Bloomability is the story of 13-year-old Dinnie who's "kidnapped" by her Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy after her older sister unexpectedly has a baby. You see, Dinnie hasn't led a normal life. Her family travels whenever and where ever her father finds another "opportunity." They live a nomadic lifestyle, never staying in the same town for very long.
For Dinnie that changes when Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy, who Dinnie barely knows, whisks her away to boarding school in Switzerland. Uncle Max has just taken the job as the headmister of a small boarding school in Lugano.
Beneath the alps, Dinnie finally begins to bloom. This book is a sweet coming of age story about a girl who doesn't quite know who she is. She's "adaptable" because she's moved so much. In each new town she has to figure out the school, the town and the social structure. But she's never really taken time to discover Dinnie. In Switzerland, the first place where she'll actually complete a whole school year, she finally has the opportunity to figure out herself.
There are just so many delightful touches in this book. From Dinnie's misspelled Italian signs claiming she's been kidnapped, to the dreams of Domenica Santolina Doone, to Dinnie's obsession with "suffering" to make her a better person, it's just a fun book to read.
For girls just bridging from middle grade to young adult, this book is perfect. It brushes against some real issues--from first crush, to friendships, to poverty--not really tackling them, just bringing them into the story in a tactful but meaningful way.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the delightful Mandy Siegfried (my current narrator obsession). Of course I must admit that I'm pretty much automatically biased for this book because I spent 3 months in Switzerland. But aside from my love of all things Swiss, this book is endearing in it's own right and worth reading.
Spietz in Switzerland
View from my bathroom window in Switzerland