Scott, Elizabeth. 2007. Bloom.
Ever wished for an intelligent take on VALLEY GIRL? You know, the 80s movie that presented a girl with the "perfect" boyfriend and friends...but who secretly wanted more. She wanted a different boy who wasn't so perfect. Who wasn't so stereotypically supreme. So deliciously popular. The movie was far from perfect, stress on the word "far," but it had its moments. The ending is still one of my all-time favorites. The song "I'll Melt With You" still gets to me. Why bring it up? Bloom is for me a smarter version of Valley Girl. No, it isn't set in the valley. There are no annoying accents or slang. But it's captured part of the essence in my opinion. Everything that I loved about Valley Girl is what I loved in Bloom. I am not trying to cheapen the book by comparing it to an old movie. I'm not suggesting the plot lacks originality. It IS a familiar story line. But it is done well. (Here's a secret: this was one of my favorite Barbie plot lines growing up.) The plot. The characters. They work for me. Now I can only speak for myself, but BLOOM works for me. Elizabeth Scott has added depth to this familiar story.
Lauren is our heroine. She has the perfect boyfriend, Dave. He's a star athlete. He's popular. He's got a great family. He's nice. He's pure. He's a perfect gentleman. He's religious. (He's saving himself for marriage.) Every day Lauren walks down the halls of her high school and sees hundreds of girls from freshman on up drooling over her boyfriend. He's so perfect that everyone wants him. There's not a girl who wouldn't give anything to be in her position. But Lauren can't help feeling that something is missing in her life. Sure, she's got a great boyfriend. But there's no passion. No chemistry. No friction. They never fight. They never disagree. Sure, she's happy to have him. But she's a little bored too when she's honest with herself. Katie is Lauren's best friend. Katie's life is far from perfect. With both of her parents being neglectful and essentially out of the picture (for various reasons), Katie has the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers: Gerald and Harold. The thing I liked about Bloom was that this novel was more than a book about Lauren. There were other characters that were developed. Other characters that mattered. Katie is one of them.
Enter Evan Kirkland. The not-so-perfect boy. The not-as-popular boy. Not-so-stereotypically dreamy guy. The new boy. From the moment she saw him in world history class, she can't stop thinking of him. All day. All night. Evan is in her thoughts. From his dirty fingernails. To the bruises on his hands or arms. Every little thing about him. She can almost sense him coming down the halls. It's like her body knows when he is coming her way. Evan. Her dirty little secret. When she first starts taking rides with him, she thinks she can keep her feelings under control. After all, she has a boyfriend. Everyone KNOWS she has a boyfriend. Evan knows.
One thing is certain, Lauren will have to make some choices and soon...how can a girl choose between her so-called perfect life and a new life full of risk and uncertainty. Dave is safe. He's known. She knows exactly what he's thinking. She knows exactly what he expects of her. Of where he wants their relationship to go. But Evan. Such an unknown. Such a risk. Such a thrilling risk. Does he like her? Does he want her? Would he treat her right?
Lauren isn't a copycat heroine. She has depth. She has personality. One of my favorite things about her? She loves to read. She wants to go to college and major in English. She wants to be a librarian. That is the kind of character I can relate to. Understand. Love. She isn't the perfect girlfriend. The perfect best friend. The perfect daughter. She isn't perfect. She's human. She has strengths, but she has weaknesses as well. It is the very fact that she's so "real" that will make this book memorable.
What can you expect from Bloom? Familiar storyline. Unique, well-developed characters. One very nice romance.