Book Review: Bloom by Bellebird James



Bellebird James explores the themes of family, duty, and betrayal in the contemporary romance novel, Bloom, through the character, Izzy, who is torn between the conflicting demands of legacy and love. Refusing to compromise, she got lost in the labyrinth of deceit that she created, ultimately discovering the liberating power of authenticity. Set against a breathtaking natural backdrop, the story offers a unique combination of enemies-to-lovers romance and the power of being true to yourself. 

Bellebird James is a writer from New Zealand where she lives with her husband, 2 children, and their dog. She’s obsessed with coffee, the sun, chocolate fish, and mountains. The other novel that she wrote is The Art of Loving Libby Green. 

Book Description

A Sweet YA Romance

I’ve spent my life chasing a dream. What if it’s the wrong one? 

For as long as she can remember, Izzy has been following in her father’s footsteps all the way to law school—just the way her mother wants. But ever since his death, the path ahead has been less clear. When a summer job as a landscape designer shows Izzy a glimpse of an alternative future, she buries that idea as deep as the roots of the plants she loves working with.

Then Izzy meets Nico. With his annoying emoticon smile and botanical tattoos, Nico is everything Izzy isn’t—irritatingly disorganized, cheerfully rebellious, and a law school dropout. He’s also her responsibility to train while they repopulate the local woodland with saplings, and a respite from Izzy’s increasingly tense home life.

When the forest her father passionately defended comes under threat, Izzy and Nico join forces and learn they have more in common than either of them imagined. But as Izzy struggles to stay true to her father’s memory, her mother’s expectations, and her growing friendship with Nico, she finds herself tangled in lies. 

And if the truth comes out, Izzy could lose much more than her law school dream …

Discussion Questions

  1. When you read the title, Bloom, what came to your mind?
  2. Describe the relationship between Izzy and her mother.
  3. What is the legacy of Izzy's father?
  4. How does Izzy protect her father's legacy? What does this tell about Izzy?
  5. Describe Nico. What was Izzy's first impression of him?
  6. What is his significance in reaching Izzy's goals?
  7. What is the most pervading theme of the story? Why?
  8. What is your favorite part of the story? Why?
  9. What is your least favorite part? 
  10. What do you think about the ending?


What I Loved The Most

  • The vivid descriptions of the gardens, bike trails, and mountains transported me to the places in the book. It helps me appreciate nature and nature activities more even though I am not an outdoorsy person.
  • The two main characters, Izzy and Nico, are interesting and relatable. Izzy didn’t like Nico in the beginning because of his juvenile style and confidence. But gradually, because of Nico’s charm, Izzy’s perception of him shifted. Their similarities magnetize them together, while their differences spark witty banters and romantic encounters. 
  • The storyline is strong and suspenseful, interspersed with fun, romantic scenes.The theme is solid as the events are held together by a deeper message of legacy, love, family, nature, and the truth. 

What I Loved The Least

  • Izzy’s story is heartwarming, but heartbreaking at the same time. Her singular goal was to make her mother happy. She would do anything to fulfill her mother’s wishes but this created a painful conflict. Fulfilling his father’s legacy was important for Izzy but it would disappoint her mother. This conflict got me curious about her mother. Why was she what she was? I wish the author delved deeper into her mother’s history and motivations. 


Many believe that family is the most important thing in the world, but what if they become impediments to authenticity? Bellebird James delves into the intricate journey to finding one true self in the midst of the complex family affairs and romantic encounter in her book, Bloom. It offers a heartwarming story of Izzy riddled with fun in the backdrop of a natural setting that comes real as the reader turns each page. 

James created a realistic setting by describing natural places. I enjoyed imagining the mountains, the bike trails and the garden. I’m not an outdoorsy person but I still enjoyed the warmth of the forest and the plants. It’s a great backdrop to an intense battle between saving what once was there and what could make it more modern. 

The love story of Izzy and Nico made my heart flutter. I enjoyed the turn of events from when they didn’t like each other in the beginning to when they fell in love. They grew on each other, realizing they also have things in common. But, the conflict ensued when they faced the question that asked them to choose their true self. Eventually, the masks and lies melted away and what’s left is their authentic love. 

James created interesting characters. The main characters are well-rounded while others are just round enough. But I got more intrigued by Izzy’s mother. She was the number one factor that affected Izzy’s decision to pursue her dream. But Izzy would do everything for her mother. Her mother was kind of distant from her, closed and protective of her emotions. She seems fragile, so Izzy wants to fulfill her mother’s dream for her. I wanted to know her more, like her history why she acted the way and she did. 

Bloom gave me a great reading experience. I love the setting and the romantic story of Izzy and Nico. It’s easy to read and memorable. If you like nature, a heartwarming family story, and a fun romance, this book is for you. 

Thank you, Bellebird James and BookSirens for the ARC and the chance to share my opinions. 

Further Information

Bellebird James' Website:  



Book Information:

Bloom by Bellebird James 

Published on June 15, 2023, by Bellebird James Author Limited 

289 pages (eBook)

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