Monday, 7 May 2012
Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: February 1st, 2008
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Jennifer Harris was once the lonely, lisping overweight girl in the playground, who the other children teased. She only had one friend, and that was the other school outcast, Cameron Quick. On Jennifer’s ninth birthday, a shared traumatizing experience between the two children bonded them forever. After Cameron left Sault Lake City without warning, other kids at school told Jennifer that Cameron had died. Slowly, the person that Jennifer had been disappeared along with Cameron Quick. Now seventeen, Jennifer only goes by Jenna, and her name isn’t the only thing she’s changed. Jenna has friends, is thin, and even has a boyfriend. She never lets her emotions get the better of her like she used to, and she certainly doesn’t talk about who she used to be. But when Cameron comes back into her life, he brings Jenna’s past with him. Cameron was the one person who knew Jenna at her worst and loved her anyways. One thing is for sure, Cameron is definitely not dead and neither is Jennifer Harris.
This is the second book I’ve read by Sara Zarr, the first being her most recent novel, How To Save A Life. This book was written three years before How To Save A Life and you could definitely tell. The writing style wasn’t as smooth, and the plot was a bit sloppy. There was so much build up to what happened eight years ago to Cameron and Jennifer, and the revelation was a bit of a let down. I also didn’t understand why Jenna’s mother didn’t tell her that Cameron was really alive: I didn’t understand her logic at all. I wasn’t interested in the drama surrounding Jenna and her friends and I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. Nor was I interested in them, to be honest. Cameron felt more like a symbol of Jenna’s abandoned past than a real character. It was interesting to compare this book to How To Save a Life and see how Zarr has grown as a writer. The book was short and a made a quick read that was entertaining. I liked Jenna’s relationship with her stepfather, even if I disliked her mother. While I know some people will be disappointed with the ending, I thought it was realistic. Overall, it was interesting to see how Sara Zarr has developed since writing this book. While I preferred How To Save a Life, Sweethearts book was an emotional story about how you can never truly run away from your past.
“Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete.”