Monday, January 12, 2009

Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Total: Four point five stars

{Summary from Fantastic Fiction}

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 is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

Behind the Grade:

After all the "beach reads" (loathe this term, but that was the nicest I could come up with) I've been reading, picking up Sweethearts is comparable to taking a plunge into the dark, salty depths and loving every minute of it.

Even though it was in first person, which I'm not all that fond of, Zarr made me love it. Our main character, Jenna is always pretending, hiding her real self. Or is it her "former" self? When Jenna was a child, she was mercilessly teased by her peers, only making one real friend: a boy named Cameron.

Then, something happened. (I would totally tell you, because it was not what I was expecting at all, and, honestly, a little anti-climatic, but the rest of it seems to justify this and, somehow, it makes Jenna a better person.)

I love how Jenna is constantly trying to be the girl people want her to be. I think everyone feels this way, or has felt that way at one point in their lifetime or another. Especially if you're in high school, like Jenna.

Some of the minor characters were expanded upon and none of them relied on stereotypes, which I loved. Don't you just hate it when you read a book about a popular girl who is surrounded by people who fit into neat, little stereotypes? I.e. "Smart Susan," "Kind Kathy," "Sporty Sara" etc. Well, none of Jenna's friends were like that. They all had their own personalities and their relationships with Jenna differed. I always found it strange how some books made it out that someone loved or hated their friends the same way. I've found this to be completely unrealistic. It's naturally that there are some people you are closer too or not as close too. It's human nature.

ANYWAY. Back to the review.

I loved it. It was great. I thought the ending was just perfect, too. I'm sure it's no spoiler to say that Cameron and Jenna don't have a happily ever after. The only thing keeping this from another five-star review is that the pace was just too slow to start. And, really, the whole book kept that pace. Regardless, go read it!


Alea said...

I'm definitely going to be reading this one! I'll be interested to see how it plays out ending in a not so happily ever after.

Charley said...

I picked this book up thinking it was going to be a sweet, happy love story. Not so! I thought it was quite good, and I hope to read Story of a Girl as well.

juniper breeze said...

so i was reading findingmaddieland's blog and saw that it was your birthday soon or before now or sometime. and even though i dont know you i just wanted to say happy birthday! i love your stories!

KD said...

oh I have been wanting to read this one for a while! Its been at the top of my list!

Btw would you like to do a link exchange?


Jen said...

Sounds really cute!

Kelly said...

I thought the same thing as Charley. This was literally a beach read for me...I'm on vacation in Florida right now. Even though it wasn't what I expected, I loved it!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book, my english teacher picked this book for me and once i started, i just couldn't put it down!