Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
The Skinny: Childhood friends Jennifer and Cameron were both outcasts, until one day when Cameron suddenly moved away without a word. Jennifer thinks he is dead, thanks to the teasing of her classmates and her mom’s ommission of truth. When Jennifer’s mom remarries and they move to a new town, Jennifer uses the opportunity to transform herself. Now called Jenna, she is popular, has friends and is dating a nice guy. Her life seems to be going great and she no longer is the overweight socially awkward outcast she was a child. But when Cameron’s sudden reappearance throws a wrench in her perfect life, Jenna is faced with Jennifer and struggles to understand her and Cameron’s past.
BFF?: I just don’t know how much I liked Jenna to be honest. I mean, I get that she had a terrible childhood and whatnot, so I understand her inner struggles. I just felt like she wasn’t an honest character. She had made herself over into what she thought was the perfect person – thin, funny, nice… and while she was these things, I think she struggled to find a balance between who she was and who she was trying to be. It’s like she built this whole new life on sand and when Cameron came in, it began to wash away.
Readability: There are several flashbacks to Jennifer and Cameron’s childhood, specifically one day in it. I normally love these, and while I enjoyed them in this book, it was kind of obvious, you know? Otherwise, it read very well overall. Easy to get into, not much difficulty in paying attention!
Crush Level: 3
I’m sure I’m supposed to like Cameron and think he’s sweet and whatever. I mean, he was… but I dunno. I just didn’t feel all the feels for him. I think knowing too much about his life and his struggles/background made it entirely too hard for me to crush on him. I think I more wanted to help him, to be a friend or big sister or SOMETHING for him.
Guys, this is a HUGE turn off for me in books. HUGE. I know it’s real and it happens and it’s tragic… but I just cant’ stand it. Like literally. It hurts my heart whenever I come across it in books and it makes me angry and sad and emotional… and I just don’t do well with it. I’m very anti-hitting-your-kids (yes, even spankings) so to read it in books that parents are actually abusing kids? My heart hurt a lot thinking about this book!
Yearbook Quote: “Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete.”
Superlatives – Most likely to make you want to call your elementary school BFF
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