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  • Bloom
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2007
Lauren's life seems almost perfect at first. She's got a perfect boyfriend, Dave. She's not struggling with school. She's got an awesome best friend, Katie. She doesn't really fight with her father. Her life is good. Safe, but good.

She's not happy, though. Lauren doesn't know why, but her life doesn't seem like all it's cracked up to be. Neither does her relationship with Dave, who may be just a little bit too perfect. She finds a chance to make herself happy when Evan Kirkland comes to town, but is she ready to let go and take the plunge? Is Lauren ready to leave her safe, boring life behind for the passion and happiness that she sees with Evan? She's not sure. She has, after all, struggled not to be like her mother, who let herself run away to pursue what she wanted even though it meant leaving her husband and young daughter behind. But does being who she, Lauren, wants to be have to mean sacrificing her happiness just to make the choice everyone else seems to think is right?

BLOOM is a beautiful, powerful love story, a wonderful coming-of-age story, and most of all just an amazing novel told in Lauren's fresh, funny, and distinctive voice. Lauren is a strong, likeable character, and she is not the only three-dimensional character in the story--they are all fantastic. Fantastic is also a good word to describe BLOOM itself. Elizabeth Scott is a wonderful writer, and this brilliant novel makes me very excited to see what this author will write next!

Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2010
When Lauren is with Dave, she's envied by all, and Lauren thinks nothing can get better than being with her boyfriend. With him, his perfection rubs on her, making her perfect as well. But Lauren isn't happy. And when an old friend, Evan, comes along, Lauren suddenly realizes that she should change things about her life before she can't.

I am not impressed with Bloom at all. I guess I had high--extremely high--expectations and was less than pleased when I finally finished reading. Although, to be honest, I couldn't force myself to finish it, and I had about 60 pages left. I don't think I liked anything about it. Nada. But I'll give props for this being published. Really, I wonder how books get their deal--some novels I've read in the past could have passed as sloppy writing from a 6th grader.

Characters. Lauren is whiny times a hundred. Overboard. She's always complaining about this or that--yes, teenagers do that, but I have an incredibly hard time sympathizing with her about anything. It's like her story is so, so forced. I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like her problems are just fake, and everything that she's going through is fake. I know it isn't, but that's just how I feel when I read the book. Especially when Lauren's detailing Dave's perfection. There, I notice the repetition again.

Since I read Perfect You first, I noticed that Scott likes to repeat things over and over again, and it's no different here. Line 1: Dave is perfect in every way. Three pages later, Line 2: Dave is smiling that perfect smile of his. Two more pages later, Line 3: Dave even has straight, perfect teeth! The stress on Dave's perfection drives me crazy. How can anyone be that perfect? (See, just describing the book has made my sentences repetitive and I normally hate that above anything else in writing.) And if she's so upset about how unhappy she's feeling, why not just save us all the time and dump him and get a life already? That's just what I want to scream out to her. If Lauren was real, that is.

Story. It's like one long soap opera. Nothing ever really happens short for Lauren talking about how she should be happy but isn't because Dave's too good for her. It's only at the last two chapters that Dave finally finds out that they're not the perfect couple anymore. Normally, you expect the conflict to be resolved like that, but when it comes to books with stories like this, I can't help but wait for it all to end sooner. The emotions, lines, pages just drags on until finally, the author realizes a little too lately that she has to end it somewhere, and that's the feeling I get it. It's all so sudden--not just Dave figuring out that Lauren wasn't the best girlfriend, but also the father expressing his feelings at the final chapter. He's been silent and absentee all this time, but wham, he's saying how sorry he his and talking about the past. I'm watching him walk a ladder, but I only see him take the first two steps, and when I blink, he's already reached the top of the stairs. Now, what happened to all those other steps in between? This is definitely not a well thought out progress of the story. Lame, lame.

But the most important thing is that it's boring. I've said before in one of my other reviews that I really hate to describe a book as boring, because I realize it takes the writer a long time to write it, get published, and everything else in the process. To me, though, there's no nice way of putting it. Even if you're not a published writer, you always have to be prepared for people liking/loving, disliking/hating your work--you can't please everyone. So that's me, definitely not pleased at all. Besides the anticipation for something dramatic or even engaging to happen to wake me up from my foggy state of mind, I was just like, "Oh, please," filled with sarcasm and everything. There wasn't anything exciting or intriguing about the characters, the storyline, or even the chemistry in the relationships. Books, movies, you have to be able to experience that sizzling on-screen romance you get from that big screen in the theaters. But here, Evan is more robotic than anything, and Lauren just gets stupider as time ticks away. Perfect match, you say? Not in my world.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2007
Girl dates boy. Boy likes girl. Girl likes other boy. Drama ensues.

So goes the basic storyline of Elizabeth Scott's debut novel, BLOOM. But watch out, readers, there's a bit more heft to the story than meets the eye.

Seventeen-year-old Lauren appears to be a typical teen queen bee. She's popular, she's pretty, and she's dating Dave, the cutest boy in school. Her best friend, Katie, is dating Marcus, Dave's best bud, and the four make an enviable team --- or so it seems.

