Bloom

( 190 )

Overview

There's a difference between falling and letting go.

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to...

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Bloom

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Overview

There's a difference between falling and letting go.

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?

But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in — and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce — Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Finely drawn, honest, sweet and charming, Bloom is like getting a beautifully wrapped gift — it's lovely to start with and just gets better as you tear into it."

— Michele Jaffe, author of Bad Kitty

VOYA - Rayna Patton
Conflicted and likeable characters add a smidgen of interest to a predictable teenage romance novel. Lauren's mother abandoned her family many years ago. Although she feels plain and unlovable, Lauren now has a perfect boyfriend, Dave. He is a wildly popular football star, good looking, kind, and devoted to her. Deeply religious, he has decided not to have sex before marriage. Lauren loves being his girlfriend but feels emotionally detached, and his church-focused family life seems rather dull. Lauren's father has had several relationships that ended badly since his wife left. Evan, son of one of his former girl friends, appears in Lauren's high school, and she is deeply attracted to him. Torn between the safety of Dave and her passion for Evan, Lauren initially lacks a confidante. Her father is absorbed in work, and her best friend, Katie, is focused on her own love affair. Even after Lauren commits to a sexual relationship with Evan, she hesitates to break with Dave. Eventually, however, her father is able to talk with her honestly and lovingly, and she finds the courage to level with Dave and Katie. Although Lauren wants to be a librarian, she appears not to have the slightest interest in or time for education. Commendably Lauren and Katie use contraceptives, although Lauren is a virgin for most of the book. It is a pleasant story with a happy ending, at least in the short term, and should be popular with many teenage girls.
KLIATT - Amanda MacGregor
Lauren's boyfriend Dave is one of the most popular boys in their high school. He plays football and baseball, gets great grades, is gorgeous and liked by everyone. While Lauren is the envy of the younger girls in school, the popular girls in Dave's circle never make her feel welcome. They can't figure out why Dave is dating her, and frankly, neither can Lauren. Dave thinks Lauren is the perfect girlfriend and that their relationship is wonderful. The reality is that they have little to talk about, almost never go out on dates, and hardly even kiss. Lauren wishes Dave would be more physical, but Dave's strong religious beliefs prohibit that. When Evan, someone from Lauren's past, starts at their school, Lauren knows she's in for trouble. She starts lying to Dave, her best friend, and her father so no one will know that she's spending time with Evan. She can be open and honest with Evan in a way she never has been with anyone else. For the first time in her life, she feels genuinely happy. But as her past begins to get in the way of her present, Lauren worries that she's becoming reckless. She'll have to decide if she's strong enough to let herself give into the feelings she's having. Lauren knows what she wants, but letting go of what she has may prove to be harder than she thought. Lauren is a refreshingly complex character. Her narrative voice is authentic, as is her struggle to find herself among everyone's expectations. Initially, Lauren comes off as distant, but as her story progresses and she slowly reveals more of herself to the reader, she quickly grows compelling and likable. Scott has created a pitch-perfect look at the life of one teenager just trying to figure out how to beherself.
VOYA - Angelica Delgado
Lauren is an avoider. She is content to float along in her life, careful not to upset the balance of things. She avoids talking to her father about why her mother left the family. She avoids telling her best friend, Katie, that she wants to discuss topics other than breath mints and nail polish. She avoids telling her hot boyfriend Dave that she wants to have sex with him. Enter-or rather reenter-her childhood friend Evan. Evan's reappearance throws Lauren's life into turmoil but serves as her wakeup call as well. She begins to question her relationships with her loved ones and confronts her problems. Scott's debut novel is both endearing and disappointing. Although the stream-of-consciousness prose expertly conveys the endorphin rush that accompanies first love (and lust), the novel neglects the other plot threads. Katie's unstable home life makes an intriguing appearance but is never elaborated. The book might leave some readers wanting a deeper exploration of the relationship between Lauren and her emotionally absent father or the repercussions of Lauren's infidelity. Other readers might devour the sometimes syrupy and repetitive descriptions of Lauren's feelings for Evan. Despite this less-than-perfect start, Scott's work deserves notice.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
In a style reminiscent of the work of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, Scott tells the story of Lauren, a not-so-popular high school junior who is dating the secretly celibate most popular boy in school. Without warning, Evan, the loner son of her distant father's former live-in girlfriend, returns to town and stirs up confusing emotions for Lauren, who once believed that a popular boyfriend was all she needed to secure happiness. Soon, she invents extra band-practice time as an excuse to avoid her boyfriend, her super-stressed best friend, and her empty house, and spends more time with the decidedly not celibate Evan. While the setup is fairly standard fare for YA romances, Lauren's inner conflict over her affair with Evan, and the various lies surrounding it, rings true, and the novel has enough drama to keep readers interested.
—Sarah KrygierCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416926832
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 5/8/2007
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 405,222
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn't even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She's sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn't want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.

