Francis is not well. He is pale, losing weight and perpetually getting nose bleeds. His mother is determined to find out what is wrong with him. When it is discovered what is wrong with Francis, his whole life changes.
In Bloom is heartbreaking and wonderful. It would be far too easy for me to say “if you liked The Fault in Our Stars or A Song for Jackson Dawes you will love this” – easy, but true. In Bloom is of the same ilk of novels focusing on the internal battles of being young juxtaposed with the external battles of a serious illness. However, what I can say is different about In Bloom is the wit a charisma with which it is written. It is very funny.
Matthew Crow has taken a very difficult topic and created a story with some lovely light moments and that should be celebrated. His characters are brilliant. From snarky teens to crazy mothers Crow has them all. The personal dynamics between the cast are brilliantly played out to help highlight the exhaustion of not only the main characters (those living with leukaemia – Francis and Amber) but of the family members (Francis and Ambers mothers’), how cages can be rattled due to the stress and worry of it all and how we can snap at the wrong people. Crow also finds the warmth that develops from these encounters and how people will pull together in times of crisis and sadness.
What I do love is that we are currently in a phase where YA literature is being released and at the heart of the books is a contentious and (oftentimes difficult) subject that is helping teach young readers not only empathy but also about life. Life is hard and scary and some things you cannot control. And sometimes bad things happen to good people. This is the over-riding feeling I got from reading In Bloom. So, basically, this book is brilliant and everyone should read it.
In Bloom by Matthew Crow is available now.
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