The graphic novels in my pantheon are at a staggering all time low. While I am a manga person, I never seem to have that spark of a connection with the illustrated novels out in the market. All of that changed in 2018 though. I was lucky enough to be able to read not one, but two graphic novels with LGBT themes. This novel was one of them. I was drawn to the calm exterior and the blue-green undertones, but I truly did not know what to expect with this book. It is becoming an ‘inside joke’ here that I really like judging books based on their covers, and in all honesty, this book became a subject of that partial indecisiveness.
Lucky for me, I was proven wrong and I found the perfect book to read on a hot November day.
Author: Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBT, Sequential Art
Date Published: 12th of February 2019
Publisher: First Second
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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’m a case of emotions ~ and again, it is unlikely for someone like me to finish a book within a day. I could have finished this book within a day, but I reckoned that it is also a book that I need to slowly dance through.
As a part of the tour, I received a physical ARC of this book. Huge thanks to Macmillan International for providing copies for the tour. This does not affect my review and all of the opinions and thoughts reflected here are my own.
Bloom made me realize that I am missing out on young adult graphic novels out on the market. In the literal sense, it is a refreshing read – a palette cleanser from the usual heavy books in the contemporary genre. Simply put, it is extremely easy to fall in love summery read.
Let me tell you of the tale of how I fell in love with a book. This story is simply one of the best as it satisfies my love for slow-burn romances, angst, family dynamics, and character development. The art style and the flow of the story can easily get you hooked, but it’s the self-discovery and the character interactions that makes you want to stay.
Our main characters Ari and Hector are easy to root for. There is that glimmer in their eyes when they do what they love. Ari is harder to grasp in general because of his stubbornness, but I loved him more than Hector (who I will get to in a minute). Probably due to my bias of his character, but Ari had more room to grow. He was lost, questioning if he really wants to pursue music or continue with the norm of baking for the family business. He’s lashing out like a normal teenager who makes incredulous decisions, which makes him relatable and dynamic. I don’t know if it’s a preference, but characters like Ari are the ones I usually resonate with the most. I can see why people may not like him as much as his love interest, but Ari being one realistic bean is just the cherry on top. He’s complex, he has a lot of emotions, and he has semi-horrible taste in friends. Yet what’s not to love? Hector on the other hand, is the lucky one who knows what he wants. But underneath that soft exterior is still a guy also discovering himself. It is so darn easy to live for the passion displayed by Hector’s eagerness and happy-go-lucky nature. Together, they make a wonderful team. The contrast and comparison in their personalities is what makes this book burst with life. The sequences where they are together can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. What started out as a beautiful friendship turned out to be something more.
The art style is simply magnetic and mesmerizing, truthfully living up to the summer love contained in this book. I love the utilization of color to convey emotions. It is still evident when there’s a prominent reaction or feeling, which makes the art so much more powerful in connecting with its readers. I am honestly head-over-heels with the background, the little details, and its dialogue.
Bloom is not your ordinary graphic novel. It’s so much more. It’s not just a love story. It’s about family, friendship, exes, moving, and looking forward to what the future holds. It’s amazing how something so heartfelt can be considered cute and adorable. Props to both authors for creating an inspiring story.
Overall, Bloom is a fantastic story. It has heart and soul, key elements to note when reading a contemporary novel that will latch itself onto you. Delighfully charming on its own right, and with equally amazing style and art – the one book that you have to put on your radar in 2019. If you’re intrigued to read about two boys baking, exploring relationship dynamics with family and friends, and an amazing story set in the summer, this one’s for you.
Pro tip though: you may get a slight (or massive) craving for that delectable sour dough bread. Trust me, I was lucky enough to live near a bakery.
Want a playlist to remind you about those hues? I made a playlist specifically for Bloom. Album art design included, as I made it prior to curating the playlist. Happy listening!
Connect with Kevin!
Kevin Panetta is a Washington, DC based comic book and graphic novel writer. He has written licensed children’s comics from Boom! Studios. His first creator-owned series, Zodiac Starforce, debuted from Dark Horse Comics in August 2015.
Connect with Savanna!
Savanna Ganucheau is a comic artist from New Orleans, Louisiana with a BFA in Film from The University of New Orleans. She made her start in comics by self-publishing and selling her work in small comic book shops around New Orleans. Alongside creating the popular webcomic George and Johnny, Savanna’s artwork has appeared in notable publications including Jem and the Holograms, Adventure Time Comics, and Lumberjanes. Her first graphic novel Bloom is published by First Second.
A big thank you to JM at Book Freak Revelations for hosting this wonderful tour and Macmillan International for providing us with galleys.
Follow the rest of the tour here (list will be updated once the tour stops are posted):
Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Anna at Reading Peaches
Bianca at The Ultimate Fangirl (hey, you’re here)
JM at Book Freak Revelations
Kate at Your Tita Kate
Jessica at Endless Chapters
Kate at Reading Through Infinity
Jessica at Endless Chapters