Bloom by Nicola Skinner, illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino, 352 pp, RL 4


illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino
Review Copy from HarperCollins
Bloom is a book rooted in a Roald Dahl-esque world that grows into its own verdant adventure. Narrated by Sorrell Fallowfield, Bloom is set in the town of Little Sterilis, which, as the name suggests, is a paved over, concrete field of grimness dominated by the Chillz frozen pizza plant. Sorrell's days are filled with following Headmaster Grittysnit's ever-expanding rules for students and combatting the dangers of the decrepit home she shares with her hardworking mother, a machine operator at the Chillz plant. When Sorrell finds a packet labeled THE SURPRISING SEEDS she's not even sure what to do with them (the word "sow," along with a voice that speaks to her in her head, comes to mind) a visit to the only remaining garden center in town leads unexpected results. 

As Sorrell struggles with the plants that begin growing out of her head, she begins to learn the sad history Little Sterilis, formerly Little Cherrybliss. Once a fertile farming land that had a personal connection to one its farmers (uncovered in a superb plot thread that involves Sorrell's friend and budding scientist, Neena), a deal was made - and broken - and a curse is to blame for the flora that now grows out of the heads of not just Sorrell, but almost everyone in town. Skinner layers in self-interested news reporters, quarantining of residents "infected" by the plants growing out of their heads and even a friendship misstep that parts Sorrell and Neena.

In Sorrell, Skinner has created an intriguing narrator who (along with the seeds that sprout from her scalp) grows over the course of the story, and in Bloom, she has written a a novel that brings new life to the shelves.

Popular posts from this blog

Fox + Chick: The Sleepover and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari illustrated by Felicita Sala

Reading Levels: A Quick Guide to Determining if a Book Is Right for Your Reader