Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Bloom
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Published: April 24, 2007 by Simon Pulse
(231 pages, paperback)
Summary: There's a difference between falling and letting go. 
Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?
It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?
But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in -- and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce -- Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her.

My thoughts: Having now read three Elizabeth Scott novels, I feel I've learned really only one main thing: Scott never disappoints. Bloom looks like your typical YA romance novel--let me tell you, it's not. Lauren has the perfect boyfriend; and yes, literally, Dave is perfect. He's sweet, kind, in-tune to her feelings (or so he thinks), and to boot, he's religious, and has never pushed her into anything. While Lauren is left wanting more than Dave is willing to give her when it comes to physical stuff, she gets nada. The farthest they've gone is making out, and even then he's always the first one to pull away. Now, while, I'm all for remaining abstinent if that's what you want, I totally understood why it hurts Lauren than Dave doesn't want to go farther than kissing. She's left unfullfilled, and can't help but feeling like maybe he doesn't want her, not just sex. Okay, to stop the summarization going on here, I'll just say that while the conflict Lauren has with Dave wasn't as deep as some problems may be, it was genuine, and definitely not one addressed much, at least in the novels I've read. And I thought it was great how Scott managed to make Lauren still seem intelligent and held her dignity while writing about something that can be, to put it plainly, nasty.
In the midst of Lauren's problematic relationship, enters Evan, the boy she used to live with (their parents dated). Evan is quiet, shy, and everything Dave isn't; well, except when it comes to having feelings for Lauren. He was mysterious and sweet in unexpected ways, and totally drool-worthy. He had a sort of bad-boy air without really being all that bad. I loved his relationship with Lauren; Scott was brilliant in making them meet again so that it doesn't really seem like they instantly fall in love. I also liked how they had rough spots, and Lauren didn't just magically wake up one morning and decide she loved him, or even had feelings for him. Their relationship does move sort of fast, but it made sense and I loved every page that Evan was on.
To make matters worse for Lauren, her father is absent throughout her life; he's always working, and his past isn't the most brag-worthy; he used to have women lined up by the dozen, and invited each of them to live with him. I really liked how Scott dealt with her absent father, and how she wrapped things up in that regard; Lauren didn't solve all of her problems or patch-up her relationship with her dad necessarily, but she had closure in the best sense of the word. Lauren's dad was complex even though he wasn't actually present in the novel. Scott tackled a bit of a broad subject with grace and honesty and I loved that aspect of the novel.
One of the best parts of this novel was the conflict of Lauren having to decide on keeping the safe, predictable, and boring relationship she has with the perfect (and perfectly plain) Dave, or whether to go for her jumbled feelings for Evan. I loved how Scott had it all planned, and let Lauren go on worrying about being her mother, who was completely reckless and eventually loveless, even while she was slowly turning into her cheating father. Evan's reaction to her outbursts were natural and yet still caring, and Dave's responses were, well, boring, but I still understood why she would want to stay with him for as long as she had.
The overall feel of this book was surprisingly complex. The romance view was fantastic; it was steamy without being graphic, it was sweet without being overtly so, it was understandable while being slightly incredible. Evan was a great character, as was Dave and pretty much all of the characters. I loved her relationship with her 'best friend' who really was there for Lauren even if she was blind to it for most of the novel. Gail, while not mentioned a lot until the latter part of the novel, was another great character, and she helped to move the story on well. Overall, Bloom was sweet, romantic, honest, and serious without being heavy.
Cover: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.9 stars


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