I’ve loved reading graphic novels for as long as I can remember, but have a hard time finding titles that are outside of the realm of superheros. When Ryan at Biblio Virgo told me to check out Bloom by Kevin Panettea and Savanna Ganucheau (illustrator), I was thrilled.
Bloom ended up being everything I wanted and more: a graphic novel, beautiful illustrations, LGBTQ+ characters, lots of bread, and a relationship that made my heart warm and fuzzy. I’m not usually a fan of contemporary YA, or romance plot lines, but friends, this one got me!
The story follows Ari, who recently finished high school and wants to move to the big city with his band. His dad, however, has different plans. The family bakery needs extra help, and since Ari has been working there for most of his life, he’s expected to stay on full-time. To get himself out of the situation, Ari decides to hire a replacement so his dad will get help in the bakery, and Ari can move out. It’s a win-win situation, right? If only life were that easy.
Instead, we meet Hector—a budding young baker—and watch as he becomes part of Ari’s life (we’re talking slow-burn romance here, folks). At first I was yelling at Hector because Ari doesn’t seem like the best person at the start, but by the end I was cheering for these two because they make the cutest bakery boyfriends I’ve ever seen.
The illustrations throughout Bloom are also lovely. That’s one thing I love about graphic novels: even if the story isn’t the best, you can still enjoy the photos. The whole book is done in blue-tones, with a few full-page spreads as well.
Bloom was a quick read, highly enjoyable, and made my heart grow five times its normal size (yuck). I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA, m/m romance, or is looking for a light graphic novel to help them break into the medium.