It turns out that Lauren is on the fence about her life these days, and she doesn't know quite what to do about it. She's tired of going home to an empty house --- what with her father practically living at the office after screwing up yet another relationship (her mom left them a long time ago). She is exasperated by Katie's inane banter (usually involving shopping or nail polish or Marcus). Worst of all, she's beyond exhausted with appearing "perfect."

The more time she spends with all-American Dave and his cookie-cutter family, the more she realizes that she's not the person he thinks she is. She doesn't want to go to college close to home so she can be with him; she loathes the idea of having sex with him (he's more religious than most, hence the chastity); and she longs to connect with a boy who she can actually be real with and passionate about, rather than be seen as some adored girl on a pedestal.

So, when bad boy Evan Kirkland shows up at school after a long absence, Lauren is beyond shocked. Especially because he's the son of one his father's ex-girlfriends --- and super hot. When he and Evan eventually reconnect, the sparks are undeniable and Lauren must choose between going after her unfulfilled desires with Evan and staying safe (and bored) with Dave.

What makes BLOOM so readable is Scott's focus on picking apart Lauren's personality to get at the motivations behind her actions. Instead of a mere stock character, Lauren comes off as a justifiably mixed-up girl who is desperately trying to figure out her next move. Her affair with Evan is despicable but somehow understandable and, given her confused state, a necessary step to figuring out what's right.

Scott also makes sure that Lauren's character is not perfect, but quite fallible. She shows the parts of Lauren that haven't quite grown up yet --- mainly, her propensity for making assumptions without really knowing the full story --- and fully flushes out her maturation process (hence the title, "Bloom").

There are times when Scott fixates on the idea of being "perfect" too often and other sections where Lauren's interior monologues seem repetitive. These quibbles aside, BLOOM marks the arrival of a fresh new talent.

--- Reviewed by Alexis Burling
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2010
Bloom comes across as a typical teen love story in the back-ad and description. I had it on hold at the library for ever, which I assumed meant the book was really popular. I was rather looking forward to it, because surely a book that's hard to get a hold of should be worth it, right?

Not so much.

Lauren is an average teen girl. Except she's dating the most-popular and most-attractive guy in her school. Her relationship with him is perfect. He treats her like a perfect gentleman would. Due to his religious beliefs, he doesn't even try to pressure her to have sex.

Lauren says her best friend isn't her best friend. They don't have anything in common (except their best friend boyfriends).

And then Evan steps back into Lauren's life. They lived together once when her father was dating his mother. When that relationship went south, Evan disappeared, and now Lauren can't get him out of her head.

It's a pretty standard set-up for a teen novel.

What really, really upsets me, though, is how completely internally focused Lauren is, how self-centered and immature she comes across. Her pseudo-best friend is clearly having issues at home that any normal person, once they were clued in, would attempt to help out with. Her passion for Evan would cause a normal teen girl to drop her current boyfriend in a second. The author plays it off as Lauren being worried about what others would think, but she has also spent the entire book pointing out how Lauren doesn't really care what other people think about her. She knows she's not popular except through her boyfriend, and she doesn't let it get to her. If she doesn't really want to be popular, why would she stay with the boyfriend when she finds someone better?

There's also the storyline about Lauren and her father. Her mother (his wife) abandoned them when Lauren was six years old. This is the cause for a lot of Lauren's low self-esteem. For the majority of the story, Lauren's father is oblivious, choosing to work rather than spend time with Lauren. Except toward the end of the story, he starts coming home more. This culminates in a "heart-to-heart" with Lauren that goes nowhere. He says, "Your mother loved you," and they cry, and it's emotional--except it's not. It's a complete flop as far as heart-to-hearts go. Nothing is solved; nothing is accomplished.

I really disliked this book. It's like the author tried to bring up deeper issues and just couldn't follow through. I hated the main character, and I know that wasn't the author's intention. She wanted her to be a typical teen girl that any other girl could relate to. And while teens certainly are self-centered, immature, and oblivious, they usually don't cut off everyone they know. And if they do, the conclusion isn't that some tears and hugs make things better. You'd lose your friends.

Don't read this book... unless you want to figure out how NOT to write your teen character.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2007
This is a fantastic first novel in a very original, clear voice. The heroine, Lauren, is a lot more three-dimensional and flawed than most YA main characters are allowed to be, but this ulimately makes her more sympathetic, not less. Although this focuses on Lauren's first real love, to my mind the best part of the book is her relationship with her distant, commitment-phobic dad. Neither father nor daughter is good at showing the other affection, but the love between them still ultimately manages to shine. I will be excited to check out Elizabeth Scott's next novels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
BLOOM follows the life of a seemingly average high school junior named Lauren, who seems to have stumbled upon the perfect life. The most popular boy in school is totally smitten with her, she's doing well at school, she just got her first jazz band solo, and she and her best friend Katie have finally claimed seats at the popular table at lunch. But she's distinctly unhappy, and the novel follows her journey away from perfection and toward happiness. And who can't relate to the feeling of getting everything you thought you wanted and still being completely unsatisfied with it?

