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(The Overthrow #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,252 ratings  ·  330 reviews
The first book in bestselling author Kenneth Oppel’s new trilogy

It was just rain.

But after the downpour, odd black plants begin to shoot up.


They. Are. Everywhere.

They take over fields and twine around houses. They bloom and throw off toxic pollen—and feed.

Strangely, three Salt Spring Island teens seem immune. Anaya, Petra and Seth. What’s their connection? What’s
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by HarperCollins (first published February 4th 2020)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  1,252 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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fulfilling book riot's 2020 read harder challenge task #20: Read a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK

The first book in a can't-put-it-down, can't-read-it-fast-enough action-thriller trilogy that's part Hatchet, part Little Shop of Horrors!

i read this at what i felt was an appropriate pace, and i could and did put it down, so now i'm worried that i may be a grouch. how can you tell when you've crossed over?

i barely read any middle grade, but this seemed like it woul
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
I have read several books by Kenneth Oppel and have become a fan of what he has to offer. His novels for young readers, mainly for middle-graders, range in a variety of settings, subject matter, and genres to choose from, but there is always a take-home message with which kids can identify. For instance, in this book, the main protagonists all have something they don't like about themselves or wish to be like others whom they see as flawless. In the end, friendship prevails, and the characters b ...more
“So, this must be the Miracle Three”
-Colonel Pearson, Bloom

I thoroughly enjoyed Bloom – The Overthrow #1 by Kenneth Oppel, it’s a solid sci-fi book with more than a touch of horror; it’s suspenseful, thrilling, and quite frankly, a bit terrifying in its potential. Strange and extremely sturdy and indestructible black plants begin growing at an unbelievably rapid rate after a heavy rain that covers the entire earth. People begin to have strong allergic reactions to the strange new pollen in the
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Bloom is a great start to a what will be a trilogy. Even though this was a middle grade book I enjoyed it. The characters are ones that you can relate and connect with. The story started off a little slow but once the plot was established it picked up the pace. It is a good suspenseful Sci-fi novel that at times seems creepy like a horror story. Oppel hit a homerun with this book. I can't wait for the next one in this series.
I gave this book 3.5 stars.
The Mary Reader received this book from the
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, middle-grade
Reread recently for a project, and I just can't get over how well Oppel is able to escalate the tension in this story and develop the characters. I am finding this story to have a wide appeal amongst readers, and I would not be surprised to see the popularity of this story grow dramatically as more adults and kids find it. Highly recommend!!!

Original review

I don't know why, but I have more kids looking for creepy stories this year than ever before. Tiffany Jackson, April Henry, Ronald Smith, Ell
Sci-Fi & Scary
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book done did me all sorts of wrong. I mean, I knew it was a possibility because I’ve read The Nest, and sweet baby Cthulhu that book needs a friggin’ warning symbol on it for “Will mess you up in unexpected ways”. But still. The first full page or so of this book had me all wide-eyed and thinking “Aw, hell, he gonna do it to me again.”

After about thirty minutes of reading, I was on social media telling everyone that if it started raining and black grass started sprouting it was the end and
Trust me, no one is more disappointed by this rating than me.

I’ve been reading Kenneth Oppel’s books for many years now, ever since I was very young. I loved Silverwing, I adored Airborn, and I’ve enjoyed everything else of his I’ve read. But this was simply not that great.

The characters were flat and super underdeveloped. I could not tell them apart whatsoever, which is not good when you have three points of view.

I also just expected a lot more from this plot. I like weird books and movies, t
Shaye Miller
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A+ for creep factor!! Bloom is the first book in a trilogy (book #2 should be released in September). The story centers around three teens: Anaya, Petra, and Seth. Each of them have unusual traits which come into play once their nation discovers they are under attack. The invasion comes in the form of rain. But how and why, I can't exactly say without spoiling the story. It's a very hard-to-put-down sci-fi that I believe will be quite popular. I will definitely show up for book #2! This was my f ...more
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review originally published 18 December 2020 Falling Letters.

