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.
Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau’s Bloom is a story as beautifully crafted as the breads that are sold in Ari’s family bakery. Ari’s journey to figuring out what he wants out of life is one that is incredibly familiar to most of us. It’s very rare for anyone to have it all figured out as an 18 year old but we still see that so often in YA.
Ari is a mess and desperately needs to figure himself out but he feels that he can’t do that if he is trapped, working for his dad at the bakery. Enter Hector: a young man on his own journey through grief with a deep love for baking. Ari immediately hires Hector on to be his replacement and things seems to start falling into place. The unlikely pair bond fairly quickly and become very important in each other’s lives.
A major theme that Panetta explores in the book is toxic friendships. This is something that I always want to see more of in YA because it is a very real and dangerous thing that so many of us go through but have no real weapons to fight against it with. Ari is clearly aware of how awful some of his friends are but still makes excuses and justifies their behavior because they are his only friends. His journey to standing up for himself to those friends is painful but poignant and one that I appreciate deeply.
This book lives and breathes in its own subtlety. There are scenes that are told less with dialogue and more with a look from across the room. Ganucheau’s ability to tell so much of the story with her illustrations is something that really helps this book soar to new heights. She and Panetta are a dream team and I really hope to see them work together again in the future.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a very beautiful love story but it made me so hungry. So so hungry. So, if Panetta and Ganuchea are out there listening by any chance, THANKS A LOT!