Wednesday, 2 January 2013

"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.

Sweethearts is a beautiful book. It explores the themes of childhood friends, and people coming in and out of your life. It focuses on Jenna Vaughn, a high school senior plagued by the memories of her childhood best friend (or sweetheart) Cameron Quick. He reappears in her life on her birthday, and stays in Salt Lake City for just over a week. Over this small time period, Jenna has to reevaluate her life, and tell her mother what happened to her and Cameron on her ninth birthday.
Cameron Quick was Jenna's (then Jennifer Harris) only childhood friend, and he disappeared when she was nine. She was told by some very cruel bullies that he had died, and her mother did nothing to deny this, leading Jenna to believe that this was true. Then, he reappears, emancipated from his parents (who live in California) and ready to find Jenna. But she has changed. She's now Jenna Vaughn, popular and nothing like she was before. She has a boyfriend, Ethan - I particularly enjoyed the dynamic of their relationship and how it ended - and lots of friends.
Cameron returning is the catalyst for Jenna to change her life. However, Jenna definitely goes through the motions. The only thing that was constant was her love for Cameron, which was understated and delicate, not even a romance, but definitely a love story. Their feelings were left unresolved but Jenna acknowledged that "nothing would be enough" when it came to her and Cameron together.
The only thing that I have a problem with was that the book was so short, which led to some of the characters seeming rather two-dimensional, for example Ethan, or Katy, Jenna's other 'best friend' who turns out not to be very supportive, or indeed, pleasant. Ethan was in some ways a realistic guy, but I think the author used him to be an opposite to Cameron, which only half-worked. Katy just fell flat and didn't really have anything useful to say, in my opinion.
However, I greatly enjoyed Sweethearts, even though it was extremely painful to read sometimes and a definite tearjerker.

Overall rating: A

No comments:

Post a Comment