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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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  • "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 it's starting to rain again....

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine The energetic pacing and youthful tones of narrator Sophie Amoss introduce listeners to the three teens who form the core of Oppel's newest supernatural thriller. Anaya is allergic to almost everything and suffers from what she calls "volcanic" acne; Seth is a foster kid with strange scars running down his arms; and Petra is allergic to water. When a sudden heavy rain results in the growth of strangely menacing plants, the teens' infirmities disappear, but something far more sinister and disturbing comes over them. Switching up her cadence and intensity, Amoss captures all the excitement and terror as the teens take on alien characteristics, something they have in common with the deadly plants they battle to defeat. Listeners will eagerly await the next installment. S.G. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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