Sweethearts - 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.

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.

 

I'm not really sure how I feel about this one, and I might not ever be. Though interesting, the premise was strange and I'm unsure what I gained from reading this.

 

The concept of this book was lovely and I enjoyed the plot of the story the entire way through.

 

Jenna--Jennifer--was an intriguing character, who had changed drastically from elementary school to become a seemingly self-assured and confident teenager. She was perpetually worried about people finding out how she'd been in elementary school, which I didn't really understand, but the barrier this created between her and other people was interesting.

 

I loved her relationship with Ethan and with each of her friends, who definitely felt like they were each people instead of wooden characters meant to fill the cafeteria tables. Her mother and step-father also were fascinating.

 

Cameron felt a little ethereal. I enjoyed his backstory and how he had come to be in the town, but I spent half of the book wondering when this was going to turn into a vampire book so I think I might have missed the point.

 

My biggest issue with this book was the whole incident with Cameron's father that took place. I can't really give any spoilers here, because it was left too ambiguous and I'm not quite sure why it was such a big deal and what exactly happened. Am I just insensitive? I'm not sure. I feel like if I'd grasped that more, I'd add a star to this review, but not knowing this really made me struggle to understand the intensity of Cameron and Jenna's relationship.

 

But overall, there were some really strong moments in this book, such as Jenna emphasising how hard it is to remember things and how important it is to her that she not lose her memories of that what once was important. Zarr's characters were extremely strong for this type of book.

 

I recommend this for someone looking to read about friendship and perseverance in growing as a person.