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Bloom
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Bloom
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"The perfect book right now for young readers searching for hope, strength, inspiration — and just a little horticultural havoc."—New York Times The first book in a can't-put-it-down,...
"The perfect book right now for young readers searching for hope, strength, inspiration — and just a little horticultural havoc."—New York Times The first book in a can't-put-it-down,...
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Description-

  • "The perfect book right now for young readers searching for hope, strength, inspiration — and just a little horticultural havoc."—New York Times
     
    The first book in a can't-put-it-down, can't-read-it-fast-enough action-thriller trilogy that's part Hatchet, part Alien!

    The invasion begins—but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout—overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom—and release toxic pollens. They bloom—and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom—everywhere, unstoppable.

    Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies—and yet not to these plants. What's their secret? Can they somehow be the key to beating back this invasion? They'd better figure it out fast, because...

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    chapter one

     

    Anaya

     

    Anaya woke up, blind. 

    With a sigh, she touched her fingertips to her eyelids. Glued shut. She sat up in bed and sneezed seven times in a row. The inside of her nose was granular with dried snot. She stood and expertly felt her way to the bathroom. She found the stack of washcloths by the sink, and turned on the hot water. The first few times she’d woken up like this, she’d freaked out. By now she was used to it, especially at the height of spring allergy season. Patiently she held the moist, warm cloth against each eyelid in turn, melting away the gunk. She slowly pried her eyes open and stared blearily into the mirror.

    “Where have you been all my life, you thing of beauty?” she said to her reflection.

    Her face was puffy around her eyes. Normally, she thought her eyes were one of her best features, but right now they looked piggy. The end of her nose was chafed and flaky from blowing it all the time. To jazz things up just a little more, a new bouquet of pimples had blossomed across her skin.

    The fading echo of a headache pulsed in her skull, and reminded her of last night’s dream. It was one she’d had many times. She’d been running really fast, and it was exhilarating, even if it did always seem to leave her with a headache. 

    She opened the crammed medicine cabinet. Special cleansers and ointments for her acne, extra puffers for asthma, plastic vials of monster pills for her allergies. She slugged back two. This was definitely a two-pill day. 

    Anaya started to wash her face, then stopped. What was she doing? She wanted to look as rough as possible. She should’ve left at least one eye glued shut. 

    She dragged herself down to the kitchen, trying to shamble like a hunchback. With her nose plugged up, it was pretty hard to smell anything—but she could definitely smell the toast. She imagined a piece of thin, crisp bread with just a swipe of butter, and some marmalade soaking into the glistening surface. She loved toast—before she became allergic to practically half the food on earth. 

    Mom was already in her uniform, loading her breakfast things into the dishwasher. 

    “I can’t go to school,” Anaya said. 

    Her mom turned. “Sweetie . . .” 

    “Can you please just call the school?” 

    “We let you skip two days last week. Technically, you’re not even sick.” 

    Anaya pointed at her face. “If I walked into a hospital, they’d have me in the ICU in two seconds.” 

    Mom laughed softly, then came close and brushed Anaya’s long, wavy hair away from her face. “You’re lovely.” 

    “My skin’s volcanic!”

    “They don’t see your acne, they see you.”

    “Only if they have X-ray vision!” 

    Mom had no idea. She’d always been beautiful, and she was still the most glamorous mom Anaya had ever seen. Just look at her, tall, slim, raven hair spilling over the crisp collar of her white shirt with the epaulets: four stripes, the only female captain flying for Island Air. Lilah Dara—even her name was pretty. When she put on her sunglasses and bomber jacket, she made a pilot’s uniform look like Paris fashion. 

    Meanwhile, Anaya was shorter; she definitely had Dad’s sturdier body type. She didn’t mind that—what she minded was her acne, and not being able to make it through class without having an asthma attack, and feeling generally feeble. 

    “Are you using...

