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Bloom Paperback – April 24, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—In a style reminiscent of the work of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, Scott tells the story of Lauren, a not-so-popular high school junior who is dating the secretly celibate most popular boy in school. Without warning, Evan, the loner son of her distant father's former live-in girlfriend, returns to town and stirs up confusing emotions for Lauren, who once believed that a popular boyfriend was all she needed to secure happiness. Soon, she invents extra band-practice time as an excuse to avoid her boyfriend, her super-stressed best friend, and her empty house, and spends more time with the decidedly not celibate Evan. While the setup is fairly standard fare for YA romances, Lauren's inner conflict over her affair with Evan, and the various lies surrounding it, rings true, and the novel has enough drama to keep readers interested.—Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Finely drawn, honest, sweet and charming, Bloom is like getting a beautifully wrapped gift -- it's lovely to start with and just gets better as you tear into it."
-- Michele Jaffe, author of Bad Kitty
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In Bloom Ms. Scott has created a well balanced story, with effective and accurate prose, and a beautifully fleshed out group of characters. Lauren has the perfect life, or so she seems to think, until a relic from her past (Evan) reemerges and challenges the concept of perfect. What takes place is a lot of self-evaluation, self-examination and a bunch of second guessing, all of which leads to some pretty poor choices but ultimately good decision making. Sure, the story ends up where you think it's going to, a pretty neatly tied up ending and lots of happiness, but that's okay and in this instance, appropriate.
I cheered for Lauren as she made good, solid, choices and jeered her from the safety of my Kindle as she made silly ones, but always felt connected to her motivations, good, bad or otherwise. That's the mark of a good writer in my estimation, I need to not only be able to "feel" the character but to understand why even though their choice may be a bad one, it was right for them in that moment.
I have but one niggling little issue with Evan, or rather the writing of Evan. The reader is introduced to the concept that there is a level of anxiety which Evan experiences, his nail biting is mentioned on several occasions, leading one to believe that there may be more going on beneath the surface. But we never really get there. Sure, Evan's a good, solid character and I liked him very much, but there still seemed to be a little piece of him missing. Maybe it's just me, but stuff like that irks me. Nonetheless, it wasn't enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book.
The development of the peripheral characters, Dave, Katie, Gail, Lauren's father and even Marcus, all added to the beautifully woven tapestry of this novel. I was hoping to learn more about Katie's home life, as that seemed to be a source of great stress, but in the end this didn't detract either.
Altogether it was a great book, balanced and well constructed, thoughtful and honest. I would absolutely recommend reading it.
The Characters: I was surprised by how hard it was for me to connect with these characters. I learned a lot about most of the characters, but it all felt... clinical. Forced. I couldn't relate on an emotional level. Usually I have a great time reading about Scott's simply complex characters, but things were different in this book.
Lauren, the main character, has the most perfect boyfriend. Everyone wants him. Even she did...once. But not anymore. Things with Dave are predictable, nice, but boring. And because of Dave's beliefs, things never go beyond kissing. And even though Lauren realizes these things, realizes that what she has with Dave isn't anything special, she stays with him. Because it's what other people expect. Because it makes other people happy.
Dave. Oh, Dave. Even though he was a partially main character, I feel like I hardly know him. He seems very boring and church-y. Maybe he was made to be seen like this--but I don't like it. Nobody is that simple. Nobody is perfect. So I felt like there were some loose ends left with Dave.
The Plot: Lauren is with Dave. Everyone thinks they are the perfect couple, and it seems it will always stay that way. Even Lauren thinks so. Until her former companion, Evan Kirkland comes along. Evan sparks feelings inside Lauren that she never knew existed. And as she starts spending more time with Evan, she's not sure which is worse: feeling more alive than she's ever felt, and turning into the type of person she believes here mother to be like.
As we follow Lauren through this story of self-understanding, the story moves at a generally fast past. But I can't help but be annoyed by the many scenes of repetitiveness. I feel like their could be so much more to this story, such a powerful plot. But I didn't get that out of this.
Overall: I liked this book, I really did. But I hadn't known it was written by Elizabeth Scott, I would never have guessed. All her other books had really plucked at my heartstrings, while this one only stirred a butterfly or two.
Spare Thoughts: Elizabeth Scott's new book, Between Now and Forever, comes out in May of 2011. I'll still be getting the book, even though I was slightly disappointed by this one.
Final: Bloom was an intriguing yet predictable read.
I put Elizabeth Scott's Bloom high up on my list of favorite contemporary young adult novels--the emotions are authentic feeling and the narrator is compelling.
What I Loved:
Lauren is a great narrator. Scott has written her in a way that you really feel what Lauren is feeling, when she's feeling it. Her insecurities are believable, and she's got a wry sense of humor that's enjoyable. Scott builds the tension between Lauren and Evan in that roller coaster way that just seems "right" for teen-oriented fiction and handles Lauren's internal conflict, which is all wrapped up in her family history, also in a way that makes Lauren sympathetic and relatable. I loved that Lauren's new friend from band, Gail, is gay and the way this tiny side story is handled. Sometimes YA feels even less reflective of our culture than adult books do, so this tiny thing was a great addition. Ultimately, like Sarah Dessen's books, this one is about finding happiness, finding yourself and connecting with others, and I love that (as opposed to YA contemporaries that are strictly romance-y).
What I Disliked:
I wished for a bit more of a backstory about Evan and his mother's time living with Lauren and her father. Not chapters and chapters, but just a bit more about why these two were so close as children (clearly they were--it's alluded to several times in the book). But that's a little thing.
I would definitely put this one on my list of books to snag from a teen's bookshelf--adults (I'm 30ish) will probably relate to Lauren as much as teens.
Note: There are a few odd errors, etc, in the Kindle edition (missing punctuation, 1 instead of I, etc).
Most recent customer reviews
Lauren's voice is truly honest and candid; no character is like her.Read more