house. It’s not the typical love story you might expect at this point, though, where the power of love magically makes Ari appreciate all that he has.
That’s not to say the change doesn’t happen! It does, but in a very natural, slow-paced way, with a lot of bumps and detours. And believe me, there are a lot of those. Bloom doesn’t shy away from unfortunate accidents and people making mistakes. So it’s exactly how real life actually happens. I think that’s what drawn me in here. Bloom is a very delicate coming-of-age story, it’s not obtrusive at all, the opposite – it makes you feel like your every emotion is valid. I love books like this.
The romantic relationship
Hector, the Samoan love interest, is a beautiful influence on Ari, healing in some ways I would say. Calming. Thanks to their blooming relationship Ari starts on a journey of self-discovery, finally does things for himself and not just because he thinks they’re expected from him. And at the beginning he was your typical teenager: working at the parents’ bakery was a chore by a virtue of it being a parents’ bakery & his dream was to be part of a band with his friends even though some of them (cough, Cameron, cough) were mean to him and he never even practiced much.
What I appreciate the most about this, is that, like I already said, this change in Ari doesn’t happen in one dramatic moment & it’s never shown like he changes for Hector. More like, thanks to him he’s finally able to be honest with himself, able to admit he’s not sure what his goals in life are and that that’s okay!
A great thing about Bloom is how diverse it is! Not only do we have a biracial mlm couple at the heart of it, but the supporting characters aren’t the typical bunch of white hets either. We have a Black ex-boyfriend and three other POC characters in Ari’s group of friends (Black and East-Asian). And finally, Ari’s Greek heritage is always, always present in the story. I probably should have said that is at its heart… From the delicious food they bake to how Ari and his sister are being raised – you will never forget you’re already one foot in Greece. And food being a huge part of one’s background? That’s also present with Hector: there’s a beautiful scene at the beginning where he’s all excited because he found his grandma’s cookbook.
Given how this is a graphic novel, I could never be done without talking about the gorgeous artwork by Savanna! First of all, I absolutely love that the whole thing is only in various shades of blue. It gives it a certain vibe, this sense of calm, like walking by the ocean at sunrise. The characters designs are lovely, very expressive and very modern (by which I mean it doesn’t feel as if an old person was trying to draw teens when they don’t remember what being a teen looked like anymore). But my absolutely favourite thing were those double-page collages of Ari & Hector, always adorned by blooming flowers. It portrayed their (also blooming) relationship as something delicate, that has to be taken care of to grow properly.
All in all, Bloom is a tender story of growing up and falling in love.
Pre-order Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau on BookDepository!
The Blog Tour Dates:
January 24 – Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
January 25 – Kate H. @ Your Tita Kate
January 26 – Jessica @ Jessica Books Blog
January 27 – that’s today & it’s me!
January 28 – Bianca @ The Ultimate Fangirl
January 29 – JM @ Book Freak Revelations
January 30 – Kate L. @ Reading Through Infinity
January 31 – Miel @ Bookish and Awesome
February 1 – AJ @ Avid Reader Diary
February 2 – Sarmistha @ The Book Collector
Do you read graphic novels a lot? Or are you new to this type of stories?
What is your favourite aspect of this medium?
What other graphic novels have you read and love? Let me know!