In Bloom by Matthew Crow

Francis Wootton’s first memory is of Kurt Cobain’s death and there have since been other hardships much closer to home.

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At fifteen, he knows all about loss and rejection, and if he’s honest, Francis – would-be poet, possible intellectual – feels he is wasted in Tyne and Wear.
Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time: but when he is diagnosed with leukaemia, a whole new world of worry presents itself. There’s the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness. But he hadn’t reckoned on meeting Amber and finding a reason to tackle it all – the good the bad and everything in-between – head on.

Other books by the author
My Dearest Jonah
Ashes
The Brilliant Life of Amber Sunrise (March 2015)
Author Website
https://twitter.com/mizzlecrizzle
Read an extract
http://shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/blog-tour-extract-from-in-bloom-by.html
In Bloom: the soundtrack
http://pages.constablerobinson.co.uk/in-bloom-soundtrack
If you loved this, why not try…
More Than This – Patrick Ness
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick

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18 thoughts on “In Bloom by Matthew Crow

  1. Victoria says:
    I found In Bloom quite difficult to get into at the start. I enjoyed the characters and the plot; even though this wouldn’t necessarily be the kind of book I would usually read. Overall I quite enjoyed the book but some parts weren’t as good as others in my opinion.

    Olivia says:
    I felt as though the relationship between Amber and Francis developed rather quickly, and he could be rather annoying sometimes. However I did like them and I think the ending was perfect for the book even though it was rather sad as well.

  2. This book was a great one, I feel that the humorous yet sincere portrayal of terminal illness in this novel was a refreshing change. I love that this book was set in the North East, it gave me a better chance of connecting with all of the characters, which were already well written. However, I feel the theme is present in many novels today like The Fault In Our Stars and the cover was quite vague, not giving it’s full potential as a book cover, but overall a great read!

  3. Elma and Emily say:
    We think that this book is very interesting and well thought out and we can imagine ourselves being friends with the characters (and trust us, that’s a compliment). We very much enjoyed how the book was told from a male’s point of view as it sets it apart from other cancer related novels e.g. The Fault in our Stars. The cover is well presented but we feel that it did not really reflect the true genre of the book. We are also curious about how the author came up with the title. In conclusion we very much enjoyed reading this book! 🙂

    Catriona says:
    I really enjoyed In Bloom. As a regular Tumblr user and an avid reader, I enjoyed the likeness to other books in this sort of genre. I was wary of the book to begin with as I’ve had several bad experiences involving cancer in the past couple of years, but I was relieved and found it very refreshing that the story had themes other than vomit, chemo and death. Frances and Amber were very engaging characters and I took great interest in the different points in their relationship as they struggled with the prospect of their futures.

    Issy says:
    A fascinating book filled with references that I didn’t understand but would be surely entertaining if I did, & interesting characters that are people I wish I could meet. For me it was hard to believe Amber and Francis were in fact their age because of their unusual characters which did make me struggle to connect with their stories. Despite this I was still fully engaged and moved by the message of the book and the humour that diffused such a tragic topic.

  4. This was a pretty good book, I liked the humour and how it approached the subject of the book, and it was well written. The fact that it was set in the North East also made it interesting. The only thing, however, is that the relationship between Francis and Amber felt slightly under-developed; It seemed to be that they met one chapter, then there was a time skip, and suddenly they’re in love. I feel that more information on their relationship would help develop their characters a lot more.

  5. I think this book describes realistically what it’s like for a teenager suffering from cancer. I realise that killing off a major character at the end was necessary for the resolution of the plot -and I think it worked well – but it disappointed me. I thought the teenagers had a future together and I’d like to have had some more plot twists before that happened.
    The characters radically different personalities were mirrored in their dialogue which made the exchanges interesting and often laugh-out-loud funny, despite the desperate situation. The enemy-friend relationship between Francis’s mother and Amber’s mother added light and tension at different times. They were great characters and this is a great book.

