Book number 37 for the year – “Bloom” by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau. It’s a breezy book about teen Ari, who is dying to get out of his home-town to pursue a career in music. But his parents want him around to help with their ailing family bakery. When Ari attempts to find a replacement for himself, little does he know the move would change his life in different ways.

Ari symbolizes a lot of us ‘small town kids’, who often dream of going to the big city, hoping to strike some gold ir fame. However, more often than not, those dreams are not even ours. On some level, Ari just wants to run away from his responsibilities, hoping to find some sort of magic life in a far off city. Author Kevin Panetta weaves in relatable characters and relationships. And the art by Savanna Ganucheau is lively, cute and makes “Bloom” unputdownable. I only wish there were more colours in the panels. The whole graphic novel is only in shades of blue-green, which gives it a gloomy tone, even though the plot is largely bright and happy. There’s a lot of baking and the pages might make you crave for things you don’t have easy access to – like blueberry cookies.

Apart from all the baking, the sweetest thing in “Bloom” is Hector, the other protagonist in the book, who is easily the most likable character, he loves to bake, is hard-working, punctual, sweet and most importantly – dependable. In Hector we get a confident young gay man, who is sure of what he wants in life and has no emotional insecurities. Such characters are slightly rare in mainstream LGBTQ+ content. It’s obviously nice to have flawed/relatable characters, but once in a while, an almost perfect idealistic character is good to have too. Fiction is supposed to be an escape from reality after all.

Pick up ‘Bloom’, if you are looking for a sweet little tale that reminds you of the sun, sand and delicious baked goodies.

Please check our podcast by the same name on YouTube – AbstractAF.

If you want graphic novel recommendations, listen to episode 15.