Saturday, July 17, 2010

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 that "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. 
 Sara Zarr writes in Sweethearts expertly as I would expect after reading Story of a Girl another wonderful read. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr is darker and has more substance than a lot of other Young Adult Literature. Jenna is a great character that is very relatable.  Her problems are very real and not the typical angsty teen drama because her issues are not just skin deep.
As a child Jennifer was tormented because she was overweight so when her mom remarried and they moved to a new town she seized the opportunity to reinvent herself as pretty, popular Jenna Vaughn. Jenna Vaughn is in control of her life and has plenty of friends to support her who don't even know of her dark troubling past that has stayed with her. Jenna is a great character because she successfully recreated herself and put her past behind her. Jenna is so collected until Cameron reappears dredging up memories Jenna worked so hard to toss aside. A crack seems to appear on the surface for Jenna as she tries to reconnect with Cameron and remain her "Jenna" self  and she begins to unravel.
Jenna has been through things that although are not tragic, it is heartbreaking to read about her and Cameron's shared past. Jenna and Cameron's story slowly unfolds after they are reconnected. Sweethearts tugs at your heartstrings and I truly felt for Jenna as a little girl and then as a teenager haunts her still. It is a compelling read that is in one sense of moving on and letting go and in another how our pasts can shape us.  5 Cupcakes!

1 comment:

  1. Gabriella, I love the name of your blog! And I appreciate your review of Sweethearts -- sounds like a terrific book. I read one that I loved in middle school about another girl (Lucinda, I think) who moved and re-created herself in high school. It's an idea that appeals to a lot of us as teens, I imagine. Your line, "in one sense of moving on and letting go and in another how our pasts can shape us" summarizes the points very nicely.