Prolific Canadian author Kenneth Oppel’s new trilogy, The Overthrow, is a great example of middle grade crossover. I’d call it more specifically upper middle grade or lower young adult, referring to the age for which it is most suitable. The darkness and violence in Bloom (including a character hung by a vine on page) stood out to me. But other elements mark it as upper MG. You get acne and marijuana references. You get 15 year old pro
Laura Gardner
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anaya, Petra, and Seth live in a remote part of Canada. Anaya suffers from horrible allergies that cause her skin to break out and make it hard for her to breathe. Petra has a rare water allergy. Seth is a foster kid with strange scars on his arms. The three seemingly have nothing in common, but when an invasive fast-growing plant species begins taking over the Earth, it appears they do. They are the only three who are immune to the dangerous plant and its poisonous pollen. Not only are they imm ...more
Liv Morris
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, read-in-2020
Have you ever thought to yourself “boy, I’d like to read more books like Annihilation?” Alternatively, have you thought “I’d like to read Annihilation but alas, I am twelve”? Then have I got the book for you.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the publisher and my friends in Book Portage for this copy to read and review. This book delivered exactly what I thought it would. A freaky beginning to an upper MG series in the vein of Kenneth Oppel's earlier novels The Nest and Airborn. I have been a big fan of many of Oppel's books and this has elements of many of them. Bloom launches right into the action with a flash forward scene that tells you how serious things might get. We head back to the beginning and strange plants are b ...more
Guys. I don't know what to say. Kenneth Oppel has been a favorite author of mine for years. His stories have always captured me and I was so excited when I saw that he was coming out with another YA book. This was not what I expected it to be. It was better. I can't even describe the love I felt for this book. It's, like, one of the best apocalyptic books because it's more than that. It has odd characters who suffer from things and are so real. I just.... uhhhhh I'm having all the feels. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Copy provided by the publisher

Anaya has horrible allergies to everything; plants, food, animals. They also cause her to have terrible acne, and she is just weary of going to school when she is feeling bad. Petra, who used to be her friend, is allergic to water. It's a far more debilitating allergy, but it doesn't make her look as bad as Anaya's allergies do. Seth doesn't have allergies, but he has struggled in foster care, finally ending up with the Antos family on their farm in Canada. When bla
Cassie Thomas
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't imagine I would ever become so invested in a sci-fi book, but here I am. It's such an accurate description of Hatchet meets Alien - but I would say Hatchet meets Dark Deep (By Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs).
The plots twists and turns had me definitely hanging on every word. I'm anxious to see where the story goes in book #2 AND #3.
Karen Barber
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last book I read by Kenneth Oppel was Inkling, so this was quite a different experience but similarly engaging.
Our story takes place on a small island, and our main focus is three younger characters who are somewhat isolated from their peers. We have fostered Seth, Anaya who is allergic to everything and Petra who is allergic to water. We are not quite sure what unites these three at first, but when the rain comes we start to get little clues that there might be more going on than we might h
Laurie Hnatiuk
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the Harper Collins and author Kenneth Oppel for providing an ARC copy of Bloom to our #BookPortage group.

Canadian author Kenneth Oppel is going to score some major points with readers with the first of his latest trilogy The Overthrow #1 Bloom.

Set in Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, a typical rain appears to have triggered a strange and now life threatening event. Plants - thick, black vine-like plants are sprouting out everywhere and rapidly taking over land and fields. As
Cytrina Ogle
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars!