Lauren's happiness comes in the form of Evan Kirkland, who happens to also be the son of her father's ex-girlfriend. And that's where things start to unravel. Lauren becomes distinctly unlikeable in her continual pursuit of this new boy while still being inexplicably unable to break up with her perfect boyfriend, even after she realizes she has no feelings for him. What made me want to strangle Lauren most, however, was how she started lying to everyone around her and being a completely terrible friend to Katie for no apparent reason. It made me want to hug Katie, or find her a new friend.

That said, despite the fact that I couldn't stand the main character, I still really enjoyed the book, which is an impressive feat for this author. In contrast to the majority of books in this genre, every character in this book felt like they could be a real person, flaws and all. The novel tells a really good story, and particularly notable are Lauren's relationship with her father and with Katie.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2007
I really loved this book. It wasn't like the average fluffy and light teen lit books that I've read. It's romantic, deep, insightful and thoughtful. It's a real and true story of a teenage girl's road to first love and happiness.

If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen, like I am, you'll love this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
This book was horrible. It was impossible to connect with the main character when she was cheating on her boyfriend that had done nothing wrong. She was an immature cold hearted girl that didn't have the guts to end her relationship with her boyfriend. She made it seem that what she was doing was right because she was "following her heart." Somehow she had the ability to blame her boyfriend for her lack of interest in him. It's fine that she no longer felt the spark in their relationship, but for goodness sake have the decency to let the poor guy know. It is realistic? Sure, in a way, but who wants to read about annoying teenage girls when there is enough of them in high school?

Don't get me wrong Elizabeth Scott's other books are great. Definetly read Perfect You, Something,Maybe, and The Unwritten Rule.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
I've read other Elizabeth Scott books and I think this is the reason why this one bored me so much. Scott clearly has talent. I am almost always quite impressed with her writing, but "Bloom" was lost on me for several reasons.

First of all, Lauren was just plain annoying. I found myself sort of rolling my eyes at her all throughout the book. Her dilemma just doesn't seem all that complex to me. It doesn't seem like it should have been that big of a deal. If she doesn't like Dave, and doesn't really care what Dave thinks than she should just leave Dave to one of the other many girls who are obviously fawning over him. Also, Lauren's best friend Katie who Lauren often describes as being sort of stupid and fake and girly is having REAL SERIOUS problems, and it almost made me want to hear more about Katie than whatever was going on with Lauren. It would have been a MUCH more interesting book if it had been about Katie.

Second, the pacing was just really off. Almost nothing happens in this book. Lauren wakes up, she says hi to Katie, smiles at Dave, ignores her Dad, and finds some way to go to the library and see Evan. I mean, almost every single chapter is like this. She rarely does anything besides go to school or the library. That's it. So nothing happens. But so much COULD be addressed. Katie's family situation should have been addressed... but it wasn't. There's never any resolution with that. And at the end when Lauren is finally making peace with her father it all just seems so forced and abrupt. Sam with the breakup with Dave. It's just sort of stuffed at the end there as if Scott realized she had a deadline and thought "Wow, God, I gotta do something to tie this big jar of nonsense up."

The whole thing was just a big mess for me, and I was very dissapointed, because as I've said I've read other Scott books, and that's why I was so excited to finally get to read what was her debut novel. And let's just say, if I'd read her debut novel first I would probably not have read anything of her other novels, or else it would have taken me a while to get around to it.
If you want to read a couple fantastic books by Scott try reading "Love You, Hate You, Miss You" or "Perfect You." Now THOSE are books you don't want to miss.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2007
"I guess I kept hoping some kind of miracle would happen. It wasn't even like I was asking for a big one."

So begins BLOOM, the story of Lauren, who finds herself stuck in an emotional limbo. She's not depressed, but she's not happy either. She feels as if she is missing something. But what? She likes playing the clarinet and working at the library. She gets good grades. She gets along with her father - well, pretty much - who has gone through a succession of girlfriends since her mother left a decade ago, when Lauren was six. She has a great boyfriend, Dave, but she feels like she doesn't deserve him. She has a best friend, Katie, whom she tunes when she starts talking about her own drama.

Then Evan comes into her life. More accurately, he comes back into her life. When they were eight years old, their parents dated, but like all of her father's relationships, it didn't end well. Evan and Lauren haven't seen each other since. His unexpected appearance in her class initially shakes Lauren up, but gradually, they become friends again - then more.

In both her dialogue and her internal monologue, Lauren's voice is honest, even raw at times. This is a great attribute to both the story and the character, whose biggest concerns are the deception she is carrying on and the confusion she is muddling through. She feels like there's a huge difference between who she is and who her boyfriend and her classmates think she is. As soon as she realizes what she _does_ want, it is then that she stops feeling so scared, and starts becoming her own person. It is then that she can bloom.
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