Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
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 easy going 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.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 29, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kevin Panetta

38 books291 followers
Kevin Panetta is a Washington, DC based comic book and graphic novel writer. He has written licensed children's comics from Boom! Studios. His first creator-owned series, Zodiac Starforce, debuted from Dark Horse Comics in August 2015.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
15,342 (30%)
4 stars
19,604 (39%)
3 stars
11,957 (23%)
2 stars
2,614 (5%)
1 star
518 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,291 reviews
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.1k followers
July 2, 2020
Aw, this one wasn't for me 😭 I felt that the plot meandered, was paced strangely, and that the relationships didn't grow in understandable ways. I was constantly asking the book questions like "why is Ari still working at the bakery if he hired a replacement? why do we never see him practicing with his band? why is he having so much fun baking if he keeps saying how much he hates baking?" I just was not a big Ari fan, haha. Oh well! I know so many other people have loved it.
Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
January 31, 2019
this was so adorable!! if you're looking for two soft boys baking and falling in love, look no further!
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
June 2, 2019
3.5 stars

I saw so many glowing reviews for this that I basically harrassed my library into buying a copy, but I'm sad that my lasting impression of it is that is was just kinda average? There were certainly things I loved about it like the character development and the setting at a bakery and the gorgeous art style and how Hector would call Ari out when he was being a baby or manipulative, but I thought the rest of the plot was just kinda typical. Small town, summer, slow burn romance, family drama, a mistake that leads to more family drama and a breakup, then they make up. It felt pretty formulaic and stereotypical, so I was never really shocked or emotional at anything that happened. Also, Ari irritated me for most of the book, even though I know he was purposefully characterized as sensitive and sort of passive. Those moments were just frustrating for me, and I don't feel like we got to see enough of him growing out of that before the book ended. I think the struggle was realistic for Ari to not know what he wanted to do with his life, but that subplot almost seems unsolved by the end of this?

This book was definitely beautiful and had cute and meaningful moments, but I just feel like I've read it before. If you like any of the elements I mentioned earlier, though, it's worth the read.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,065 reviews1,905 followers
July 21, 2019
I found this book very frustrating.

Ostensibly this is a romance between two young men (18 or 19?). Although nothing romantic really happens until about two-thirds of the way through the book.

What frustrated me is that Ari, the character who is working in his dad's bakery, is a selfish, self-absorbed, whiny, immature, pouting little brat. And I'm supposed to think Hector falls in love with him!!!!

When they finally kiss, I'm like, "NOoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Don't kiss him, Hector!!!!!!!" And that's bad. That's not how you should feel when reading a romance. You should think the two people falling in love are cute, good people, and deserve each other.

Literally the only reason I can see for Hector "loving" or "caring about" Ari is because he thinks that Ari is handsome or has a good body. That's it. Full-stop. There's literally NOTHING attractive about Ari's sniveling personality. He has no work ethic. He has no drive. He hangs around shitty people who say shitty things and doesn't stand up for himself or others. He's passive-aggressive. He's whiny. He's pouty. He's like a child - and not a happy child! A depressed, needy child prone to crying jags.

I'm all for the idea of this plot - baker's son wants to break away from a future of spending his whole life working in his dad's bakery, falls in love with a new-man-in-town who is a strong, responsible, hard-working, good person - but it falls apart because the baker's son is weak, pathetic and insufferable.

Really baffled by this. I can't believe I'm supposed to rejoice in this 'love story.' Instead, it left me feeling like Hector could do WAY better than Ari, deserved WAY more than Ari, was going to end up in a relationship where he had to do all the heavy lifting, had to do all of the emotional work, had to baby and 'take care of' his boyfriend, has to hold his boyfriend's hand through every little thing, has to deal with Ari's snits and whiny, crying passive-aggressive trash behavior,... Who has TIME for this shit? Does Hector, who actually functions as an ADULT MAN, want to yoke himself to this CHILD?! WHY?!?!!? The only possible conceivable answer is that he feels lust for Ari and wants to fuck him. That's not what the book says, the book says Hector 'cares about' Ari, but for the love of Pete I don't see how!!!!

TL;DR I know people are all trying to write these cutesy, uplifting little romance graphic novels now. I understand it's a thing. But I need the two protagonists in the romance who fall in love with each other to both be good people whom I like. People who may be flawed, but have enough good, strong personality traits for me to be rooting for them. And when two people end up together, I want to feel HAPPY, like both of them have achieved a GOOD THING, and be happy about their pleasant future together, NOT feeling like one has just been sadly burdened with a partner who is emotionally fragile, very insecure, very weak, and whom he will have to delicately and gently 'care for' and 'look after' for their whole entire relationship. JFC. Poor Hector.

