In this first book in the Petal Pushers series, readers meet Delphinium Bloom, the oldest grandchild of flower shop owners. When her grandparents announce their plans to retire and leave the shop to Delphinium’s parents, she is horrified. What do her parents know about running a flower shop? Worse, as soon as Del’s grandparents leave, in walks a demanding customer wanting the perfect flowers for her upcoming wedding. Del becomes convinced that her parents can’t handle this detailed flower order, and she begins trying to control every aspect of the shop. In the meantime, her younger sisters, Rose, Aster, and Poppy, become increasingly annoyed with Del’s attitude, while a new boy in school seems to find her very interesting.
This is the third series book I have read recently that focuses on middle school girls running businesses. I don’t know if three is enough to consider it a trend, but I sort of hope it becomes one. There is something really appealing about a tween book that concerns itself with things outside of girl drama and boy-craziness. In this book, Del is plagued by the same issues most fictional middle school girls struggle with - mean popular girls and confusion over a crush - but they don’t consume her entire life. More important to Del are her sisters, her parents, her grandparents, her best friend, and arranging and selling flowers. I think real girls can relate much better to characters who have full, multifaceted lives.
I also think the writing in this book is a notch above some of the other series books I’ve read recently. Sometimes series books like this one have a flat, simplistic style with little description and a “just the facts” approach to storytelling. They often include a lot more telling than showing. This author does a nice job of writing a series book that has that lighthearted, “fluffy” feel that kids expect from paperback fiction but doesn’t water everything down to a basic formula. There is even a great unexpected twist at the end of the book that caught me totally by surprise, which was set things up really well for future titles in the series.
Too Many Blooms is probably best suited to grades 4 to 6, but readers as old as eighth grade might still be interested in it, especially if they’re looking for a short beach read, or something to read on the bus trip to Grandma’s house this summer. It compares well to tween books by Lauren Barnholdt, Tricia Rayburn, and Mimi McCoy, whose works include some romance and friendship drama, but who also keep it clean for the young tween crowd. Other books in the Petal Pushers series include Flower Feud, Best Buds, and Coming up Roses.
I purchased Too Many Blooms from Barnes and Noble for my Nook.