FICTION

Bloom

Knopf. (The Overthrow). Mar. 2020. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524773007.
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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.

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