Bloom by Kevin Panetta

I saw this discussed somewhere in one of the blogs I read. I thought it sounded so good, I immediately requested it from our local library.

Illustrator: Savanna Ganucheau

Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction graphic novel

Length: 353 pages

Setting: a small beach town in Maryland, present day

Summary: Short version: Ari isn’t happy working at his family’s bakery until he meets Hector

Long version: After graduation, Ari’s parents expect him to work in their struggling family bakery, but he has other plans. He wants to move to Baltimore with his high school friends and make it big with their band. His friends try to include him in their summer fun, but he has to work. He devises a plan to hire someone to take his place, which is how he meets Hector. Hector is clearing out his Nana’s house after a year at culinary school. He loves baking and thinks the bakery is awesome. By the end of the summer, the band has become a duo of the lead singer (not Ari) and his girlfriend. One day, Hector and Ari kiss and accidentally set the bakery on fire. Ari says it’s Hector’s fault and then lives on his friend’s couch for a while. Eventually he goes home, apologizes to Hector, and starts working with his parents at the new bakery.

Final thoughts: A great coming-of-age, budding romance story that happens to feature two guys. It is a slice of small-town life with a protagonist that thinks he wants something more and doesn’t realize the advantages he has in his current life. It’s difficult to explain because not much happens, but you can totally relate to all of it. It’s just a summer working a job after graduating from high school, trying to figure out what to do next. You can see the relationship building between Ari and Hector, but it’s never explicitly discussed. They just kiss at one point – and then set the bakery on fire with the faulty stove. Oops!

Ari is totally a teenager who doesn’t really know what he wants out of life. He knows what he doesn’t want – more of the same. Unfortunately, his big plans to get to the big city with his friends doesn’t really pan out. Hector brings out the happy in Ari. He’s not as moody and he has fun around Hector. And then Ari screws it up by throwing Hector under the bus after the fire. Luckily, Hector is willing to forgive Ari. Everyone gets a chance to grow and develop over the course of the book. My favorite scene in the book is when Hector is able to give the family a bit of their sourdough starter after the fire when they thought it had been destroyed. It’s definitely something a baker would really appreciate.

The art is realistic and stylized since it only uses shades of blue. The cover is a pretty good indication of the entire book. I found it easy to tell the characters apart and the art complemented the story.

I must admit, I like a lot of the titles First Second publishes. I was happy to see in the endpapers, a flow chart of other books of theirs to read (since I can’t search my library’s catalogue by publisher). We’ve read over half the books listed (like Pashmina or The Prince and the Dressmaker), but I’m going to add the ones we didn’t to the family TBR list. They include Last Pick, an apocalyptic adventure story, Brazen, a nonfiction book about amazing women throughout history, Spinning, a nonfiction story about a young, lesbian figure skater, Check Please, about hockey and baking, and Kiss Number 8, a coming of age lesbian story.

Title comes from: Not really sure since this a baking story, not a flower story. Maybe it refers to Ari blooming with his friendship with Hector

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this was a graphic novel

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

1 Comment

Filed under Book review

One response to “Bloom by Kevin Panetta

  1. Pingback: Check Please Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu | Fill Your Bookshelf

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