by Kevin Pancetta and Savanna Ganucheau
Bloom is a graphic novel, telling the story of Ari who is coming of age in a seaside town. He works in a family bakery but wants to move out to pursue a career in music so he decides to hire someone to replace him. Enter Hector, a culinary school student who adores backing and is in town to clean up and sell his Nana’s house. The two hit it off, but not with some rocky patches and grow closer together while Ari figures out what he really wants to do with himself.
This was in a word ‘adorable’. The art is simple, and the colors one tone but that adds to the story in that you focus in on the characters, especially Ari. While I wanted more out of Hector as far as dimensions (and information about his grandmother and her cooking), Ari is frustrating but endearing in turns. He is the perfect post-high school teen and his inner drama over what he wants really makes him lash out at times. Half-way through all I could think was that he was such a perfect representation of a little selfish brat.
He does manage to shape up a bit though. There is some growth and some realizations to be made, and in the end I was happy to see where and what he did. I did feel something missing in the depth of Hector and really their relationship – but as I think the focus was meant to be on Ari, it was to be expected. Secondary characters like Ari’s family and Ari’s friends were also just fleshed out enough to be interesting and fun. They managed to add their own personality to the story, and show sides to Ari that helped make him a more lovable main character.
I also have to briefly mentioning the baking as there is a lot of it here. I was actively eating a snack while reading this, and it still made me hungry. To many baking shows made it easy for me to see and hear what the artwork was conveying perfectly, and I just wish now that we had a local bakery where I could get sourdough bread.
Overall, I would recommend it as it felt perfect for a summer read. It’s mainly a coming of age story but the queer elements and the diverse gave it extra interest. It’s also a fast read, even with the lovely two page spreads that make you stop and admire the artwork. Adorable.