  6. I liked this book and especially enjoyed Francis’ grandma’s contributions in the book, as she was always rambling on reassuring people (and herself) that Francis, his mum and brother were joking whenever they said something that might make people judge their family badly. The only real criticism I have is that the relationship between Amber and Francis happened too quickly. It just confused me how they even got to like each other when they both have such different personalities. Overall, I liked how there was a lot of family bonding going on, especially with Francis and his mum, as she seemed like a very strong/tough person, but showed her son a lot of her emotions to show she does care.

  7. I thought this was an unusual book, quiet and with very little action. All the characters had love-hate, on-off relationships with each other all the way through but each pair had a good resolution by the end, even if it wasn’t the one you wanted for them. For such an upsetting subject, this book managed to be amusing and sometimes really funny and, by the end, I was sure it would be my favourite.

  8. This book didn’t have any action. It was mainly about the developing relationship between some very different characters who’d been thrown together by fate and were forced to get on somehow. I’d assumed from the blurb that it would be like A Fault in our Stars and it could have been quite boring but, actually, it was quite amusing in a rather ironic way. It felt like everyday life and made me think how I would have been in that situation.

  9. I thought this book was OK but it was rather like ‘A Fault in Our Stars’. I found it a hard read and difficult to follow. Amber is the most memorable character for me as she’s really two people. She seems so hard to get on with but underneath can be really loving and caring. I wondered what she was like before she got her diagnosis and whether her personality changed when she found out.

  10. I cried at the end of this book. It captivated me. I got more and more worried for Amber until the ending when I realised that things weren’t going to work out. They really were star-crossed lovers. I cannot find a thing to criticise. I loved this book!

  11. I thought this book was OK but I felt it was just another version of A Fault in our Stars. I found it quite hard to get into at first but it got better when Amber arrived. I liked Amber as a character. She was easy to believe in, determined, edgy and interesting.

  12. I really enjoyed this book! I thought that it was great how you could guess where the author was from. I also like how this book is unlike many books that are about illnesses as this book was narrated by a boy unlike many others. I would recommend this book 🙂

  13. This was the first book I read for the North East Teenage book award and it set the barrier pretty high for the rest of the books. It was not too long therefore it didn’t drag on like some books do. Also I liked how it wasn’t just a typical cancer love story but it had some comedy and action in it too. At first I thought it was just going to be a copy of The Fault in Our Stars but it was different since it was written from the male’s point of view. I enjoyed this book very much 🙂

  14. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book for numerous reasons. One being that it was very similar to The Fault in our Stars and I felt as if it was the same but gender reversed. Another is that I couldn’t understand Amber and Francis’s relationship and how it came to be. I felt as if this wasn’t realistic and also quite cliché. This book was an easy, simple read and I finished it quickly. There was some elements of humour which I did like. Overall I didn’t love this book, however I didn’t hate it.

  15. I enjoyed this book, I mostly enjoyed the fact that this novel is narrated by a boy as similar books that I’ve read have always been narrated by a girl. Also, I enjoyed how it was easy to tell that the grandma was a geordie. Another good point is that the plot of the book was easy to follow. A criticism I have is that I felt the cover amd title didn’t reflect the book as well as it could have. Overall a very good book!

  16. We think that this book is very interesting and well thought out and we can imagine ourselves being friends with the characters (and trust us, that’s a compliment). We very much enjoyed how the book was told from a male’s point of view as it sets it apart from other cancer related novels e.g. The Fault in our Stars. The cover is well presented but we feel that it did not really reflect the true genre of the book. We are also curious about how the author came up with the title. In conclusion we very much enjoyed reading this book! 🙂

  17. I loved this book from the very start. The fact that it was set in the North East was lovely and the Granny was so Geordie with her funny expressions, giving humour to a rather bleak theme of terminal illness. I thought the characters were extremely well thought out and I loved Chris as he was so protective of his brother and there was such a feel of family togetherness which I loved while reading the story. This was a great book which I devoured in 2 sittings as I found it hard to put it down until I got to the last page – excellent!

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