Book Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
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.
This was an interesting book. I really enjoyed most of the characters. They seemed real to me. They made fun of each other and talked about stupid things and kept secrets and had fights. I really enjoyed the secondary characters. I didn’t really like Ethan, Jenna’s boyfriend, but he didn’t seem completely unrealistic, which was nice. I also liked that Jenna’s mom and stepfather played an important role in the novel. I’ve read so many books where the parents are either horrible or never around, and it was nice to read about a character who actually does tell her parents at least some of what’s going on in her life.
Jenna was the most interesting character of all. I could really relate to her a lot of the time. I, too, was the shy, fat kid with no friends in elementary school (although, unlike Jenna, I never grew out of it). She talks about much effort it took for her to speak to a girl in the lunch line, and I could completely relate to that. I understand how she’s always getting lost in her thoughts and how much work small talk takes.
The only character I found sort of strange was Cameron. I can’t go into too many details about why he confused me without giving away the ending, which I don’t want to do, but I’ll just say that I didn’t really understand why he did certain things that he did. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to certain things in YA novels, but I didn’t really enjoy some of the things that happened in this book.
The ending of this book just seemed sort of anti-climactic to me. I kept waiting for things to happen that didn’t. I enjoyed the flashbacks to Jenna and Cameron’s past – in fact, those were the scenes that kept me reading every time I tried to put the book down. I wanted to see what had happened to them. In the end, though, I just felt like I had been waiting for nothing.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book with interesting characters. It probably won’t have any lasting impression with me, but I’m still interesting in reading more by Sara Zarr.