Points for the art and for trying. But it's a failure. I did not support this couple and thought Hector was making a HUGE mistake.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
July 4, 2019
I don't know exactly what led me to read Bloom , the wonderful new graphic novel by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau, especially considering that I had read exactly one graphic novel before this, and it didn't quite make an impact on me. But something about this story of friendship, love, family, and baking captured my attention, and it has definitely piqued my interest in reading more graphic novels in the future.

Ari's family owns a bakery that has fallen on hard times. They're struggling to make ends meet, hoping they won't have to close. Even though Ari loved baking with his father as a child, the last thing he wants to do now is spend his days slaving over hot ovens. He isn't quite sure what he wants to do now that high school is over, although he and his friends are talking about trying to make it with their band. But his parents need him to help them—for as long as it takes.

In an effort to find a way out of the bakery, Ari places an ad looking for a replacement. He finds Hector, a young man in town recovering after the death of his grandmother, who loves baking more than anything else. As Hector breathes new life into the bakery, he and Ari begin to develop a friendship, the intensity of which surprises both of them. This relationship could be the start of something special—if only Ari's impulsive behavior doesn't ruin everything.

Ganucheau's illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and they are full of emotion and life. At times I found myself re-reading portions of the book so I could spend some time concentrating on the illustrations. This is a simple story, but it had so much heart, and I found myself rooting for Ari and Hector's relationship to flourish, even when Ari screwed things up.

Graphic novels may not be for everyone. Honestly, I might have thought I was one of those people until I read Bloom . It put a smile on my face and charmed me completely. Can you really ask for anything more from a book?

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,625 followers
May 23, 2020

I was having a really crummy day but then I decided to read my ARC of this. It was so fun and easy to read. A great story that took my emotions for a ride.
Thank you to First Second for providing me with an ARC

Bottom Line:
5 Stars: Yuri on Icing 😉
Age Recommendation: 13+ (Occasional swearing, brief kiss)
Cover: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters 5/5

| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
Profile Image for Nicole.
513 reviews14.3k followers
May 24, 2023
Przeczytana w ramach komikstonu 2023
W porządku, przyjemna, ale brakowało mi jakichś wniosków.
Profile Image for Celia {Trying to catch up} .
588 reviews88 followers
May 7, 2023

•| ⊱✿⊰ |• 3,8 Stars •| ⊱✿⊰ |•

Com as férias de verão, Ari sonha em sair da sua cidade, da padaria dos pais, ir viver com os amigos e tocar numa banda.
Mas a padaria não está bem e a sua irmã casou e foi embora.
Ari sente-se preso.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

With the summer holidays, Ari dreams of leaving his city, his parents' bakery, going to live with friends and playing in a band.
But the bakery is not doing well and her sister got married and left.
Ari feels trapped.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Um bocadinho ao estilo do Heartstopper Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman , fofinho.
Não tem os temas pesados e conscientes de Heartstopper, é mais leve.
Ari tenta resolver os seus problemas contratando alguém para a padaria, e, nessa altura, entra Hector, que está na cidade para resolver a casa da avó que morreu, mas que estuda culinária.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ �� ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

A bit like Heartstopper Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman, cute.
It doesn't have the heavy, conscious themes of Heartstopper, it's lighter.
Ari tries to solve her problems by hiring someone for the bakery, and at that point, Hector enters, who is in town to fix his grandmother who died, but who is studying cooking.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Ari e Hector passam todo o tempo, juntos, na padaria, com os seus amigos, vão passear juntos…


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Ari and Hector spend all their time together at the bakery with their friends, go for walks together…


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Ari encontra a felicidade novamente na padaria e até se esquece dos planos que tinha para a banda.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Ari finds happiness again at the bakery and even forgets about her plans for the band.


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

O problema é que o verão está a terminar e Hector vai voltar para a faculdade…


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

The problem is that summer is ending and Hector is going back to college...

════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Será que o sentimento irá resistir à distância?
Ou foi apenas um amor de verão?


════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Will the feeling last the distance?
Or was it just a summer love?

════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════ ⋆ ★ ⋆ ════

Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,459 reviews2,407 followers
December 31, 2022
This is just so cute!
Ari and Hector 💞
You two are so made for each other.
And with all that baking and food, it made me super hungry all this time.

