Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 2007
Source: From publisher for review
Rating: 4 bookcases
Summary can be found on author's website.
A lot of people would call Lauren’s life perfect. Her boyfriend, Dave, is lusted after by most of the females at their high school, and she’s popular (by association, at least); in high school that makes you practically royal. But look a little deeper and you soon realize that Lauren is just really good at fitting into everyone else’s expectations for her. Once the shiny exterior is pulled off, it’s easy to see that her mom left when she was six and she hasn’t gotten over hoping she’ll come back, her dad practically lives at the office, her best friend, Katie, is really only her best friend because their boyfriends are friends. And her super popular, besides having a family that is almost too perfect, isn’t exactly who he pretends to be either. Then Evan comes back into her life and he’s everything Dave isn’t. Around him, Lauren feels she can be more herself, more the person she wants to be. So what’s a girl to do: follow everyone else’s plan or decide to be true to herself?
Bloom came very highly recommended, so I had very high expectations when I started reading. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed Bloom and found it to be a well written story about trying to figure out what you want out of life. Lauren was instantly relatable because who hasn’t been unhappy with how their life was going or wanted something other than what they had. She started out going along with everyone else until she gained some confidence in herself. Her relationship with Evan had a lot to with this.
Lauren and Evan knew each other when they were young, actually Lauren’s father and Evan’s mother dated and were serious for awhile, so there is a connection there that Lauren just doesn’t have with Dave. An example of this was when Lauren and Evan talk about their career goals. Lauren says that she wants to be a librarian, but admits that she’s never actually told her father, Dave or Katie this. Instead she tells them she wants to be a lawyer or a pediatrician because she knows that fits how they see her. I didn’t agree with all of Lauren’s decisions, she definitely could have been more upfront with both Dave and Katie about her feelings for Evan. But, at the same time I can appreciate that she found herself in a hard place trying to decide between what was safe and routine with Dave or the possibly exciting unknown with Evan.
The contrast between Dave and Evan was really well done. Dave had this almost too perfect aura about him: he had the ideal family, he was a caring and devoted older brother, he was planning his life with Lauren, including what college they would attend. Evan, on the other hand, was rough around the edges, he didn’t care about popularity or friends and it was just him and his mom. Of the two, Evan felt more real, more like someone you could meet in real life. Where Dave was the shiny fantasy (remember all the girls and possibly some of the boys wanted to date him), Evan was gritty reality.
The supporting characters added overall depth to the story. I especially liked the small side plot of Lauren’s growing friendship with Gail, a fellow jazz band member. It was obvious that Lauren’s relationship with her dad needed a lot of work and it was nice to see that the two of them got to a better place by the end of the book. Not everything was worked out but, it was obvious that the mending had begun. For most of the book, my least favorite relationship was Lauren and Katie’s friendship. Lauren is very upfront with the reader that the two of them were only best friends because of specific circumstances. Out of all the people in Lauren’s life, Katie is the most concerned with outward appearance and maintaining an aura of perfection. There was a small side plot with Katie’s family that I wish had been explored a little more. In the end, Katie surprised me by being much more perceptive than I thought she could be. And the fact that Lauren had both Katie and Gail as friends at the end of the story, shows just how much she had grown.
Bloom is one of those books that engaged me right away and kept my attention straight through to the end. Ms. Scott writes in such a way that you care about her characters from the first page and want the best for them, even if they might not know exactly what that might be. Even after I had read the last sentence, I was still thinking about the characters, especially Lauren and Evan. I still had lots of questions, like: were they still together, were they happy, did they end up achieving their career goals? I love when an author makes me wonder about the characters’ lives beyond the story, beyond the ending. Bloom was a book that stayed with me for a long time, weeks after I had finished it I was still thinking about it and all the choices that Lauren made. It is definitely a book that I will reread.
Overall, a book with a strong message about being yourself and finding what makes you happy.
For more information on Elizabeth Scott and her books visit her website at: http://elizabethwrites.com/