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Killer plants

Kenneth Oppel’s new middle-grade supernatural thriller has mutant teens, villainous vines, and football fields that will eat you alive

Editor’s ChoiCE

Bloom Kenneth Oppel HarperCollins, Ages 10–14

If you were to tweak the words to that famous Five Man Electrical Band protest song, you’d have the gist of the latest Kenneth Oppel novel: Vine, vine, everywhere a vine, blocking out the scenery, breakin’ my mind.

As the story opens, a full day of rain has washed over Salt Spring Island and a new type of greenery has been left behind. The plants, however, are black and grow at an alarming rate, shooting off a pollen that all of the town’s residents are extremely allergic to – except for Anaya, Petra, and Seth. These local teens are unaffected; in fact, their own debilitating allergies have cleared up and been replaced by a clear complexion and a boost in physical strength. That said, they are experiencing some freaky side effects, including the growth of, respectively, fur, a tail, and feathery wings. Some are dealing with it better than others. “Boo hoo,” Petra says when Anaya complains about her thickening body hair. “I’m turning into a crocodile.”

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