I love how the characters are well developed and their personalities are so heartwarming. I would like to meet this family and friends of Ari. They are so supportive and there for him. Ari (Aristotle) is not a person you would adore but he owns up to his mistakes and Hector happens in his life making things better.
This one is so sweet! The kisses though 💞

We all need a Hector in our lives. I need one😭
Profile Image for Gabs.
198 reviews164 followers
January 22, 2021
2/5 ★★☆☆☆

“I would love to have something like that... to be on a team with someone... and to be better together than you ever could be alone.”

I didn't like the story or the characters. There are many inconsistencies in the plot, it doesn't seem to follow a logical order and the ending happens very hastily. Many scenes don't end properly, they skip from one part of the book to another without any explanation. It was very disappointing, to be honest.

The characters aren’t much better, they have no evolution or chemistry. It was impossible for me to connect with them. It’s a shame.

The illustrations are beautiful (the only thing I really liked), just for that I gave it two stars. It wasn't the worst I've read, but I wouldn't recommend it anyway.
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
948 reviews2,713 followers
July 7, 2020
OMG! the baking scenes, travelling together, cooking together, sitting on rooftop etc.

And heck that first kiss though...that was sooo fucking cute!!BUT THEN NO NO NO WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN.

And I love ARI'S MOM AND Dad they are soo cute!!!

And why the heck all girls are so hyperactive { HANNAH, MEG} i mean i am not complaining and all.....its just they are hard to handle....though i love them.

Profile Image for monica kim.
202 reviews6,041 followers
June 15, 2021
overall, a lovely story, but i just wish the narrative was a bit stronger. will still pick up the next though!
Profile Image for Not My High.
286 reviews837 followers
September 14, 2022

Ostatnio trafiam na same świetne powieści graficzne i Bloom jest jedną z nich. Najważniejsze w komiksach są dla mnie:
- Kreska
- Bohaterowie
- Nastrój

Kreska: jest urocza i dopracowana. Kolorystyka (kolor morski i odcienie niebieskiego) bardzo pasuje do historii.

Bohaterowie: kocham fakt, że 50% postaci stąd to totalny chaos, a 50% to czysty komfort. Idealny balans.

Nastrój: małe miasteczko, rodzinna piekarnia, (głównie) lato. Cieszę się, że ukazane są tu nie tylko słodko-niezobowiązujące momenty, ale także ważne rozmowy, stawianie granic i trudne relacje.

Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,381 followers
October 18, 2019
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

★ My last couple of reviews were huge so this review is going to be cute and fluffy, just like this book!

★ I suffered to get a copy of this book because I really wanted to read it! I am not disappointed but not impressed either. Those graphic novels are all becoming the same: Check, Heartstopper, Fence. They all involve 2 guys with a too fluffy, too fast relationships because the books are short for something meaningful!

★ They sometimes involve a breakup for a short time and then they get back to each other quickly! I liked 2 things about this one though: The colors used are some of my favorite hue which is blue/green.


★ At one point one of the characters is being a dick and the other character is like “Hakuna your Tatas sister and don’t blame me for this”, well he did not exactly say that but the idea is that this is one of the first times I see this in a novel and I think it should be a more prevalent occurrence!

★ Summary: I think this was okay, a fast read that is a bit too cute for my own taste and that I think I read before in other graphic novels! The food and cooking made me hungry and it did not take a huge effort to read this so I am not complaining… much. If you feel you will like this, maybe check it out from the library.

You can get more books from Book Depository

Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (hiatus).
346 reviews1,172 followers
December 27, 2022
It's pretty hard not to read this and think or compared it to the Heartstopper series. Ari reminds me a bit of Charlie for some reason too.

What I like about the book is :
✓ The illustration and the colour hue picked for the novel
✓ The theme and the message that the book delivered, especially when it's something teenagers could relate to about their uncertain future.

And that's pretty much it. Besides that, I find this book quite tedious as it does not put an end to the story. It progresses and jumps from one event to another without concluding. None of the characters was as pleasant as I expected them to be, except for Hector. The plot was off and I just could not find myself enjoying it.

Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
November 18, 2019
A first graphic novel for Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau about two queer boys and a May- December (summer) romance while they--Ari and Hector--work in a bakery owned by Ari's father. It's pretty and sweet and hovering maybe between 3 and 4 stars for me, say 3.5, because there's not as much characterization or depth as I would like. Not much happens except baking and touches and glances, in keeping with romance, for a very long time, but I especially like the food passion in it (there are some food manga series of which this reminded me, Antique Bakery, and so on).

A "big event" happens at one point in the book that felt unnecessarily dramatic, I wasn't a fan, but I like the sweet conclusion that doesn't make too much of it all, just enough. I like it that there are few words and so much happens through the visual, not too much talk, perfect for graphic novels, even more perfect for graphic romances. Comes with recipes and a playlist by which you can read it!
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,476 reviews1,894 followers
May 27, 2019
Basically what I'm learning is that no LGBTQ+ graphic novel will ever come close to the soft adorable hilarious brilliance that is CHECK, PLEASE.

