Bloom (2019)


Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

From: Macmillan Publishers

Notes on This Title

Hector, one of the focal characters, is implied to be Samoan.




Starred Review: “Summer love rises between two boys in a bakery.

High school may have ended, but Ari is stuck with sourdough starter at his family’s bakery instead of summer gigs in the city with his band. As his family’s money grows tighter, Ari feels tethered in place. His friends start to drift toward their own futures. But the future of their band—and their friendship—drifts toward uncertainty. Under the guise of recruiting another baker to take his place, Ari hires Hector. A culinary student in Birmingham, Hector has temporarily returned home to find closure after his Nana’s passing. The two grow close in more than just the kitchen. Ari, who hates baking, even starts to enjoy himself. But will it all last? Panetta and Ganucheau’s graphic novel debut is as much a love story between people as it is with the act of baking. Ganucheau’s art, in black ink with varying shades of blue, mixes traditional paneling with beautiful double-page spreads of detailed baking scenes, where the panels sometimes take on the shape of braided loaves. The romance between Ari and Hector builds slowly, focusing on cute interactions long before progressing to anything physical. Ari and his family are Greek. Family recipes referenced in the text code Hector as Samoan. Delicious.

A tender blend of sugary, buttery, and other complex flavors that’s baked with a tremendous dash of heart. (recipe, production art) (Graphic novel. 13-adult)” (Source: Kirkus Reviews)


“This quiet romance/coming-of-age story uses a leisurely pace to tell a familiar tale, made distinctive by the bakery setting and activity of bread making.

Ari works in the family bakery located in a coastal town. He wants to move to a bigger city with his band of friends, but his father needs his help to keep the struggling business going. Then Hector comes to town to clean out his grandmother’s house and winds up working at the bakery.

Many readers will relate to Ari’s loose vision and aimlessness. He has a goal, but it’s more of a dream than a possibility. As pointed out by other characters, he doesn’t work to make it happen, using the family business and other’s expectations of him as an excuse to avoid making scary steps on his own. He wants to have something meaningful, something his own, but he doesn’t yet know what that might be. He’s full of yearning but not direction.” (Source: School Library Journal)


The Mary Sue: “Gay Summer Love and Baking

The Beat: “Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau Talk BLOOM, Baking, & Music

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