This book took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to be spooked so much or be so addicted to this story! A couple complaints would be the weird burgeoning crush between two of the characters, and how Petra was portrayed. It makes sense that she is the way she is because of her emphasis on physical looks. Her whining was annoying at times—but then I have to remember that she’s just a kid. That being said though, Oppel DID show some aspects of her character really well through
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit silly, but still scarier than 95% of adult horror novels.
It has been awhile since a book sucked me in and held my attention. Bloom was such a book. From the moment the strange black plant started growing I was caught, pun intended ;). The book centers around three students who all go to the same school. Two are former best friends who have severe allergies and the third is a boy who just came to the area who keeps to himself. The three end up being connected in unexpected ways and help work towards defeating the plant that is invading the entire plane ...more
I have never experienced a "book you can't put down" until this one. I've been engrossed in books before, but never like this. I needed to know what was coming next.

I would consider this book a little too heavy and graphic for your younger audience, but the upper/middle grades should be okay.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes creepy, always entertaining.

Personal Notes: This book would suite Hufflepuffs and Slytherins.
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, audio
I enjoyed the story and the characters, but I don't feel the need to continue the series. (view spoiler) Also, it was kind of creepy to listen to this while I was gardening and clearing out tomato vines! ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“So, this must be the Miracle Three”
-Colonel Pearson, Bloom

I thoroughly enjoyed Bloom – The Overthrow #1 by Kenneth Oppel, it’s a solid sci-fi book with more than a touch of horror; it’s suspenseful, thrilling, and quite frankly, a bit terrifying in its potential. Strange and extremely sturdy and indestructible black plants begin growing at an unbelievably rapid rate after a heavy rain that covers the entire earth. People begin to have strong allergic reactions to the strange new pollen in the
Tracy Robinson
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up to 4. I don’t normally read middle grade books, but I was intrigued by the premise of this one and decided to check it out. BLOOM is an eco-thriller/horror book that is sure to entertain upper middle grade readers. I can definitely see younger readers picking this up at a book fair or the library based on cover and synopsis alone.

For me, the book had a lot of “extra” details not necessarily overwritten, but times in which I just wanted things to GO instead of just adding more stu
Beth Mendelsohn
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arc-s
I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

After a rainstorm on the Canadian island of Salt Spring, strange black grass begins to grow. When cut down, it just grows back. Soon the black grass flowers and releases a pollen to which everyone seems to be allergic – everyone, that is, except three teenagers Anaya, Petra, and Seth who seem to have nothing in common. If that wasn’t bad enough, new types toxic and deadly plants are being found. Becaus
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to thank Netgalley and Random House for an advanced digital copy to review. I am ecstatic to be able to highly recommend the first book of this trilogy to my students. I know they will be clamoring to get their hands on this book. For sci-if lovers- this is a fast-paced plot that will keep the pages turning. All Sci-if plots need imagination and this book will not disappoint. Visualization is a key reading skill we focus on at my grade level and this book is perfect. Our trio of protagoni ...more
Jenny Ashby
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
After reading a review/synopsis of this latest from Oppel - a favorite author - I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Luckily I was able to score an ARC of it and started reading about ten minutes later. And then I didn't stop for much of anything until I was done. I can see this being so popular with my students but it was tons of fun for me as well. Oppel surprised me several times throughout elevating this above just a typical thriller. The changes in the main characters added something I wa ...more
Michelle Kadarusman
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A thrilling and emotionally charged read from start to finish with a fascinating sci-fi premise that, literally, creeps up and lures you in. I really enjoyed the suspense and science, but what I truly loved was experiencing the interior lives of the teens at the centre of the story. Oppel excels at inhabiting the vulnerabilities and insecurities of his middle grade characters. I was especially moved by Seth's heart-wrenching desire to belong. His voice struck a poignant combination of resignatio ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is a story that hits the ground running and never puts on the brakes. After a heavy rainfall that appears to have affected the entire planet, black grass begins growing at an incredibly fast rate and ends up causing a huge amount of damage to crops and homes. But it only gets worse when the plants release toxins and then it gets much, much worse. Anaya, Petra, and Seth find themselves in the middle of this crisis and find they have an important role to play. What a story! Oppel does a ...more
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I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords ...more

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