Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

I read this book on Valentine's Day, which was the absolutely perfect day to read it. I actually bought the book right when it first came out, but had tucked it away until yesterday (on purpose!). It really shows the true meaning of love and is definitely not your typical romance book. Plus the cover looks irresistibly yummy....just like the book!

Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick are best of friends. Not the best friend that lasts one year of elementary school, but life long best friends. They are both social outcasts in elementary school and have no one except each other. Jennifer's father is long gone and her mom is always either at work or at nursing school. Cameron's parents don't seem to be in the picture at all. In a nutshell Cameron and Jennifer are in love. That is until Cameron disappears out of the blue and is not seen again. Jennifer is distraught and assumes that Cameron is dead.

The summer between 8th and 9th grade Jennifer re-invents herself. First her mother gets married to the perfect guy. This allows Jennifer to change her name and be gone with Jennifer Harris forever. She is now Jenna Vaughn and ready to make new friends. She's lost 25 pound, has great clothes, and has even snagged herself one of the most lust after boys in school. She is everything that she wished she could be and more. Her life is perfect up until Cameron makes a reappearance in her life.

When Cameron comes back he makes Jenna open all the doors she swore she had sealed forever. All of a sudden she is doubting herself and thinking that she is the same girl that people used to call "fattifier." Seeing Cameron again also brings back the dreaded memories of her ninth birthday when her Cameron experienced one of the most horrible things children can experience. Mixed with emotions Jenna starts to look at her present life with new eyes and sees that that her boyfriend isn't the right guy for her after all. She also learns tons about herself when Cameron comes back and continues to learn from him throughout her life.

This book is the perfect example of short and sweet. Usually short books are lacking that certain something that thicker books have, but not Sweethearts. It was one of the best love stories I have ever read. I remember reading something that Sara Zarr said about this not being a romance because its not mushy gushy love, but it's a love story because the characters work through their faults together and make each other feel special. This book captured me from the very first page and I was stunned at the end. For a short book (216 pages), it is definitely very powerful. The characters are so likeable and I couldn't get enough of the Jenna/Cameron relationship. Also the message was one of a kind and certainly one we all need to take to heart. Once again a great read and I would recommend it to anyone.


the story siren said...

wasn't this a great book!

Rachael Stein said...

ooh, i loved this book too!

Melissa Walker said...

this is one i can't wait to read!

Em said...

What a great V-day read! It's definitely one of my favorite so far this year. I can see what Sara said about it not being a romance, but I also agree with you that it totally is a romance. (That probably sounds weird to anyone who hasn't read the book yet.) :)


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