29 January 2015


Author: Sara Zarr
Genre: YA fiction
Published: 2008

Brief Overview:Sweethearts is about childhood best friends Cameron and Jennifer. They are separated after Cameron moves away suddenly and Jennifer believes that he has died. They are reunited as teenagers and are forced to confront issues from their past, but Jennifer, now known as Jenna has difficulty facing the things that have happened to them as well as the memory of her former self.

Themes: Friendship, overcoming abuse, family relationships, self acceptance

Jennifer Harris/Jenna Vaughn: I wasn't especially interested in this character. She undergoes a transformation from fat loser in grade school to moderately popular in high school in true YA novel style. She is insecure and obsessed with being normal but remains haunted by her past self. She claims deep love for Cameron, but when he returns from supposedly being dead, she doesn't spend much time with him and often treats him poorly even when away from the school friends she wants to impress. In her mind she has a past that makes her unlovable, but in reality her troubled past consists of one narrow miss with Cameron's abusive father when she was nine, an overworked mother, and being overweight . This belief that she is troubled and different only serves to make her character come across as shallow and self absorbed.
Cameron Quick: Of the two main characters, Cameron is the more interesting. Sara Zarr however, does not give him the character development he deserves, instead he is mysterious. At times he is quiet and brooding, other times he is frank about his feelings and even cries when recalling the past. He often disappears without warning. I found myself wishing that the book was from his perspective rather than Jenna's.

Impressions: Sweethearts is a different sort of book than the title implies. This is not a love story but a story about a weird co-dependent friendship that spans nearly a decade of non-communication. It is however undeniably sweet. It was a quick read and although I liked it, it doesn't necessarily stand out from other books in its genre.

What to read next: Lock and Key(Sarah Dessen), Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)

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