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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Vesely

Wade into the Ocean Breeze (Book Review: Bloom)

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Review: Bloom

Fiction, Graphic Novel

First Second, pp. 368

Cost: $16.50 (hc), $12.18 (pb), $9.99 (eb)

Let me start by saying I love the color blue and I love pastels, so maybe my opinion of this graphic novel is a little bias. But, HOLY SH*T, the beauty of this art style is undeniable—a perfect complement to the beauty of the story it tells.

Bloom, not to be confused with the Troye Sivan album of the same name, is a graphic novel with story by Kevin Panetta and illustrations by Savanna Ganucheau. It’s a coming-of-age story of family, self-discovery, and young love. Admittedly, that sounds like a lot of stories; and, in theory, the plot is nothing to write home about.

You’ll follow two teenage boys, Ari and Hector. Ari’s got nothing figured out—he’s a musician with a dream of moving out of his beach-town and into the big city. He’s also absolutely adorable if that counts for anything. Hector is the man of my dreams and Ari can’t have him. He’s a grown young adult, a mature boy taking care of his deceased family member’s home. Also, he loves to bake. He bakes. He mother f*cking BAKES. Give me brownies and I’ll give you my heart.

Eating cookies gif
The reader, thinking about Hector every time they eat baked goods.

The best thing about these two characters is that neither are particularly the “homo dream boy.” You know what I’m talking about; the boy in the book who’s totally not realistic and just there to allure all the gay boys (hey, sometimes I willingly fall for it). Ari is a stick of a boy, who’s attitude can definitely turn off some readers, but he’s real and you root for him more for that reason. Hector is a little bit of a bigger-boned boy (not your typical twink, as some may say) but he’s still a dream-boat. Again, the boy bakes, what more can we ask for?

The two develop a friendship while working in Ari’s family bakery, and they soon start to hang out more than just behind the counter. The beauty of it though: it very much stays in the realm of friendship (or maybe more flirtmance) for a majority of the novel. It’s a satisfying build up until the end, which gives some big twists that really test your patience with some characters.

Anticipation gif
The reader, waiting for Ari and Hector to kiss.

The art style is, again, absolutely beautiful. Try to image the ocean breeze—it’s not the bold blue of the ocean, it’s not the transparency of the breeze; but it’s the gentle, pastel blue that intersects the two. The use of this pastel blue (as seen on the cover) is so pleasant to the eye and gives it a cutesy feeling while remaining grounded in the pseudo-realism of the setting and characters. Also, it’s just a beautiful setting to depict in this art style and color palate—the color being the perfect blend of sea-water and beach sky.

In short, read this graphic novel if you haven’t already. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. It takes your breath away. I give Bloom 5 out of 5 stars.

Matthew Vesely

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