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Read an Excerpt


I guess I kept hoping some kind of miracle would happen. It wasn't even like I was asking for a big one. I mean, I didn't want someone to come along and give me straight A's or perfect hair or anything. I just didn't want to take one lousy class. That's not too much to ask for, right?

A perfectly polished fingernail taps my schedule.

"Told you." Katie and her worry voice. I look up from my schedule -- it still has the stupid class listed, damn it -- and grin to show I'm okay.

"Lauren," she says, totally not buying it.

I shrug and fold my schedule up real small. I can still see the W in world history, though. I sigh and jam the whole thing in my bag, and then ask, "How many classes do you have with Marcus?"

"None. I thought we might have one, but then..." As she keeps talking, I glance over at her. She looks, as always, like she stepped out of a fashion magazine. This is because she gets up at quarter to five every morning. I don't know how she does it. Just thinking about trying to get up that early makes me sleepy.

"Mm," I say, because it's all that's required. A Marcus question guarantees at least five minutes when I don't have to do anything but nod and make vague agreeing noises. Katie's been going out with Marcus for six months now, and he is her entire world. When we first met we used to talk endlessly about how we'd get boyfriends and what we'd do when we had them, and it was only when we actually got boyfriends that I realized without the acquiring of them to talk about, we had absolutely nothing in common.

And that sucks, because Katie's my best friend.

I had a real honest-to-God best friend, Jane, until ninth grade, but then she moved away. At first we talked a lot, like everything was exactly the same even though it wasn't, and then we talked less, and when we did she'd mention people I didn't know and stuff she was doing that I wasn't part of. I'd make up stuff in reply, and before I knew it we weren't talking at all and the only thing I had going on was my volunteer job at the library. You have to do community service in order to graduate, and although most everyone does it at the very last minute, Jane and I had planned it all out before she left. A summer spent among books, but she left and there I was, shelving books and showing people how to use the Internet terminals. Alone.

That's how I met Katie. I'd seen her around but had never really spoken to her -- she was more popular than I was; not by a lot but enough so that me saying anything to her was out of the question -- but then she started working at the library, and we were shelving books together every day, and one afternoon she just started talking to me. She said she hated the library, and I said I did too, but the truth is I loved it. I love books. I like that the moment you open one and sink into it you can escape from the world, into a story that's way more interesting than yours will ever be. But I could tell Katie wasn't the kind of person you said stuff like that to, so I just asked about her nail polish instead.

After that we talked a lot. She said she was sick of hooking up with guys at parties and wanted a real boyfriend. I hadn't ever hooked up with anyone, much less been to the sort of parties Katie went to, but I wanted a boyfriend too. So we had that in common. Plus it turned out Katie's best friend had decided Katie was a phony and had dumped her in favor of hanging out with the kids who sit around writing awful poetry and calling everyone else shallow. Katie told me that the first time she slept over at my house. I remember she blinked a lot, and I could tell she was trying not to cry, and I knew exactly how she felt. That feeling of being left behind -- it sucks. I said those kids were all losers, and Katie grinned at me and asked if I wanted to skip out of work early the next day to go shopping. I didn't really want to; the new books had just come in, and I was going to get to scan them into the system and maybe set aside a couple for myself, but I knew what would happen if I said that. So I said, "Sure, let's go shopping," and we've hung out ever since.

"So what do you think I should do about it?"

I look at Katie, who is biting her lip. "Well," I say hesitantly, because I have no idea what she's talking about, "maybe it's not that big a deal."

"Lauren, he has two classes with Clara. Two. What if she decides she wants him back? What if she -- "

"He loves you," I tell her. And it's true. Marcus is totally crazy for her. Katie just worries because before he dated her, Marcus went out with Clara Wright, who is the goddess of Hamilton High and will never ever let anyone forget it. But Marcus and Clara weren't together that long, and besides, Clara is dating some college guy now. Everyone acts like this is a huge deal, but the way I figure it, what kind of college student dates a high school student other than the kind of college student who can't get anyone his own age to actually look at him? Last time I told Katie this she laughed for about ten minutes, but I don't think it would cheer her up this time.

"I know," she says. "I just -- not one class! I bet you and Dave have a bunch of classes together, right?"

"I don't know," I say without thinking.

"You don't know? Lauren! You mean you haven't even seen him yet? Why didn't you tell me?" She makes go-away motions, shooing me toward Dave's locker. Toward Dave, who turns to smile at me as if he's heard Katie say my name. For all I know, he probably has. I wouldn't put it past him to have superhearing or something.

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Dave is -- well, if you saw him you'd understand. He's perfect. And I don't mean that in a he's-my-boyfriend-so-I-have-to-say-that way. He really is perfect. For starters he's a football player, plus he plays baseball. His parents have a whole wall of shelves in their living room filled with trophies he's won. He's got colleges begging him to think about attending even though he's only a junior, and not just for all the sports stuff. His grades are insanely good too.

Also, he's gorgeous: blond hair, blue eyes, tall but not too tall, built but not totally muscle bound. He's so going to be homecoming king when we're seniors. Everyone has a crush on him. Everyone. Until I started dating him, I was a total nobody. But because of him, I'm somebody.

Well, almost. I'm almost somebody, I'm almost popular. And here's the thing about that: It sucks more than being unpopular because I don't fit in anywhere. I thought, when Dave and I first started going out, that people like Clara and those she allows to be her followers would maybe, just maybe, be friends with me. But it didn't work out that way. I could never think of anything to say to Clara that would get her to actually notice me long enough for one of her followers to decide I could be her follower, and then Katie started dating Marcus, which Clara took very personally because not only did Marcus not wither away and die after Clara broke up with him, he actually was, you know, happy. So I can sort of hang out with the popular kids if Dave is around, in the sense that I'm in the same place they are, and once in a while one of the girls will ask me where the beer is at a party or something, but that's it. And everyone else -- well, they talk about me as if I really am popular. I once walked in on two girls doing that in the bathroom. I could tell because they stopped talking and stared at me.

I said, "Go on, I don't mind," and smiled, and in a movie we would have all become best friends and started braiding one another's hair or something, but instead they just looked at me like I had eight heads. Later I heard them talking about me during lunch. They said I was a bitch and stuff like, "And then she acted like we needed her permission to talk about her!" and so that ended my attempts to be friends with anyone other than Katie.

I was really sad about it for a while. The worst kind of sad too, the kind where you know, deep down, that there's nothing you can do even though you wish you could. I even bought a ton of books with covers that promised stories about girls who seemed to be just like me. I figured maybe there'd be something in them to make me feel better. But they were all about so-called ugly losers who were actually really smart and funny (and quirky cute or even gorgeous to boot) and how the football star or mysterious new boy everyone wants or the best-friend-who-seems-kind-of-ugly-but-actually-really-isn't totally falls in love with them, and they go to the big dance or whatever and learn that it's what's on the inside that counts and crap like that.

I felt a lot worse after reading all those books because I'm not all that smart, and I'm not funny, and I'm not quirky cute or gorgeous. I'm average. Totally average. And worse, I got the football star and look where I am. Still not popular but yet somehow popular enough to be hated, and there was nothing in the books about that, about what to do if your absolute dream came true and yet you stayed you.

That's my problem. I'm...well, me. And yet I have a perfect boyfriend. Don't believe me? Okay, take how we started dating. Dave came up to me in the hall right after school started last year and asked me out in front of everyone. Seriously. That's what he did, and I just stood there, staring at him. I finally managed a nod, and I only got that out because Katie kicked me. And then we actually went out, and he did stuff like open my car door and ask if he could kiss me good night, and then e-mailed me when he got home to say he had a great time and when could he see me again? You can't get more perfect than that.

Even his family is perfect. They eat dinner together every night and do stuff like play board games. Board games! Plus his mom and dad are -- I swear I'm not kidding -- high school sweethearts, and he even has the most adorable little brother in the world, John. For the first two months we went out, I kept waiting for something to happen -- for Dave to turn out to be a drug addict, or to actually have like eight other girlfriends, or for him to realize he could do so much better than me -- but nothing did. Dave stayed sweet and charming, and at Christmas he gave me a gorgeous locket and told me he loved me as we stood outside while snow was gently falling all around.

See? Perfect. I know I'm totally lucky to have Dave, I do, and if I didn't, the six zillion looks I get when we walk down the halls together would remind me. Take now, for instance. When I get to his locker I can practically hear everyone around us looking and listening as Dave says, "Hey, Lauren," in a soft warm voice and pulls me close, pressing a gentle kiss to my lips.

Totally perfect. Except that, since we've been dating, the farthest we've ever gone happened two months after we started dating. We were at a party and I kept looking at him, wondering what he was doing with me because he could have anyone, and how and when it was all going to end. He noticed I looked worried, of course, and took me to a bedroom to talk. I waited -- pretty breathlessly, in all honesty -- for him to make a move, but instead he took my hands in his and said he was crazy about me. I said, "Why?" and he said, "Because the first time I noticed you, you were sitting at lunch, looking out a window, and the look on your face -- I don't know. I just wanted to hold you." I kissed him then, feeling alive, really alive, for what felt like the first time ever. He kissed me back, and then we were touching, and it was amazing.

And then we stopped. Or rather, he did. One minute he was unhooking my bra and the next he was pushing away from me. He said he was sorry, really sorry, and looked like he was going to throw up. I can't tell you how sexy I felt after that. I remember I buttoned my shirt, my hands shaking, and asked a question I'd been thinking about for a while, the one I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to.

"Are you gay?" I whispered.

I waited for him to say yes. I had this whole thing planned out where he would cry and I would be supportive and people at school would talk, but then they'd totally come around, and Dave and his boyfriend would walk hand in hand down the hall and Clara would be all "Lauren!" when she saw me and invite me to all of her parties, and I'd end up dating this amazingly cute and sensitive artist who'd just come to town but would stay because he'd fallen madly in love with me. But instead of saying yes, Dave said, "What?" like he'd never even heard the word gay before, and then I learned the truth.

Dave's religious. I mean, I already knew that he went to church -- it's just about the only thing to do in Hamilton on Sunday -- but that's not unusual or anything. But it's more than that for Dave. He looked at me for a second after he'd said, "What?" just staring at me, and then he started talking. He told me that he really wanted to live right, and that it was hard, but he thought it was worth it.

Of all the things I'd thought he'd say, that wasn't one of them. I mean, it's not like anyone at school goes around talking about this stuff, but you could just -- you could tell he was happy to talk about it. That he needed to talk about it. So I just sat there, stunned, and listened while he told me about his church and how he'd love it if I would come with him. I listened while he told me that he'd never really talked about what he believed with anyone he'd dated before, but that he was so glad he'd told me, that he knew I was special, that he knew I would understand how important his beliefs were to him.

I listened and nodded, and thought that here I was, in a bedroom with an amazingly hot guy, and what were we doing? Talking about going to church.

If this were one of those novels I'd read that made me feel like crap, Dave would have been gay.

Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth Spencer

Dave walks me to my first class, and we talk about our schedules. No classes together, but we do have the same lunch period. We're holding hands, and he strokes his thumb over mine, says he wishes we had all our classes together. He says he'll be thinking about me all morning and can't wait to see me at lunch. I lean into him a little because his voice sounds so good, and he smells so good, and really, he is gorgeous. He turns and puts a hand on my shoulder, very gently putting some space between us.

"And don't forget you promised to come see John's basketball game on Wednesday night," he says, and kisses me good-bye. I hear the freshman girls that are walking by sigh. Until me, Dave never dated a girl for more than two months. I used to be proud of the fact that people would look at us and wonder why he was still with me. I used to feel as special as Dave always says I am because I knew what mattered most to him. I was the girl he'd chosen to trust.

Now all I can think about is how every time we touch, he's always the first to pull away.

That's the thought that stays with me for most of the day.

My classes are all deadly boring except for music, which flies by because we're playing this great jazz piece that has a clarinet solo. Mr. Herrity lets me play it, and I roar through it, hitting all the notes perfectly. Well, most of them.

"Not bad," he says afterward, and I'm even happier after that because a "not bad" from Mr. Herrity is about the highest praise you can get.

I wash my hands really well after class, but when I meet Katie in the hall she hands me a tin of mints, and then pulls a tube of moisturizer that smells like strawberries from the depths of her purse. I swear, she has everything you could ever want in there.

"You know, it's not too late to have your schedule switched and take trigonometry," she says.

"Oh sure, because the C minus I got in geometry was a sign that I'm meant for advanced math classes."

"We'd get to take it together. We don't have any classes together, just lunch." I look over at her. She's chewing on her lip and looking down the hallway. "You're going to do fine. You've got a boyfriend who can do all your homework for you."

"Lauren!" she says, but she's smiling. Marcus is a total math genius. He doesn't talk about it much, but he's so good at it that instead of taking math here, he takes some awful-sounding class at the community college. Colleges like Stanford and MIT send him big glossy mailings. The only way I would get something from Stanford or MIT is if I were the last person of almost-college-age left on the planet.

The bell rings and I say, "Don't forget, I'll be done by five, okay?"

She nods. "Just meet me in the parking lot. And have fun with Axel."

I give her the finger, and she laughs and walks down the hall.

When I get to world history the classroom is full, and I look around, hoping to see at least one face I know. No, no -- wait. Yes. Over in the far corner is Gail. I'm surprised to see her. Gail's one of those people who always gets A's in everything, but then I remember she was in music with me last year. We've been in music class together for years; before I quit marching band we would sometimes sit together on the bus going to competitions and stuff. I think she plays the flute. I smile at her, and she looks around for a second, like she's checking to see if I'm smiling at someone else or something, and then hesitantly smiles back. I start to cross the room -- if I have to suffer through this damn class I might as well sit beside someone I sort of know -- but then Axel comes shuffling in.

Axel looks about eighty and has for, I kid you not, at least twenty years. I saw an old yearbook in the guidance office when I was trying to get out of this stupid class, and she looked exactly like she does now, right down to the brown skirt and brown shirt she's wearing. She teaches all the remedial history courses. How she manages to do this, I'll never know.

Actually, I guess I'll find out.

"We'll be sitting in alphabetical order," she barks in a surprisingly loud voice, and points at the last desk in the room. "Young, Shawn. Williams, Cynthia."

And then she just keeps going. At one point Jack Harris, who is repeating his junior year for at least the second time, tries to say something about how the alphabet doesn't start with Z, but she just keeps talking. A couple of people snicker at that, and Jack scowls and starts talking again. Loudly.

This time Axel doesn't keep talking. She just stands there, looking like a strong wind could blow her away, and listens to everything he has to say, most of which can be summed up as follows: "Fuck you."

When he's done, almost everyone laughs, and a couple of people start talking too. Jack looks pretty proud of himself. Then Axel says, "Well, Mr. Harris, thank you for that passionate speech. I'm only sorry it took up so much class time. I was going to give a quiz tomorrow, but now I can't because we're already behind. Therefore, you'll all have to receive F's for your first assignment, which is ten percent of your grade. If you have a problem with this, I suggest you take it up with Mr. Harris. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Vivnos, Maria."

Jack Harris shuts up after that, probably because of the repeating seniors that are glaring at him. Axel keeps calling out names as though nothing has happened.

I end up sitting in a row of people I don't know (lots of last names starting with S and R, the Os, Ps, and Qs -- not so much) because Gail's last name is Adams, which means she's going to be all the way on the other side of the room. Axel is still droning on, finishing up the Ms -- when I hear her say, "Kirkland, Evan."

My pen slides across my notebook page, a startled line, and I look at the desk across from mine, at the person who is sliding into it.

Kirkland, Evan.

He's slouched in his seat, feet stretched out in front of him. His hair is dark and longish, falling forward into his eyes, and I can see a long streak of black running up the side of one arm. At first I think it's a tattoo, but then I realize it's dirt or grease or something. There's a patch of it on his jeans too. His hands, resting on the desk, are red, his knuckles scraped, raw-looking, and his fingernails have been bitten down to the quick. And then he looks up, looks at me, and I quickly look away, my stomach knotting.

I haven't seen or thought about Evan Kirkland in years, but suddenly here he is, sitting right across from me.

My dad does real estate development. You know those big subdivisions you drive by, the ones that sell "luxury" homes? He makes them. Hamilton isn't much of a town, but it's near a highway that leads to Broad Falls, which is a huge town and has lots of people who move out here so they can have a really big house. Dad's done most of the subdivisions around here, actually. He designed our house, back when he was first starting out, and one of the few memories I have of my mother is her standing in front of the bay window in the sitting room (really just a fancy name for a room at the front of the house we never use) with her hands pressed against the glass. I remember she jumped when I said, "Mom?" and when she turned around to look at me, it was as if she didn't know who I was. I guess even then she was thinking about leaving.

She didn't; not then, but she did when I was six. Since then it's been me and Dad except for the times he's had a girlfriend and we all got to pretend we're a "family." Dad is not good with women, and all of his girlfriends have moved in and promptly moved right back out. The last one was Robin -- she was number four -- when I was thirteen. That relationship lasted a year before she left to go back to graduate school (and her old boyfriend). Before her was T'eanna, whose real name was Callie, but she'd just glare at you if you called her that. She was an actress. Dad asked her to move in when I was eleven and a half. She moved in three days after the last girlfriend left, and moved out two days before Robin moved in, although the perfume she wore lingered in the house for about six months afterward. Before her was Sally, whom I hated. She called me "buttercup," which I also hated.

And before her was Mary, whom Dad met the summer I was eight.

I'd been at camp since school let out, and I remember I was so glad to be going home. I'd been afraid something would happen to Dad or that he wouldn't come get me, but he did and even said he had a surprise for me. "Are you ready?" he asked, and when I nodded he said, "We're going to be a family again!"

For a second -- one crazy stupid second -- I thought he meant Mom had come back. That she'd decided she missed us, that she'd thought about Dad, about me, and wanted to be with us. But then Dad said, "Her name is Mary and, Lauren, you're going to love her," and that was the end of that.

Dad met Mary at a conference the first day I started camp. She was handing out flyers for motivational tapes. He stopped to chat, and two weeks later she moved in. He talked about her all the way home, how she understood him and how much he liked her, and then, right as we were pulling into the driveway, he told me he had another surprise. "She has a son, and he'll be living with us too!" he said, like he'd bought me a pony, and I burst into tears just as the front door opened.

That's when I met Evan.

He and Mary came out of the house hand in hand; Mary smiling big and bright and Evan standing solemn-faced, looking at the car. I was still crying. Dad waved at them and told me, "Come on, sweetheart, don't cry. We're going to be one big happy family!"

I don't think I need to tell you that never happened. The thing about family, that my dad still hasn't learned, is that you can't force it. He's tried five times, and every time it's been a disaster.

Dad and Mary's relationship was good for about three months. Mary cut back on her hours with the motivational tape company so she could "be around for everyone." We did all kinds of stuff together; trips to the park, to the mall, even grocery shopping, and at first the little fights she and Dad had were just laughed off. Then they started saying in too-cheerful voices, "Well, we'll talk about it later." Talking about it later eventually ended in screaming matches punctuated by icy silences that lasted for days.

Evan and I avoided each other the first few weeks, only making mumbled conversation when forced to during dinner. But then one night Dad said, "Lauren, honey, will you pass the rolls to Evan? He didn't eat one," and Evan said, "I said I didn't want any earlier," at the same time I said, "He already said he didn't want any," and after that we got along.

By the time things with Dad and Mary got really bad, I knew that Evan's favorite book was the same as mine, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, that he hated cola but loved cherry cola, and that his father had died in a car accident when he was four. He knew I would eat chocolate ice cream for every meal if I could, that I hated bees, and that my mother had left and hadn't called or written or anything. Not even a card on my birthday.

We were friends. I can still remember the way he would look at me while I was talking, as if what I was saying was interesting. Not even Mary did that. Heck, not even Dad did that -- and he still doesn't. I remember how Evan cried the time we found a bird's nest in the yard, the mother bird's body on the ground, mangled by a cat, and he tried to save the eggs. They never hatched. And when I wrecked my bike while riding lazy loops around the driveway, listening to Dad and Mary talk tensely through an open window, he helped me inside, got bandages, and took the blame when Mary wanted to know who'd tipped their bike into the shrubs she'd just planted.

We fought too, don't get me wrong. He hogged the computer and accused me of always picking crappy television shows to watch. I teased him about his hair -- it was like a girl's, really shiny and really soft -- but I secretly wished my own was like it, that dark and that pretty. I never said that, of course. He teased me about my eyes, which are, I admit, a little strange. They're gray; light gray, just like Mom's were. And still are, I guess. But after every fight we had, one of us would always say sorry. Always. Dad and Mary never did that.

In the end, they didn't last very long. After those first three months we limped through Christmas and my birthday and a disastrous Valentine's Day when Mary sat in the kitchen waiting for Dad until two in the morning, snapping when either of us asked what was going on. Evan's birthday was a month away, the day he and Mary left. I remember it was marked on our kitchen calendar. She'd packed up all their stuff in boxes, and Dad hollered that there'd better not be anything missing. Mary's face turned red, and she stared at him like he'd hit her. Evan yelled, "Shut up! Don't talk to my mom that way!" and then ran out of the room, out of the house. I looked out the window and saw him sitting in Mary's car.

I went into the hallway, and all his things were in boxes too: the shoes my dad insisted on buying Evan the week he was trying to impress Mary with how generous he was (and to make up for getting home late every single night), the white shirt he had to wear when we all went to get a "family" picture taken. The picture was still in the living room, waiting to be framed and hung. The yelling got even louder, and Mary was crying. I went up to my room and got the Narnia books Dad had given me for my birthday, a fancy boxed set that Evan had stared at longingly when I'd opened it. I went downstairs and stuffed it at the bottom of one of Evan's boxes, and then ran back upstairs.

When I looked out the window again, Mary was backing her car down the driveway in a hurry, pausing only to clip the mailbox before she pulled onto the road. Her tires left black marks on the street. They were there for a long time.

In the end she had one thing in common with Mom. She couldn't leave fast enough either.

I haven't seen Evan since that day. I asked Dad about him once, a few months after he and Mary left, and he said, "Who?" and then, "Oh, yes. Evan. He's fine, honey. Perfectly fine." It wasn't news to me that grown-ups could lie, but the fact that Dad could forget someone he claimed was family only a few months earlier made me feel awful. Scared. I didn't ask about Evan again.

I found out what happened, though. Mary moved to Florida -- I saw the postmark on a letter she sent Dad that he wouldn't let me read but was dumb enough to throw away without shredding. That letter was how I found out about Sally, who was girlfriend number two and moved in soon after, but that's another story and I can't even remember it because I glance over at Evan again and he's looking at me. He has really dark eyes. He looks like he never smiles. I push my pen across my notebook and try to listen to Axel bark about the Persians.

Copyright © 2007 by Elizabeth Spencer

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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(121)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 192 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable read.

    Lauren is stuck in a relationship with the perfect guy, Dave, but is afraid to end it and escape. By meeting Evan, she realises that Dave isn't what she wants, and that she's not her real self when she's with him. The message I got from this, which I think is really important, is to make the right decision for yourself, and not worry about what someone else is going to say, think or do.
    I picked up Bloom not recalling anything about the plot, but just remembering that I was drawn to the cover and had heard a lot of positive comments about its author Elizabeth Scott. The book held me from beginning to end. It was easy to identify with Lauren's attempts to try to do what was right without turning into something that she was not. While she was not proud of all of her actions along the way, she tried to come to terms with complex feelings and thoughts that are deep rooted to her childhood.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    OUTSTANDING!

    I loved this book so so SO much! I love what Lauren has with Dave, but I love what she has with Evan even more. Will she chose to be with her amazing, perfect, football-playing Dave, or old friend, fun, and loving Evan? You just have to read and find out! :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Elizabeth Scott's BLOOM - an amazing read

    This book was great. It is about a girl named Lauren Smith who has to deal with a lot of things like her school, keeping her grades up, music class, mother's abscence, her father's ways, a best friend that doesn't seem like one, trying to be popular, trying to fit in, and trying to be perfect for her religious, perfect, goodlooking, smart boyfriend, who wants sex to wait until marriage. All of Lauren's worries intensify when Evan Kirkland comes into the picture, the son of one of Lauren's father's girlfriend, whom lived with them. As Lauren and Evan start sharing their feelings of love, Lauren is stuck to choose between many things she might not be able to handle. I recomend this book for those who like books that are real, that can handle the truth, not those who like happy endings. Again, this book was great and had so many different feelings. Scott did an amazing job in BLOOM! If you like book, I suggest reading THE UNWRITTEN RULE. Also a good book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bloom

    Bloom is a charming, beautiful novel about the wonders of first love.
    Lauren's voice is truly honest, and candid; no character is like her; she marches to the beat of her own drum and shines brilliantly. Scott has a very inventive, bold voice in the YA community. Her stories are always perfectly written and charming. Each one is different, and yet they all manage to tug on your heartstrings until you feel you will combust with the pleasurable outcome in each ending.

    Lauren's seemingly perfect life changes abruptly when an old friend, Evan Kirkland, returns to town. Her perfect (literally), and charming boyfriend, Dave doesn't seem so perfect next to quiet, mystifying, Evan. She realizes she's been holding back, because of Dave's strong beliefs: Beliefs about school, college, and their 'life' and 'future' together. Lauren realizes that his life, her life, and each one of their beliefs are totally different, and as she starts falling for Evan, she denies herself. She refuses to act on her feelings for Evan, instead opting to be the perfect girlfriend to her perfect boyfriend. But no matter how hard she tries to fit herself into the mold, eventually her true feelings will come into light.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another amazing book by Elizabeth Scott

    Elizabeth Scott does not disappoint. I had read all her books, except Bloom and when I went to Barnes and Noble and saw it I just knew I had to get it. I went home and started reading and could not stop! It was such a great book. I would recommend this to anyone who loves books by Elizabeth Scott. They will not be disappointed. I thought Lauren was a very realistic character, and I feel that many girls can relate to her. The one thing I did not like is that it took her a while to decide what she was going to do about Dave. But other than that I absolutely loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    good and bad at the same time

    Lauren is a disaster and perfection at the same time. the bad part is her mom left,and now she lives with her dad and his passing girlfriends.the good parts are that she has a great best friend and about as perfect a boyfriend as anyone could ever imagine. but she finds it hard to believe that Dave could have ever fallin' her when he could have anyone he wanted.Dave is religious and tries really hard not to give in and do things with her that he shouldn't.after a while Lauren wants more. so when Evan(the son of her dad's old girlfriend)moves back she moves herself closer to him. she's finding him to be more of what she wants.she puts herself in a situation where someone has to get hurt here, and she has to decide who.

    this book i have to say actually disappointed me a lot.in the book Lauren doesn't quite appreciate all that she has.it was kind of depressing because of the way the main character takes everything she has for granted and looks for better things without a lot of guilt or consideration of anyone's feelings but her own.it has good romance but i didn't like the feeling this book gave me.Overall I'd describe the book as selfish.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    there's a diffrence between falling and letting go. Lauren has a good life : she is pretty smart girl descent grades great friends and a boyfreiend every girl lusts for so why is she unhappy?

    There's a difference between falling and letting go. Lauren has a good life: she is pretty smart girl with descent grades great friends and a boyfriend every girl lusts after so why is she unhappy? It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer. She has been denying herself a bunch of things like staying with his loyal and gorgeous boyfriend which of course seems like a good thing to do. After all who would give up a perfect boyfriend like Dave?
    Laurens outside appearance of happiness is in total contrast of the inner turmoil that she faces daily. This story takes place in a very important place which which is at Hamilton High School where all of Laurens friends go to and of course his boyfriend Dave And Evan Whom Laurens really likes, Laurens comes off as a justifiable mixed up girl who is desperately trying to figure out her next move. For happiness As Dave Laurens boyfriend starts talking more and more about their life together and planning their future together Lauren simply can't see herself in. Lauren is craving for Evan Moreover who Lauren really likes. Soon she realizes she has to make a choice before one is made for her.
    Loved the central premise of this book -the way that many relationships are not what there seem on the surface, both for Lauren and the supporting characters. Really enjoy reading this book. There were lots of things I liked about bloom, but overall this book was a good book I can't wait to read Elizabeth Scotts other book Called Stealing Heaven. I'm hoping this book I'm reading is even better than bloom,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    This is a fantastic first novel in a very original, clear voice. The heroine, Lauren, is a lot more three-dimensional and flawed than most YA main characters are allowed to be, but this ulimately makes her more sympathetic, not less. Although this focuses on Lauren's first real love, to my mind the best part of the book is her relationship with her distant, commitment-phobic dad. Neither father nor daughter is good at showing the other affection, but the love between them still ultimately manages to shine. Great read. I will be excited to check out Elizabeth Scott's next novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2014

    This was a very amazing book that just makes you want to keep re

    This was a very amazing book that just makes you want to keep reading. Lauren is an average girl that has a basically perfect boyfriend with a perfect life, but unlike him Lauren has had a sad past with her parents divorce. She meets a boy named Evan that seems rough and lonely, but hes part of her past and they soon enough fall in love. This book is a humorous, love story that any teenager girl would love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Emma

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Nursery

    Nursery

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    Awesome.

    This was an awesome book. It really shows that you need to choose what is right for yourself, and not just to please others. And that when you love someone, everything else falls into place.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Great! Must read:)

    I was surprised by how much i enjoyed this book, i havent gotten this hooked on a book since i read the hunger games.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Amazin!!!!!

    I loved this book so much. This is my first book by this author and I definitely will be reading more by her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    This is the second book I've read from Elizabeth Scott and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She made me fall in love with Evan, and that's why I love reading. I love to fall in love with a good book. I love that Lauren has real flaws and reminded me of me when I was in high school.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Don't Believe the Hype

    This book isn't that great. I thought it would be a lot better thanks to the reviews of all the readers who 'loved' this book. Don't waste your time or your money.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 1, 2011

    Great

    This was a really good book. One of Elizabeth Scotts best. I really liked Evan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 31, 2011

    Bad

    Terrible book, even worse ending. All about a spoiled girl who goes through the books cheating and breaking hearts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book

    Ms.Scott is another author I love to read! Her books are always life changing and have something significant you can always take away from. In this book., we the reader, discover Lauren. A teenager who is looking for something more. Aren't we not?

    I loved the characters in this book. I like how real Lauren is. I like how she wants more to her life than what she is living now. I think we need to make mistakes in order to get to the place where we need to be. To grow not only in life but in ourselves. As Lauren begins to see that, her life is being map out for her, she breaks out of it, saying what she wants. I loved that Lauren is strong enough to say no and to say what she wants instead of going with the crowd.

    The plot line of this book is good. I like how Lauren grew before the readers eyes and became more. I can say that she "Bloomed" into herself. As the plot line goes deeper into the story, we see other things bloom in front of Lauren eyes. She learns more about relationships and what they really mean. Even her father is a little surprised of how quickly his daughter grew to be mature young woman.

    I like this book cause of the growth in it. Lauren learns so much and isn't who she thought she is. She is more and wants more. Ms.Scott wrote an great coming of age story about a girl who blooms into herself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Bloom!!!! a muuuussssttt read!!!

    Wow elizabeth scott has just done it again. She is such a ghreat author especially when it comes to romancwe. in his book,lauren was afraid 2 end a tealtionship with the "perfect guy" but then came evan. evan a old childhood friend made her realize that maybe david wasnt really what she wanted. sure he was great and popular but is that what she REALLY wanted??? so when she meets evan things start to chage. her feelings for evan begin to grow and then she has to make a choice. David or evan. I really realy enjoyed this book. i swear it was awesome. and yes its a romantic story. so if u are a sucker for love stroies like me then this is totally for you. but on the other hand if you get sick from all that sappy stuff and all those i love yous then this is not for you. and once again i want 2 say that elizabeth scott did a great job...especially by describing the charecters and their personalities. you could aCTUALLY feel what the charecter felt. after i read this book i too felt like i was madly in love with evan and im pretty sure i was head over heels with him just like lauren was. no joke...even though he's a fictional charecter i seemed to actuqally think and daydream about him. so bottom line an AMAZING read!!! keep up the good work ElizBETH scott!!!!! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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