02 April 2010

Review: Sweethearts By: Sara Zarr

Title: Sweethearts
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 224 Pages (January 1, 2009)
From: Borders

Synopsis: As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another's only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she's lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she's popular, happy, and dating, everything "Jennifer" couldn't be---but she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

From the National Book Award nominated author of Story of a Girl, Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

Review: 3.5 Stars - While reading this book I didn’t know what to feel. I was confused throughout and maybe that was partially from the fact that our main character Jennifer – now Jenna was confused and troubled from beginning to almost the end.

We see her and her best friend Cameron at nine years old struggling with bullies and their home lives. It was hard to see both struggle, but the bond they had just was something that people are lucky to find once in a lifetime. When Cameron moves away she’s left alone to fend for herself. She’s told some tragic news and her life becomes even more depressing. I felt that even at that young age Cameron and Jennifer were somewhat of soul mates and they needed each other more then even their parents understood.

A few years later Jennifer’s mother gets married and they move. She takes this time to reinvent herself. She changes everything about her, even her name to Jenna to make sure she never has to live the way she did during her grade school years, but Cameron is always there in her memories.

Now in high school she has great friends, a boyfriend, and lives in a nice house. Everything she could ever want. No matter how much she changes in others eyes, she can’t keep herself but thinking about that little 9 year old boy, Cameron and just what that friendship meant to her, what he meant to her. He was really the only person in the world who knew, understood and loved her for who she was inside and out.

On her 17th birthday Jenna always remembers back to that birthday she can’t soon forget, one that would forever change her and Cameron for the rest of their lives. Later that night she shocked to find a note from Cameron, whom she hasn’t seen or talked to since they were 9.

The majority of this story is told in present day showing her feelings for her mom, step dad, friends, boyfriend and Cameron with flash backs to grade school and that birthday that changed everything. We see Jenna struggle to cope and figure out whom she is more so then who she’s transformed herself into.

This was a story that was layered by the relationship past and present between Jennifer/Jenna and Cameron and the fall out of the bullies and events from so long ago. Jenna has changed but she’s still the damaged person from the past and with Cameron there she’s bound to have to face some truths.

I haven’t read anything by Zarr before and I can say that I’m sure to pick something up by this author again. It was well written with unforgettable characters. If you haven’t read this book yet and are looking for something non paranormal… since I know many of us tend to read more of that these days, then you should look into this book. Enjoy!

FTC Disclaimer: I DID pay for this book and have NOT been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this review.

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  1. I had totally forgotten about this book, thanks for reminding me and the great review! I'll pick this one up for sure :)

  2. This is one of my favourite books ever. You'd probably love Sara Zarr's other novels as well. :)

  3. There is an award waiting for you on my blog :-) Congrats!!! http://www.starshadowblog.com/2010/04/award.html

  4. I kind of agree with you, I didn't love this novel either. Good review.

  5. I just chose this book from the library two days ago and I'm getting ready to start reading it!

    I didn't read the review so I can avoid anything spoiler-y.

    I just thought it was a coincidence that you reviewed it right after I got it. I only chose it because of the cover art. I don't read a ton of YA, and I've never read Zaar. I'll have to chime in after I finish it. :)

  6. I finished reading SWEETHEARTS. What an amazing story -- I thought the character development was insanely good. I will definitely read Zaar again!

  7. This is the only Zarr I've read as well. Loved it! I do have Once Was Lost in my TBR pile. I need to get to it soon!

    I've been wanting to read Story of A Girl.. it won a National Book Award, so I have high hopes!


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Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

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