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Book Review: Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

Book Review: Bloom by Kenneth Oppel - By Felicia

The novel, “Bloom”, by Kenneth Oppel, tells the story of three kids, Anaya, Petra, and Seth. They are mysteriously immune to an unknown, cryptogenic, and toxic plant that has recently arrived on Earth in hopes of colonizing the planet.

One morning, Anaya wakes up to find that both her eyes are glued shut. Ugh, allergies. Anaya is allergic to almost everything. During lunch at school, she is assigned a task: take a photo of the new kid Seth for the yearbook. On the way to finding him, she passes by her friend Petra who is allergic to the one thing humans need to survive: water. In scientific terms, she has aquagenic urticaria. Anaya then meets Seth, who is drawing. As soon as she approaches, Seth quickly covers up his notebook. She takes a picture of him for the yearbook. At the end of the day, it is raining heavily. As Petra is walking home, she accidentally gets a bit of rain on her skin! Terrified, she glances at her arm… and nothing is happening. Wait, what? Overjoyed, she collects as much rainwater as she can and saves it. The next morning, Anaya notices a 3 foot tall, sturdy, spiky, black grass that is growing in her front yard. How could a plant grow so fast in such a short amount of time? Anaya’s dad goes online, to find that many people have noticed the same thing. Because of this, the whole town goes to a meeting, even the kids, where important individuals talk about the new invasive species that has arrived. In the middle of it, the plant’s black vines burst through the windows and shoot pollen at everyone. Within seconds, the whole town is coughing and wheezing… except Anaya, Petra, and Seth. Hmm. Then, Anaya’s mom, who is a pilot, spots some black grass that’s all yellow and droopy. In other words: dying. Anaya’s dad is sent to collect some of the soil there to find out what is killing the plant. Soon, on the roof, Anaya finds berries and sacs filled with fluid growing from the black vines. Watching quietly, she spots a bird sitting on a sac, trying to eat a berry. Then… SPLASH! The sac opens and the bird plops inside. She could hear muffled cries, then silence. Alarmed, she ran to school, trying to push the vision away from her mind. At school, something even more disturbing was happening: people were falling into sacs on the ground. Turns out the sacs were filled with acid and sleeping gas. Strangely, Anaya, Petra, and Seth were again the only ones unharmed. This was not a coincidence, and all three of them knew it. Then, Anaya realized something crucial: the sacs were growing wherever people walked. This was where the black grass was growing. The plant itself was acting as if it had a mind of its own… One day, Anaya wakes up to a knock at the door. It was someone named Dr. Weber who had heard of Anaya, Petra, and Seth’s mysterious and unusual properties. Along with a counselor, Dr. Weber and the kids flew off in a helicopter to do some DNA tests and MRI scans. During the visit, Anaya, Petra, and Seth discuss their experiences starting from when the plant arrived on Earth. Turns out Anaya was turning into a kangaroo. Her legs were growing fur, she could jump so much higher in gym class, and her toenails were turning into hard, black claws. Petra was turning into an alligator: she was shedding skin and she was growing a tail. Finally, Seth was turning into a bird: wings with feathers had started to grow on his arms. Together, they came up with a conclusion: these traits were connecting them. Soon, they were going to discover the truth. Actually, it wasn’t long before Dr. Weber called them in for a meeting: there was something “private” that they needed to discuss. When the kids and Dr. Weber were alone, she kindly but firmly tells them that they are part cryptogenic. In other words: Anaya, Petra, and Seth are ½ alien, or they share ½ of their DNA with the black grass. This information motivates them even more to find the soil that kills the plant. Even better, the soil is in the hands of Anaya’s dad. So they take off in the helicopter to find him. Finally, they rescue Anaya’s dad and the soil is distributed around the world. Everything is back to normal now… or is it?

I rate this book 6.5 out of 5 stars for a number of reasons. My first reason is that there’s so much suspense and so many cliffhangers. Really, I finished this book in one sitting, then re-read it in two sittings. All three sittings were in a period of 24 hours. That’s how much I love this book. As with the book “Last Day On Mars” that I recently reviewed, this is a science fiction book. I love all science fiction books, but this tops the charts. Wait, no. That’s not what I meant. I meant that this is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK. That’s right. It’s not just my favorite science fiction book, it’s my favorite book. Period. And if I love this book, you should be 101% sure that you will love it too!

Note: This book is the first in its series. The second book is going to be reviewed as soon as I can. The third book doesn’t exist yet. If you were captivated by this review, stay tuned for the next book review!

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