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Bloom

Bloom
By Elizabeth Scott
ISBN 9781416926832
C2007 Simon Pulse, 231 pp

The first thing I thought of when I finished this book was why the title? (I’ve been hanging out in the back of too many Language Arts Classrooms this year.) But in fact, flowers do not play a prominent role in this story. Lauren (the protagonist) doesn’t even get flowers from her boyfriend or the guy she really likes. No this title refers to Lauren’s coming of age and her maturation. On the cover, author Deb Caletti is quoted: “A fresh, honest, and heartfelt story of first love.” And I could make an argument for her quote, though I tend to disagree that Evan was Lauren’s first love, (maybe true love), but this story is so much more than a love story.

At seventeen, Lauren is grappling with a lot. Her mother abandoned her at the age of six without a backwards glance. Her dad is so emotionally dettached that he only sometimes realizes what’s going on in his daughter’s life… and doesn’t remember meeting her boyfriend Dave (does he wonder if Dave is good to her? Does he wonder if she and Dave are being safe or was the trip to the gynecologist 2 years before enough to scratch it off his to do list.) Lauren is also lost in school. The only thing there that she’s good at – music – is something she feels like she needs to hide from her friends. Then Evan Kirkland comes to town. Lauren’s dad and Evan’s mom were once a couple. They even moved in together for what amounted to less than a year. Then Evan and his mom Mary moved away. She doesn’t hear from them again and there are successions of girlfriends, who are moved into the house since that time. So it’s a shock for her to see Evan. It’s an even bigger shock when she realizes she likes Evan. She’s attracted to Evan.

Lauren has the perfect boyfriend. Dave is smart, popular, well liked by adults and respected. The 9th grade girls all want to be Lauren. Dave isn’t even interested in sex, but has decided to wait until he’s married, which (okay, I admit, I loved that part of the book. It’s so infrequent that this side of the topic is explored and between books, movies, and TV, we just assume all teens are doing it and want to do it) to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure that this was a plus for Lauren or not. She’s just not happy being with him. Evan reminds her of this.

Aside from the fresh and light narrative (in my chemo-hazed hand-burned state, concentrating on books isn’t that easy), I didn’t find Lauren likeable. She’s dating one guy, stringing him along, and sneaking around with a second guy. And I think that’s what I liked about this book. That Lauren isn’t perfect. That’s she’s round and whole and real. And eventually, she does the right thing, even if she stumbles along the way. And yes there’s hurt caused on the way that she can’t undo, but in reality that’s life. Don’t we all have something that we said or did that we wished we could take back after its too late?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
chazper
May. 9th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
I don't know this book at all, but it sounds interesting. I have a few girls who are always asking me for romance, and I've found that my classroom library is curiously lacking in novels that qualify, unless, like Twilight, there's some supernatural conflict. Would you recommend this Bloom for 7-8th graders even though the heroine is seventeen?
booksblogger
May. 9th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
yes!!!
The typing was getting to be a bit much for me, so I left this part out of my thought process, but one of the things that I really liked about this book is that if my 6th graders picked this up, I might try to steer them to something more age appropriate (the themes are mature), but the book can be accessed on many levels and the censors couldn't get too riled up. I haven't seen it reviewed in the professional journals yet, but I think it'll be recommended for grades 7 & Up. I would suggest 8 & up if I were a reviewing this professionally. The girls will love the romance.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )