4.6 167
by Sharon Creech

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The kidnappers are actually her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max, but that doesn't matter to Domenica Santolina Doone, better known as Dinnie. She feels as if she's being taken out of the country against her will. Certainly no one asked her opinion. Dinnie is used to change-with her family constantly moving from state to state while her

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The kidnappers are actually her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max, but that doesn't matter to Domenica Santolina Doone, better known as Dinnie. She feels as if she's being taken out of the country against her will. Certainly no one asked her opinion. Dinnie is used to change-with her family constantly moving from state to state while her father searches for one new "opportunity" after another. But when her aunt and uncle whisk her away to an international school in Lugano, Switzerland, Dinnie feels that this might be one "opportunity"that isn't right for her.

Suddenly Dinnie's surrounded by kids from many different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. Home, and her first life, seem so far away. Can she adapt to a new country, a new home, and new friends? Or will it just be easier to close herself off-just survive-and never realize all the "bloomabilities" that are possible?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Creech makes use of "a light first-person narrative and some insightful dream flashes," to convey an uprooted 13-year-old's coming of age, said PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Dinnie Doone has spent most of her twelve years living like a gypsy with a n'er do well father, her mother the dreamer, and emotionally upset siblings. She is suddenly pulled from this existence to spend a year at a posh Swiss boarding school run by her aunt and uncle. Lugano, her international classmates, and her new sense of permanence are a shock to the system. During an idyllic year that any adolescent might covet, Dinnie skis, climbs mountains, and learns to bloom. Creech does great kids and dialogue. She also conveys a nice sense of place and of Dinnie's role within this place while trying to work out where she truly belongs.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In Sharon Creech's Bloomability (HarperCollins, 1998), Domenica Santolina Doone, known as Dinnie, finds herself far from home and among strangers. At the beginning of this first person narrative, Dinnie tells us she has been kidnapped and taken to Switzerland by her aunt and uncle. It is an "opportunity," but in Dinnie's nomadic family, "opportunity" is a loaded word that means you may have to pick up and leave at any moment. Suddenly Dinnie has some stability, but at the same time everything is strange and she is not sure where to turn. Creech, through Dinnie's voice, makes the theme fresh and interesting. Actress Bonnie Hurren makes Dinnie's family, friends, and humor come alive. We follow along as she makes new friends, learns Italian, and waits anxiously for letters from home. Dinnie has great adventures in Switzerland. At her uncle's boarding school, she meets a cross section of American, Asian, Middle Eastern and European students. Hurren does an especially good job providing voices for Dinnie's two aunts and their hilarious postcards. Dinnie's blooming and self-discovery are realistic and enjoyable. This audiobook will appeal mostly to girls.-Suzanne Libra, Huron Middle School, Northglenn, CO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Nancy Bond
Thirteen-year-old Domenica Santolina Doone-Dinnie-is used to being a stranger. She and her family have moved many times, all over the United States, following her father in search of great opportunities. Dinnie is given her own great opportunity, whether she wants it or not, when her aunt and uncle take her to Lugano, Switzerland. Her uncle has been appointed headmaster of the American School and Dinnie is to be a pupil. For her, the year is one of "bloomability" (a word coined by a Japanese fellow student meaning "possibility"). In the beginning, she dreams of herself in a bubble, looking out at the world; gradually, her dreams change as, reluctantly at first, she allows experiences, diverse new friends, and unexpected and challenging ideas to enter through the pores in this bubble, pushing its walls further and further out. Dinnie says, "I'd always felt as if I were in a sort of suspension, waiting to see how things worked, waiting to see who I was and what sort of life I might lead." Creech surrounds her with a lively, sympathetic, often amusing cast of adult and adolescent characters, and Dinnie herself is an appealing narrator. It's Dinnie's own family, still wandering the U.S. while she's in Switzerland, who don't fully come to life. Dinnie's attachment to and homesickness for them is talked about rather than truly felt, and her two aunts, Grace and Tillie, with their repeated postcard messages, become tiresome. AlthoughBloomability itself feels less unified than the author's previous books, at the end Creech links them when she sends Dinnie "home" for the summer to Bybanks, Kentucky, a town already familiar to her readers. nancy bond Cynthia DeFelice The Ghost of Fossil Glen
--Horn Book
Katherine Sojourner
Another title from this wonderful "young adult" author who clearly knows how to touch the hearts of young girls. Dinnie, whose family moves constantly, is unsettled when relatives want to take her to school in another country where she knows nothing about the language, customs or the culture. While struggling to find something familiar, she discovers all the "bloomabilities" life has to offer her.
Kirkus Reviews
Creech (Chasing Redbird, 1997, etc.) plies the threads of love and loss, separation and belonging, into another deeply felt novel; while it is no sin for a writer to repeatedly explore such themes, a certain sameness is descending upon her books. Dinnie Santolina, 13, loves her family, even though her father is always in search of the next irresistible opportunity and her mother is happy to follow him. But when brother Crick finally gets into enough trouble to go to jail and sister Stella comes home at 16 both married and pregnant, Dinnie finds herself quite suddenly in Switzerland, where Uncle Max is the new headmaster at an international American school. Dinnie has had a lot of experience being the stranger, but here, with her warm and charming aunt and uncle, and among students of many nationalities, she explores the meaning of home through her dreams, the mountains, forests, and towns near Lake Lugano, and a curriculum where her classmates decide that thinking really is homework. She becomes friends with Lila, whose erratic behavior mirrors even more erratic parents, Keisuke, whose fractured English paints word-pictures ("bloomable" for possible), his Spanish girlfriend Belen, and the irrepressible Guthrie, who delights in all things. Metaphors mixed in several languages, dream images of snow and distance, and the bittersweet terrors of adolescence will keep readers turning the pages and regretful to reach the last one. (Fiction. 9-14)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.54(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bloomability RB/SB

Chapter One

First Life

In my first life, I lived with my mother, and my older brother and sister, Crick and Stella, and with my father when he wasn't on the road. My father was a trucker, or sometimes a mechanic or a picker, a plucker or painter. He called himself a Jack-of-all-trades (Jack was his real name), but sometimes there wasn't any trade in whatever town we were living in, so off he would go in search of a job somewhere else. My mother would start packing, and we'd wait for a phone call from him that would tell us it was time to join him.

He'd always say, "I found us a great place! Wait'll you see it!"

Each time we moved, we had fewer boxes, not more. My mother would say, "Do you really need all those things, Dinnie? They're just things. Leave them."

By the time I was twelve, we'd followed my father from Kentucky to Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee to Ohio to Indiana to Wisconsin to Oklahoma to Oregon to Texas to California to New Mexico. My things fit in one box. Sometimes we lived in the middle of a noisy city, but most of the time Dad had found us a tilted house on a forgotten road near a forgotten town.

My mother had been a city girl, my father a country boy; and as far as I could tell, my mother spent most of her time trying to forget that she'd been a city girl. Those few times that we lived in the middle of the city, though, she seemed as if she were right at home, in her real home, her permanent home.

She'd get a job in an office or a design studio, instead of a diner. She knew how to use buses and weave in and out of crowds, and she didn't seem to hear the horns and sirens andjackhammers.

Those things drove my father crazy. "I know there's work here," he'd say, "but there's too many bodies and cars everywhere. You're like to get killed just stepping into the road. No place to raise kids."

My mother would be real quiet after he'd said something like this, and pretty soon he'd be off looking for a better place to live, and she'd be packing again. My sister Stella had a theory that Dad was keeping us on the move so my mother's family wouldn't find us. He didn't trust a single one of her brothers or sisters, and he didn't trust her parents, either. He thought they had "airs" and would talk my mother into moving back to New York, where she'd come from. He said they looked down their noses at us.

Once, when I was seven or eight, and we were living in Wisconsin-or no, maybe it was Oklahoma-or it could've been Arkansas (I forgot Arkansas-we lived there for six months, I believe), a thin woman with gray hair pulled back in a tight bun was sitting in our kitchen one day when I came home from school. Before I could shake off my coat, she'd wrapped me in a perfumed hug and called me carissima and her sweet kitten.

"I'm not a kitten," I said, sliding out the side door. Crick was throwing a basketball at an invisible hoop.

"There's a lady in there," I said.

Crick aimed, shot that ball into a graceful high arc, and watched it bounce off the edge of the garage next door. "Crud," he said, "that's no lady. That's your grandma Fiorelli."

There was a big argument that night after I'd gone to bed behind the drapes hung between the kitchen and the side room. My Dad was gone-he'd taken one look at our lady grandma and bolted out the door, never even pausing to say hello. It was Mom and Grandma in the kitchen.

Mom was telling her how resourceful Dad was, and how he could do anything, and what a rich life we had. From the bed next to mine, Stella said, "Mom's a dreamer."

In the kitchen, Grandma said, "Rich? This is a rich life?"

My mother charged on. "Money isn't everything, Ma," she said.

"And why you go and let him name that boy Crick? What kind of name is that? Sounds like he was raised in a barn."

My parents had had an agreement. Dad got to name any boys they had, and Mom got to name the girls. Dad told me he'd named Crick after a clear little crick that ran beside the house they'd lived in at the time. Once, when I used the word crick in a paper for school, the teacher crossed it out and wrote creek above it. She said crick wasn't a real word. I didn't tell Dad that. Or Crick either.Mom named her first girl (my sister) Stella Maria. Then I came along, and she must have been saving up for me, because she named me Domenica Santolina Doone. My name means Sunday-Southern-Wood-River. I was born on a Sunday (which makes me blessed, Mom said), and at the time we lived in the South beside woods and a river. My name is pronounced in the Italian way: Doe-MEN-i-kuh. Domenica Santolina Doone. It's a mouthful, so most people call me Dinnie.

In the kitchen, Grandma Fiorelli was steaming on. "You ought to think of yourself," she said. "You ought to think of those children. They could be in a school like the one your sister works in. Your husband needs a real job-"

"He has a real job-"

"Every six months? Basta!" Grandma said. "Why he can't keep a job for more than six months at a time? What does he do, anyway? Why he didn't go to college so he could get a real job? How are you going to get out of this mess?"

"He's looking for the right opportunity," my mother said. "He could do anything-anything at all. He just needs a break-"

Grandma's voice got louder every time she started up again. She was bellowing like a bull by this time. "A break? E ridicolo! And how he is going to get a break if he doesn't even have a college education? Answer me that!"

"Everybody doesn't need a college education," my mother said.

"When we come to this country, your father and I, we know not a word of English, but you kids got a college education-"

Stella threw a pillow at me. "Don't listen, Dinnie," she said. "Put your head under this and go to sleep."

The pillow didn't drown out Grandma Fiorelli, though. She barreled on. "And what about you?" Grandma said to my mother. "There you are, a perfectly well-trained artist, and I bet you don't even have a paintbrush to your name."

"I paint," my mother said.

"Like what? Walls? Falling down, peeling walls? Basta! You ought to talk to your sister-"

The next morning Grandma Fiorelli was gone, and so was Dad. He'd gone looking for a new place to live. He'd heard of an opportunity, he said.

And so we followed him around, from opportunity to opportunity, and as we went, Crick got into more and more trouble. Crick said it wasn't his fault that every place we went, he met up with people who made him do bad things. According to Crick, some boys in Oklahoma made him throw rocks at the school windows, and some boys in Oregon made him slash a tire, and some boys in Texas made him smoke a joint, and some boys in California made him burn down a barn, and some boys in New Mexico made him steal a car.

Every time we moved, Dad told him, "You can start over."

And with each move, Stella got quieter and quieter. Within a week of our reaching a new town, there'd be boys pounding on the door day and night, wanting to see her. All kinds of boys: tough ones, quiet ones, nerdy ones, cool ones.

In California, when she was sixteen, she came home one Sunday night, after having been gone all weekend with one of her girlfriends, supposedly, and said she'd gotten married.

"No you didn't," Dad said.

"Okay, I didn't," she said, and went on up to bed.

She told me she'd married a Marine, and she showed me a marriage certificate. The Marine was going overseas. Stella started eating and eating and eating. She got rounder and rounder and rounder. When we were in that hill town in New Mexico, she woke me up one night and said, "Get Mom, and get her quick."

Stella was having a baby. Dad was on the road, Crick was in jail, and Stella was having a baby.

And that was the last week of my first life.

Bloomability RB/SB. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Bloomability 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 168 reviews.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Sharon Creech won the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" in 1994 for her novel Walk Two Moons. Bloomability, from 1998, is one of Creech's later novels for children. Thirteen-year-old Domenica Santolina Doone, known to almost everyone as Dinnie, does not have what most people would consider a mundane life, let alone an average one. "In my first life, I lived with my mother, and my older brother and sister, Crick and Stella, and with my father when he wasn't on the road." As Dinnie's father, a Jack-of-all-trades by name and choice, moves across the country in search of new "opportunities," Dinnie and her family follow. "By the time I was twelve, we'd followed my father from Kentucky to Virginia to North Carolina to Tennessee to Ohio to Indiana to Wisconsin to Oklahoma to Oregon to Texas to California to New Mexico. My things fit in one box." There was also a stint in Arkansas so brief that it escaped Dinnie's recollection. As some readers might have guessed, this lifestyle did not always work out for the family. The crux of the novel begins when Dinnie makes this series of observations: "Dad was on the road, Crick was in jail, and Stella was having a baby. And that was the last week of my first life." That's when Dinnie is kidnapped by two complete strangers. At least, that's how it seems to Dinnie. No one else seems to agree. But, just because she met her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max twice before, it doesn't make them like her real family. At least, not right away. Dinnie's aunt and uncle take her off to Switzerland for an opportunity of her own as a student the school where Max will be headmaster and Sandy a teacher. At first, Dinnie doesn't see how any of that is an opportunity. But then she gets to the school and starts to meet some of the other students. Coming from all over the world, and from many different cultures, everyone is different. For the first time in Dinnie's life, she isn't the only stranger. Miles away from her family and in a foreign country, Dinnie might finally have a chance to find herself. Along the way, she also finds friends (and family) that she never would have encountered anywhere else. Creech does a great job here of showing different cultures. The book is a nice example of a truly international book. It also might teach readers a thing or two about the importance of tolerance. In fact, I'm sure it could be used in a variety of classes as a teaching tool even if I can't get into all of the ideas in this review. It's also written in a very authentic, humorous voice. The title of this book, Bloomability, refers to possibilities--a recurring theme in the novel. Dinnie isn't happy about a lot of the things she has to do, but as she soon learns, every change is an opportunity and a new possibility. On a personal level, this book is actually a really relevant review for the week, and I'm sure most other readers would also find it has some valuable insight to offer during times of change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sharon Creech has done it again. I could not put this book down. It had me hanging on until the end, and i enjoyed every minute. Thank you for such a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They should make a movie based ob this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is REALLY good. It was cool and really fun to read. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bloomability is funny yet meaningful.Very enjoyable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has to be honestly one of my favorite books ever. It had an amazing story and the friendships made between the characters were amazingly strong. I have always had a great longing for travel and adventure, and i love books that make that stronger and make me want to do what the characters are doing. Im soooo happy i read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it fantasy or realistic fiction? Reply to Psychic plz!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amaxing sharon u did a fabulous job on it!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I see what you did with the whole "letter from Tillie with turtle and girl uncovering trail" thing. Great idea. Dinnie and Zinny would be great together. I loved how all the kids from different places became friends. I personally think Lila was being a smige stew-pod with disliking Belen because she was Spanish. But that's cause she's Lila-the-pistol. Great job!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only did this book make me cry. Twice. It made me smile and laugh so hard my sister gave me weird looks. I think every person should read this book... VIVA CREECH
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is what i, BerryBaby think of this book; AWESOME.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful and very iinspireing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school. I have to say, its a great book. I recomend you read it. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing but weird
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read only a little bit and it is hard to understand. I read a little bit about her life at home and then all of the sudden in the story het aunt and uncle take her to Switzerland and this guy named Gurthie comes in. I do not understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though I didn't buy the ebook I read the paperback, I love love loved this book. It was such the best. I really thought Lila was annoying and fickle (that is, until she left), but Guthrie was cool and bursting with life. I know a couple people who need someone like that in their lives. I liked Keisuke ( kay SOO kee) and the way he mangles English(like stew-pod and bloomability), and everyone else was nice as well. The Italian was enlightening, and the pieces on avalanches and global disaster were too. Here are a few words I learned. VIVA VIVA BLOOMABILITY AND LIBERAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love gurthie! He is the BEST! Fantastico! Bella bella liber( srry latin for book but i dont know italian!;) i wish gurthie and dinnie got together earlier cuz "i m the kind of person who.likes sappy romances" (read the liber to get the inside joke;) but parents never fear bcuz its not like inapproprite romance ( thats not sharon's style !:D or mine really;) anyhooits a must read but if ur a mature 12 or over i suggest u go for challenging books ( if u like the romance, read pride and prejudice [my fav book] !).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it for the first time years ago... and it has long since been my favorite! Like others have said get through the start... then live the world of Dinnie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning is really boring but it gets so good.Please dont bail when you start it gets amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit it is boring in the begining but you cant just the pizza in the oven can you, you have to wait for itand once you get it in the oven then you get all excited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gunthere is not dinnies boyfriend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really, really loved this book. I have read it 4 times, and it was the first bookI bought on my nook.The story is very touching and it shows that teens all over the world have the same problems to deal with.