Francis Wootton's first memory is of Kurt Cobain's death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection - and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who's at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There's the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn't reckoned on meeting Amber - fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber - and finding a reason to tackle it all - the good, the bad and everything in between - head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live.
Review: I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous book in the post for review. The cover of it is just exquisite so naturally I spent quite a while stroking it before I got down to actually reading it but I was involved in the story right away. Although it has probably been said a million times before, this book does have a real feel of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, not just because it deals with young people who are ill, but because the voice is very similar too. Francis's adolescent male voice comes through very strongly and so you can tell right away that this book is well written.
I loved the fact this this book was set up north, there aren't enough books dealing with teenagers in the UK unless they live in leafy Surrey, and Francis's mum was a wonderful character too, strong and independent, I can definitely recognise her amongst mums that I know. I definitely had a real soft spot for the friend of Francis's brother-Fiona. I think it's good when a secondary character stays with you after you've finished the book, she didn't have much impact on the storyline itself but her presence and her input throughout the book was definitely fun and worthwhile!
I enjoyed the storyline although I did find the pace a little slow, I found myself wanting to find out what was going to happen next more out of frustration than the fact that it was a page turner, but overall I found it a well rounded story and was pleased with the general progression and then the ending. With the subject matter being what it was, I thought that I would cry more than I did, but I found myself welling up more over the relationship between Francis and Amber than I did at some of the more poignant moments in the book. There was one particular scene between the two of them that had me slightly inconsolable. He says to her-"and even if you don't always love me, even if we don't always know each other, I think the world will be a more interesting place with you in it". *sniff*
Overall I thought this was a lovely book. It was a quick read and really well written. It definitely has all the features of YA so if that's not something you're into, don't pick this one up, but if you fancy a nice story about young people facing struggle and love triumphing then you should definitely give this one a go!
You can pre-order this gorgeous novel by clicking here