Girl dates boy. Boy likes girl. Girl likes other boy. Drama ensues.
So goes the basic storyline of Elizabeth Scott's debut novel, BLOOM. But watch out, readers, there's a bit more heft to the story than meets the eye.
Seventeen-year-old Lauren appears to be a typical teen queen bee. She's popular, she's pretty, and she's dating Dave, the cutest boy in school. Her best friend, Katie, is dating Marcus, Dave's best bud, and the four make an enviable team --- or so it seems.
It turns out that Lauren is on the fence about her life these days, and she doesn't know quite what to do about it. She's tired of going home to an empty house --- what with her father practically living at the office after screwing up yet another relationship (her mom left them a long time ago). She is exasperated by Katie's inane banter (usually involving shopping or nail polish or Marcus). Worst of all, she's beyond exhausted with appearing "perfect."
The more time she spends with all-American Dave and his cookie-cutter family, the more she realizes that she's not the person he thinks she is. She doesn't want to go to college close to home so she can be with him; she loathes the idea of having sex with him (he's more religious than most, hence the chastity); and she longs to connect with a boy who she can actually be real with and passionate about, rather than be seen as some adored girl on a pedestal.
So, when bad boy Evan Kirkland shows up at school after a long absence, Lauren is beyond shocked. Especially because he's the son of one his father's ex-girlfriends --- and super hot. When he and Evan eventually reconnect, the sparks are undeniable and Lauren must choose between going after her unfulfilled desires with Evan and staying safe (and bored) with Dave.
What makes BLOOM so readable is Scott's focus on picking apart Lauren's personality to get at the motivations behind her actions. Instead of a mere stock character, Lauren comes off as a justifiably mixed-up girl who is desperately trying to figure out her next move. Her affair with Evan is despicable but somehow understandable and, given her confused state, a necessary step to figuring out what's right.
Scott also makes sure that Lauren's character is not perfect, but quite fallible. She shows the parts of Lauren that haven't quite grown up yet --- mainly, her propensity for making assumptions without really knowing the full story --- and fully flushes out her maturation process (hence the title, "Bloom").
There are times when Scott fixates on the idea of being "perfect" too often and other sections where Lauren's interior monologues seem repetitive. These quibbles aside, BLOOM marks the arrival of a fresh new talent.
Reviewed by Alexis Burling on April 24, 2007
- Publication Date: April 24, 2007
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- ISBN-10: 1416926836
- ISBN-13: 9781416926832