About the Author-

  • KENNETH OPPEL is one of the most highly regarded authors of middle-grade fiction writing today. Some of his best-known titles are Inkling, The Nest, Airborn, a 2005 Printz Honor Book, and Silverwing. Find him online at www.kennethoppel.ca and @KennethOppel.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 6, 2020
    In the aftermath of a hard rain, everything changes for three teens living on small Salt Spring Island near Vancouver. Petra, allergic to water, discovers that her body does not react to the rain, while Anaya, usually allergic to nearly everything else, experiences alleviated symptoms. Meanwhile, unknown, fast-growing, nigh unkillable grass overruns the farm where newcomer Seth lives with his latest foster family. As strange quickly turns to horrifying and the black grass begins taking over the island and appearing globally, the teens begin undergoing physical changes that link them to the plants—and may make them the only ones capable of fighting back. Oppel (Inkling) steadily adds new horrors, potently escalating the story’s pace, stakes, and anxiety as the plants crowd out food crops, explosively release allergy-causing pollen, and begin exhibiting carnivorous tendencies. The teens’ alternating narration develops each character while continually reframing their relationship and the evolving crisis. While elements of the story will be familiar to fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Wilder Girls, the invading plants’ grim and efficient ways of challenging human dominance are effectively unsettling. Terrific momentum makes the abrupt ending jarring but should create anticipation for the sequel. Ages 10–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2020
    When a worldwide rain results in alien plant life taking over the Earth, three Canadian teens are the only ones strong enough to resist the invasion. Anaya, Seth, and Petra have always felt different from their peers on their British Columbia island. Anaya has severe allergies that give her acne and perpetual congestion. Seth is a foster child with scars running up and down his arms. Although pretty and popular, Petra is allergic to water. None of the teens think much about the others until strange black plants begin sprouting all over town after a day of heavy rain--that somehow doesn't trigger Petra's water allergy. When the plants turn carnivorous, Petra, Anaya, and Seth are the only ones able to withstand their strange perfumes and their acidic interiors, and they realize they must have something more in common. And then Anaya's botanist father reveals that the plants came from another planet--and they are in the process of colonizing the Earth. In this fast-paced thriller, Oppel spins a richly drawn, incredibly fascinating world. Beginning with the brilliantly unique premise of a botanical alien invasion, the plot unravels satisfyingly, building readers' curiosity by creating 10 new questions for every answer given. The book's one significant weakness is its lack of diversity. Other than Anaya, whose name implies she might be South Asian, the other characters present white. A thrilling alien-invasion novel based on a chillingly nefarious premise. (Science fiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2020

    Gr 5-7-A phenomenal kickoff to an enthralling trilogy. Anaya and Petra were once best friends but after a falling out, Petra became one of the beautiful, popular girls and Anaya descended into self-doubt and acne due to her debilitating allergies. Seth has been placed in another foster home and even though he really likes his new foster parents, he is struggling to fit in as a new kid on tiny Salt Spring Island. The teens are suddenly thrown together when rain drenches their home for several days. Immediately after the rain, strange black pointy plants appear all over the island. Anaya's Dad, who is a botanist with the Ministry of Agriculture, discovers that all over the world, strange black plants are popping up. No one can get the plants to stop growing, and then they develop long snakelike vines. The vines grow quickly and literally choke everything else-including humans. Scientists and military leaders around the world race to discover the origins of these predatory plants, eventually coming to the conclusion that they are alien; aliens that are determined to take over Earth. With the clock ticking, a newscast reveals Anaya, Petra, and Seth rescuing some friends on the playground from giant pods that have grown underground. An observant scientist realizes the teens are not affected by the plants that emit a sweet smelling sleepy gas and spit acid. Eventually, the trio discovers a secret trait that renders them unique, and maybe inhuman. Their various reactions to their new identities are realistic and relatable as the witty, engaging teens grow in confidence and develop tender bonds in order to survive this catastrophic attack. Nonstop action will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. The conclusion is especially powerful, delivering an overwhelming roller-coaster ride of relief and horror. VERDICT An edge-of-your-seat, apocalyptic alien plants versus heroic hybrid teens adventure. Recommended for all young science fiction collections.-Julie Shatterly, W. A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 1, 2020
    Grades 7-10 Oppel (Every Hidden Thing, 2016) gives new significance to the term invasive species when predatory alien plant life infests Earth in this fast-paced sf thriller and series opener. First, the rains come, soaking the entire world in a three-day downpour. Then, strange plants grow with incredible speed, ruining crops and poisoning water. When they bloom, everyone develops severe allergies, but the plants don't just make the environment hostile; they lure, trap, and digest people, too. Three teens on an island near Vancouver are immune to this botanical massacre; in fact, they feel healthier than ever, and their bodies are adapting to this new environment. Drawn together, Anaya, Petra, and Seth must discover their connection to the invasion if they are to have any hope of stopping it. Oppel smartly grounds the story in the lives of these teens and their families to personalize the world-ending stakes, and his creative extrapolation of real plant behavior in the design of his carnivorous species is fascinating. Wilderness survival and alien invasion combine for an exciting page-turner.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Wall Street Journal "What a story! Kenneth Oppel has written a thriller so exciting that the pages might well have been printed with adrenaline."
  • New York Times "The book rockets off, and Oppel never eases up on the gas."
  • School Library Journal, starred review "A phenomenal kickoff to an enthralling trilogy. The conclusion is especially powerful, delivering an overwhelming roller-coaster ride of relief and horror."
  • Booklist "Wilderness survival and alien invasion combine for an exciting page-turner."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Action-thriller led by three characters whose backstories continue to unfurl with intriguing detail... will leave readers satisfied."
  • Jonathan Auxier, author of The Night Gardener "In this fast-paced thriller, Oppel spins a richly drawn, incredibly fascinating world. Beginning with the brilliantly unique premise of a botanical alien invasion, the plot unravels satisfyingly, building readers' curiosity by creating 10 new questions for every answer given. A thrilling alien-invasion novel based on a chillingly nefarious premise."
  • The Globe and Mail "BLOOM is a lightning-paced adventure that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go. This book is ridiculously fun ... and by 'fun' I mean terrifying!"

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    Random House Children's Books
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