Book review: Bloom, by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Panetta, Kevin. Bloom. Illus. by Savanna Ganucheau. First Second. 2019. $17.99. 353p. ISBN 9781626726413. Ages 13-16. P9Q9

Frustrated with his father’s expectation that he go into the bakery business with him, Ari has plans to move to the city with other members of his band as soon as he graduates high school. His father’s demand that he find a replacement for the struggling business who will do Ari’s work temporarily blocks his plans, but Hector, a culinary student taking a break, walks into his life, both as a worker in the bakery and as a possible boyfriend. At the same time, Ari’s friends begin to change their relationships, and he learns that he may not like them as much as he thought.

Verdict: Author and illustrator believably present the small East Coast town, but sometimes the characters aren’t always well identified. The montages that begin each chapter move the action, but sometimes the action slows down. Even so, the caution that both boys feel in their growing responses to each other is well done and credible. The blue color helps black and white illustrations in the graphic novel. Fitting with its setting, this YA romance is an enjoyable summer read.

April 2019 review by Nel Ward.