Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Sweethearts

Sara Zarr
Contemporary YA

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.

Sweethearts was a touching novel about a girl named Jennifer who had a rough childhood. Known as "fattifer" she was bullied at school and never got the moral support she needed from home, what with her mother being away all the time trying to make a living. With no one to help her out, Jennifer was the poor girl who smelled and got a sandwich from charity. She had one friend, who came from an even worse situation than she did: Cameron Quick. *Sigh* Cameron. 

Like it says, he disappeared, and Jenna turns her life around. It's quite admirable. During the beginning I really started to like her, and while she does some less-than-admirable stuff throughout the book, you have to give her credit where it's due. (Though not too much; the main reason it got turned around is because her mom remarried and she moved to a private school) 

The book starts at Jenna's seventeenth birthday, and you can tell she endured some sort of trauma on that day during her childhood. What happened that day is told in a series of snippets throughout the story, which personally I didn't like. It just made the whole scene kinda unclear for me, so I started to build a theory and then I figured that it was about half as horrible as I thought it would be. (But it was traumatic). Anyway, I approved of Jenna. She stopped with some of the negative stuff she had been doing, she worked out, socialized, and built a totally new life, dispite the hardship and mourning for her old friend.

And then he comes back.

The beauty of this book is that no matter how hard you think about it, you won't be able to figure out their relationship (at least, I didn't) until her mom says something that pretty much sums it up but I won't blow it. It really is wonderful to see that kind of connection. Not romantic, exactly, not really family either. Something unexplainable but deep. Really deep. And I liked how when you get to the scene I just mentioned you'll get a good feeling. I love when books have that line that makes you think and helps you realize what the author is REALLY trying to say. Like I said, beautiful.

HOWEVER, as mentioned in the summery, Jenna has a boyfriend. Obviously there was going to be some friction when Cameron (GOD BLESS HIS SWEET SOUL) arrived and there was but I really did not like how it was handled. It seemed that there needed to be some sort of excuse for Jenna to break up with him, so there were disconnected uncharacteristic scenes for Ethan that felt forced. As if the author couldn't make Jenna look mean by breaking the heart of a great guy so she put in some dumb fights. Eh. 


I loved him. For about a hundred different reasons but I've told you enough already and should probably leave you guys soemthing to read. All in all it was a beautiful book. Grade: 80%

Hope everyone is doing well!

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