cover image Tahira in Bloom

Tahira in Bloom

Farah Heron. Skyscape, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3037-3

When 17-year-old emerging designer and FIT hopeful Tahira Janmohammad’s Toronto-based fashion internship is derailed by a wayward parakeet, Tahira’s driven, over-involved parents deploy Plan B: a replacement job at her aunt’s ladieswear boutique in rural Canada. Bakewell is the flower capital of Ontario, and Tahira is allergic to rabbits and flowers. Moreover, the Black boy next door, Rowan Johnston, is a rude, unfashionable, plant-obsessed “flower stormtrooper.” Eventually, of course, the small town charms, as does Rowan, and the duo pair up to compete in the annual Bakewell flower-arranging contest, which Tahira believes is her ticket to New York City and fashion-influencer stardom. Along the way, Tahira must learn to avoid making snap judgments, and consider turning away from fame and glamour when friendships and love are on the line. As she does in her books for adults, Heron draws on her own Indian Tanzanian Canadian Muslim identity, and details of close-knit, transnational community enrich this YA debut. The book’s memorable secondary characters—including Nilusha, Tahira’s wise and compassionate mentor, and Juniper, Rowan’s sweet younger sister—help Tahira stay true to herself in this entertaining enemies-to-lovers rom-com. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rachel Brooks, Bookends Literary. (Nov.)