June 17, 2015

Wicked Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Published: February 1, 2008
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Acquired: Borrowed Paperback

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.

At first I was skeptical when I picked it up after reading How To Save A Life, mainly because it only had 217 pages. I don't really read books with less than 300 pages. But hey, don't judge a book by the number of its pages.

Jennifer was bullied because she was fat. She only had one friend, Cameron Quick. When they were kids, Cameron confessed to Jennifer that he loves her via a note in her lunch box. The day of Jennifer's birthday changed everything for both of them. Jennifer and Cameron carried that horrifying experience as they got older. Cameron left town and disappeared off of the face of the Earth or so Jennifer believed all along.

She branded herself as Jenna. She was happy. She had friends. She had a boyfriend. And then Cameron came back. He wasn't dead after all. The worst part is that Jenna's own mother led her to believe that he really is dead. First off, that was just bad. She grew up having Cameron as her only friend, as the one person that she leaned on. To believe that the person is dead hurts a lot. I kept shaking my head at this because REALLY? Why did you do that?

I wish the book was also told in Cameron's POV because I'd really like to know what he feels or what he's thinking. He's emancipated and he moved back to Utah from California just so he can see Jennifer/Jenna. He wants a better life for his brothers and sisters which I think is a noble effort.

Jenna realizes that she really loves Cameron. Even if they were separated for eight years, she still thought about him, her one true friend. In the end, one thing I learned from this book is that there will always be that person who'll leave mark in your heart and no matter where you are or what you do or who you're with, you'll always think about them.

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at www.sarazarr.com

1 comment:

  1. I love that quote you shared! I've only read a Sara Zarr book once but I so want to check this out!