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Comic Book / Bloom (2019)

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Bloom is a Young Adult Queer Romance graphic novel written by Kevin Panetta (writer of Zodiac Starforce) and illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau, published by First Second Books.

Ari has big music dreams; he yearns to escape his sleepy beach hometown and travel with his band after graduating high school, but he's stuck working at his family's bakery. Desperate to leave, he starts interviewing candidates for the job and meets Hector, a easy-going guy with a talent for baking. As Hector gets hired, he and Ari get closer and closer as they bake while Ari debates leaving everything behind or seeing where this thing with Hector goes - that is, if he doesn't ruin everything first.

Contains examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: Hector and Andrew broke up due to Hector not wanting to move to Portland with him but they seem okay just hanging out, even after Andrew tried to kiss him. Andrew doesn't even seem upset with Hector moving on to Ari.
  • Asian Airhead: Hanna, while bright, is also a ditz and highly excitable.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ari and Hector both to each at the end of the novel, after Ari apologizes for letting Hector take the fall for the fire at the bakery.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sourdough starter that Hector borrows from Ari’s parents. It’s the only sample left after the bakery burns down, which comes into play at the novel’s end.
  • Coming of Age Story: The story focuses on Ari becoming less cynical and bitter about having to stay behind working at his family's bakery and growing up and becoming a more loving individual and being who he is.
  • Commitment Issues: Hector is indicated to have this; having broken up with his ex Andrew due to him wanting him to move to Portland with him and subsequently calling him clingy. Later on, Hector leaves East Beach briefly to check on his family/friends in Alabama and he calls Ari clingy to his friends. It's his ex Andrew that reminds him he has that effect on people.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The comic is inked with black and white with a blue color palette.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Ari wants so badly to leave his hometown but he can't afford university and his music dreams start to look unlikely. He's left wondering what to do with the rest of his life, while resenting working at the bakery. Hector is this to a lesser extent, especially after his grandmother dies and he ended a relationship.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Bloom refers to the finish on a loaf of bread and to Ari and Hector's burgeoning relationship.
  • Fag Hag: Meg, for both Hector and Andrew.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: All throughout the book as Ari and Hector work together in the bakery and it's portrayed with Splash Panels.
  • The Friend No One Likes: Ari's band mate Cameron is a general jerkass, to the point where the other band members Jake and Hanna dislike his attitude and only deal with him because of the band. Lauren however starts dating him and Ari looks up to Cameron, much to the chagrin of the rest of the group.
  • Gayngst: Pointedly averted, it seems like everyone knows both Ari and Hector are gay and homophobia plays no role in the story.
  • Genki Girl: Hanna, who is bubbly and hyperactive.
  • Love Epiphany: After the fire, Ari moves in with Cameron and Lauren and is deeply unhappy. He moves back to East Beach to his parents and then confesses that the fire was an accident caused mutually and how much he misses Hector. Ari's father then says just how much Ari changed positively when meeting Hector and from there Ari realizes he's truly in love with him and has to make it up to him.
  • Nice Guy: Hector is jovial, friendly and positive.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Ari finally makes his move on Hector and they passionately make out in the kitchen, ignoring the stove and a fire breaks out, almost completely destroying the bakery. Hector takes responsibility and Ari lets him take the fall and Hector is then fired. Ari and Hector don't speak again until towards the end of the novel.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Ari is the Sensitive Guy, usually brooding or being very emotional. Hector is also sensitive but he's physically fit enough to work in bakery without much trouble and work with his hands.
  • Yoko Oh No: Cameron and Lauren grow closer, causing Jake to worry about this trope and specifically mentions Yoko Ono by name. The others then focus on how they actually like Yoko Ono. His fears turn out to be correct, Cameron and Lauren decide to make music together and from there end the band.