Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Ari is desperate to leave his family’s Greek bakery and move to the city with his band after high school graduation. His family is reluctant to let him go, but they hire Hector, a charming Samoan cooking school student, as a trial replacement. Hector and Ari become fast friends while working in the bakery, and maybe even more–provided that Ari doesn’t mess it up. Ganucheau’s blue, black, and white art conveys the sum of Hector and Ari’s emotions gracefully and quietly, while also celebrating the detailed, precise art of baking.
Ari is a deeply relatable character and Hector is extremely likable–the trajectory of their relationship is easy to follow, even as it is primarily shown through wordless panels and meaningful looks across a loaf of bread. The themes of young love, navigating friendships after high school, and following your heart while not disappointing your family are all extremely easy for teens to identify with. Panetta primarily focuses on dialogue, letting Ganucheau’s illustrations speak for themselves–this makes the book an incredibly fast read, even for a reluctant reader.
Bloom would be perfect for fans of baking television shows like the Great British Bake Off or books featuring sweet, light romances and baking such as Check, Please! By Ngozi Ukazu.