I feel like I waited for this hold to pop up f o r e v e r and wow what a disappointment.

Bland characters, shitty characters, perfectly predictable pious characters.. not to mention a lack of direction or cohesion; overall just.. nothing to recommend it. I can't even round up.
Profile Image for solanne.
193 reviews482 followers
September 6, 2020
unpopular opinion but this was a mess.

I went into this fully expecting to fall head over heels for Bloom after having read dozens of glowing reviews, but unfortunately this was nowhere near the cute, well-written romance I was anticipating.

• the art!!! I loved the simple style and the colour palette was really lovely!!
• the bakery setting was adorable.
• Hector was such a wonderful character.
• Ari not knowing what he wanted to do in life. I think that this uncertainty is almost universal in teens and I appreciated its portrayal. that being said, this was the only thing I liked about Ari’s character.

• Ari. just. nearly everything about him. he was immature and self-absorbed and, quite frankly, awful. Ari went through absolutely no character development whatsoever and was horrible to all those around him. worse yet, he was treated like a misunderstood kid who didn’t know the consequences of his actions and was never held accountable for the hurt he caused.
• the romance. there was genuinely no reason for the two mcs to like each other at all, let alone fall in love. Hector deserved so much better.
• Ari’s friends are also awful people; they talk shit about Hector, they talk shit about each other… the entire friend group seemed so toxic.
• the dialogue was super choppy and out of place.
• THE TIME JUMPS. these random leaps made the story feel incredibly disjointed and as if entire parts of the story were missing. I was honestly worried that my e-copy of Bloom was malfunctioning and it took me a while to figure out that... those gaps were intentional??
• none of the story’s conflicts are actually resolved on-page. this problem is tied to the random time jumps; we’re left to assume what happened in those month-long voids. miraculously, all the issues seem to have been solved but we don’t get an explanation as to how that happened.

overall, this was a huge letdown for me. I truly do not understand the hype surrounding this graphic novel. read this if you want to I guess.
Profile Image for Ashley.
828 reviews483 followers
June 18, 2020
Star Rating: —> 5 Stars

*phewww* thank GODD the “official” star rating is on record, because guys...




I can’t E-VENNNNN!
I could not get enough of this beautifully executed— both visually AND in written word— queer lovvveeeee story!!

Bloom gave me vibes of a sort of vague mash-up of Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Heartstopper mixed with a backdrop of adorable bonding over baking yummy things.

Does it get much better/cuter than that?
Let me tell you— no. no it does not.

Plus the yummy glaze on top is made of some fantastic family dynamics & great, healthy

The thing is, too, that it had so much more to it than being a “falling for you” story... albeit that WAS undeniably my favorite part (I mean come ON ! What isn’t to love about Ari & Hector?!

I mean, this story takes place when both characters are at a crossroads in their lives, & are trying to find themselves as individuals. They just so happen find each other as well! The author does a wonderful job of making sure the balance between loving yourself & loving another is realistic, which is wonderful.

AHHH there really was so much to this book that only made it more & more exceptional as it progressed.
It WAS fluffy and sugary sweet to a degree, but it was balanced out JUST RIGHT!
Like Goldilocks would TOTES approve.

There are really full back stories/ and personal troubles for each of the main characters. There are some pretty deeply emotional scenes where I couldn’t help but cry, & everything truly is very realistic (including the ending) and I loved that. There are a lot of very real problems, as well, along the way, like dealing with some pretty manipulative people— exes and *ahem* bad friends -___- (just one, mayybeeee sort of two? but still. As you will see juuuust below in my rant specifically about that character lol).

*rant warning*
(Reminder! rant is in no way in regards to the book itself; my God I couldn’t love this gem of a graphic novel more!🤔 eh wait maybe I could if there were more Ari & Hector adorbz kissing scenes! 😉 anyway, its just regarding an ass of a character who was meant to be an ass of a character so no worries 😉 )
There is a toxic, sh*tty bandmate... well, actually, mostly the terrible person of a lead singer who is just an ASS & who can’t appreciate good music if it slapped him in the face (Ari likes kickass bands/ music in general. You’ll know what i’m referring to when you read this though regarding leadsingerdouche).

