Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Middle Grade Review: Bloomability, by Sharon Creech   

Title: Bloomability
Author: Sharon Creech. Narrated by Mandy Siegfried
Publisher: Listening Library, 2009 (original by Joanna Cotler, 1998)
Source: Library (digital download)

Dominica "Dinnie" Doone feels abandoned and betrayed. Her big sister is having a baby, and her parents, always on the brink of financial disaster, have sent her off with an aunt and uncle she doesn't even a boarding school in Switzerland. In the course of the school year, however, Dinnie comes to see that maybe this isn't such a bad thing, as she learns about friends, family love, and the beauty of the Swiss Alps.
The first thing that struck me was wonderment at how anyone could be angry about getting to attend an international school in Switzerland. Dinnie doesn't even have to live in the dorms, since her uncle is the new Headmaster. On reflection, though, I think Creech caught the 13-year-old reaction very well. Dinnie, even though she's used to moving all over the place as her father looks for his one big break, doesn't like change. And at first all she can see is change, and she's not given any say in it, and her family isn't there. No wonder she's upset. 
Creech allows Dinnie to gradually come to a realization of what she has, rather than any sudden conversion. She is justifiably angry at her family for not even writing to her very often, and that doesn't change, even as she slowly realizes that she likes the school. ALL the children are from elsewhere, so she's not the lone outsider this time (though seems to me that being the Headmaster's niece might have been more of a barrier to acceptance than Creech makes it). And she seems to be getting the help and attention she needs to thrive in school, even enjoy her studies, mostly.

The book has humor, growth, exciting developments, and a compelling storyline. The narration was good, and not intrusive. Characters were well voiced, including various accents.

This is a good 10-and-up book. Nothing is too intense or too adult for younger children (though there is one pretty tense scene), but the interest seems strongest for somewhat older children. There is no romance, which I found a relief, but some kids might think was wrong for 13-year-olds. There are, however, some very strong friendships developed.

Full Disclosure: I borrowed an electronic copy of Bloomability from my library, and received nothing from the author or the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


  1. I love the Swiss Alps so I would be really interested to read this book. It sounds great, I enjoyed reading your review.

    Hopping over from the kid lit blog hop

    1. I've read several books over the years set in boarding schools in the Swiss Alps. Often the schools were dreadful places, but it didn't stop me from envying kids who got to go to school there!

  2. Thank you so much for this fabulous book recommendation. I am adding it to my list. Also, thank you for hosting the kidlit blog hop.
    Pamela - Literate For Life

    1. Thanks for coming by. I'm not a host, just an enthusiastic participant, but it's always a fun hop!

  3. I have seen the Swiss Alps and they are gorgeous. Having said that, though, I would think it would be tough to be away from my parents living with family I did not know.
    Maybe the author was writing from what they know?

    Thanks for sharing on the hop.

    1. Yeah, I always read about those poor little British kids going off to boarding school at age 8 or whatever and felt bad for them! And now, for their parents, too :)

  4. I have read other books by Creech and enjoyed them, but haven't read this one yet. Thanks for sharing your review. :)

    1. I've liked all her books that I've read, I think. She does a nice job of getting into kids' heads.


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