Read this! You won’t regret it! It made me laugh, it brought tears to my eyes, it made me happy— it made me feel just a whole wide range of emotions & the cherry on top was being in love with all the ADORABLE BAKING ART!
(Which I never thought I could love so much? Who would’ve thought illustrations of baked goods, as well as baked goods being prepped could make you feel like you were being hugged by the author & illustrator themselves? Literally, it confounds me that I love those panels SO much, haha. But here we are.)

Trust me... you just cant go wrong with this FANTASTICCCCC graphic novel! 😊😊😊



(Yes, as you may have guessed, I JUST bought this online. Yes its 2:48 in the morning. Yes I bought 4 other books today. Yes, I 210% had to, because ! Look how precious! So many of you love this story; what could be better... two adorable boys falling in love
... & BREAD? possibly other baked goods?

I mean you already had sold me at graphic novel gays, but uhm carbs (carbs = both the love of my life, & the bane of my existence) ALSO did NOT HURT, i’ll tell you what. )

Art style reminds me of blankets :-)
May 27, 2022
Light hearted, coming of age, family bakery with a bit of romance. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I especially liked the illustrations of different baked goods being made and the Dad. It's sweet not super heavy with romance for those who aren't a fan of just lovey lovey love. I look forward to what happens in the 2nd book!
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,109 reviews6,574 followers
March 29, 2020
“I would love to have something like that... To be on a team with someone... And to be better together than you could ever be alone.”

representation: Greek MC, Samoan MC, lots of side characters of colour, m/m relationship.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was so beautiful. Not only in the art style, but the story itself was so lovely. There was one joke made about PTSD that rubbed me the wrong way, but I can't really fault it for anything else!

trigger warnings: death of a grandparent (in the past), shitty joke made about PTSD, fire.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,291 followers
August 18, 2019
I don't know why or how I waited as long as I did to pick up Bloom, because this has to be one of my new favorite graphic novels of all time. The art is stunning, the characters are so precious and lovable, and I adored the rep (a Greek gay MC, a Samoan gay love interest, and multiple side characters of color).

This is definitely a more character- than plot-driven story, so if you're like me and you prefer character-driven reads, this one will be right up your alley; not a ton of drama or conflict goes on, but it's more focused on Ari coming to terms with what makes him happy and who he wants to be, and his slow-budding relationship with Hector.

I honestly cannot recommend this soft, sweet little queer romance highly enough. I adored these two and know I'll be revisiting Bloom many times in the future just because I'm already missing Ari & Hector a little bit!

Thank you so much to the publisher & Amazon Vine for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
826 reviews207 followers
September 21, 2019
2-1/2 stars, rounded up
Ari Kyrkos's sister has just gotten married, and now his parents expect him to help out with the family bakery on the Maryland shore. But Ari is dreaming of moving to Baltimore with his friends so their band can play clubs and develop a following. Then Hector, who's in their town to tie up his grandmother's estate, gets a job at the bakery. And Ari finds himself torn over what he really wants.
Well, meh.

I had high hopes for this book since a number of my Goodreads friends have rated it highly and raved about it in their reviews.

But for me, this is a graphic novel that I really wish had been a word novel instead. I needed more emotional context than what was coming across in the panels. Only seeing Ari's external appearance, and not getting any of his internal life and conflicts, left me not relating to him and not caring about him at all.

I liked the drawing style, but I have two complaints about the artistic choices here. First, I saw Ari as looking more 13 than the 18 or 19 years old he's supposed to be, and that threw me off through the whole book, especially since Hector looks to be about 20. Second, every character keeps smiling and smirking even when they're saying things that seem to be serious (or even cruel), which made me read everyone as a bit passive aggressive. (They came across like the kind of people who end every single text message with "LOL" so you never know whether they mean anything at all, ever.)

By the end of the book, it seems clear that Ari is suffering from a combination of an identity crisis and depression, but since I'd spent the first two-thirds of the book reading him as shallow and sulky, that insight came too little, too late for me. He and his friends/bandmates never practice -- I'm not sure Ari is ever shown picking up an instrument -- so I had no understanding of whether he really cared about music, or not. Or whether he cared about anything.

I rounded this up to 3 stars for two reasons. First, Hector is a great character, not just adorable looking, but also a terrific model of good communication skills and taking responsibility for one's own emotions and actions. He makes up for everything Ari's characterization lacks. Second, by the end of the story, there's a nice message about recognizing who one's real friends are, and using that as a springboard to become a better friend oneself.

But overall, I was bored and disappointed by this book. As a graphic novel, it's just too slight. I put it down at the halfway point, and had to force myself to pick it up and spend the half hour it took to finish it.

But don't take my word about it. Take a look at all those 4- and 5-star reviews for this book, because a lot of people got something out of it that I missed.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,291 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.