Review - Sweethearts - Sarah Zarr

SweetheartsTitle: Sweethearts
Author: Sara Zarr
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: February 1 2008
Pages: 217, Hardback
Source: Library book
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.
When I saw Sweethearts at the library, I knew it was a book I simply needed to read. The cover is gorgeous and sweet, the blurb intriguing. I thought it might be a fluffy contemporary, with the same monotonous storyline and shallow characters that more often than not plagues the Young Adult Contemporary genre. Thankfully, I was proven wrong, Sweethearts was a beautiful story with depth to it that is not often found in a contemporary romance. Sweethearts contained a sweetness to it that was similar to the taste of melted chocolate oozing over my tongue. Sweethearts is one of my favourite books this year, it has everything I could ever need in a YA contemporary. And I, Kyra, am about to tell you why.

The writing was addictive, like a chocolate cake oozing sticky goodness that even though you know you shouldn't, you can't help but have slice after slice after slice. I haven't actually read an unputdownable book since reading Divergent and Sweethearts was definitely, one hundred percent unputdownable. The chapters were short and sweet. Always hanging on a  cliffhanger that made me read the next chapter, no matter how many other things I needed to do, or how late it was. I had to read as much as I could until I felt satisfied, then I would skulk off to do what I needed to do, with only the thought of finishing Sweethearts on my mind. Sweethearts is the kind of book that will keep you reading till four in the morning. Sweethearts is a relatively short book with only 217 pages and I read more than half in about two or three hours and finished it off the second day. While I was reading it, all I could think was "I don't want this book to end, its so goooooooood!!!" and then I'd shake the book, giving it a crazed stare and begging it to go on forever. Yep. It didn't obey. -.-.

I loved some characters and hated others. 

Who I loved:
I LOVED Jennifer and Cameron, they were so relatable and strong. I could just imagine the turmoil Cameron had to face when he got home from school and how even when he had a bitter home life, he still was there for Jennifer and helped her through all the teasing and the taunting at school. When he came back to Jenna's life after eight years he was still the same sweet Cameron, and even though he had been gone, he was still there in a sense, still looking out for Jenna.

I liked Jennifer. When she was smaller, at school alone, with no friends and no one to talk to, it was heartbreaking. I could imagine the pain she felt when she came to home, with no mother to talk to as her mom would be rushing between her two jobs, trying to make a living. When the story jumps back into the past (its told in past and present, which I'm a huge fan of!) you see the friendship develop between Cameron and Jennifer, and its the sweetest most innocent friendship I've ever experienced reading about in a young adult novel.

I also loved Jennifer's mom and step-dad, Alan. Jennifer's mom worked hard as a young mother to try and support her family. When we jump to the present and you find out Jennifer's mom married Alan, I was super excited for them all! Jennifer now had a family to come home to, she lived in a lovely house, went to a really good school and now had a great life. Alan was a great step-father that loved Jenna and wanted the best for her.

Jennifer also had made some great friends at her new school and had a hot boyfriend. I actually didn't like any of Jenna's friends except Steph. Steph stuck by Jenna even after all the drama with Cameron and the only one who was there for her. Steph was a great friend, but I'd love to have got to know her more :)

Who I didn't love:
Well, the obvious, I hated Cameron's father. A pig of man. I can't believe he did that to Cameron. I'm not going to say anymore as you need to find out what he did. You'll. Be. Shocked.

I didn't like Jenna's other friends. Katy was annoying and didn't care for Jenna's feeling/emotions/interests at all. It was all about her trying to get Cameron to like her. Ethan, Jenna's boyfriend was whiny, jealous and clingy. He consistently called Jenna, wanting to know what she was doing and he was horrible to her on the night of the Halloween party. 


I enjoyed the plot, it kept me pleasantly surprised. I loved how the chapters rotated from the past and back to the present, you could really empathize with the character more so than before, now knowing what they had experienced and why past experiences shaped them into the people they are today. 

There wasn't really romance in this book, which was quite surprising. I was a little bit disappointed by the ending as I was expecting Cameron to stay on and be with Jenna, for them to be a couple that would stay together until they grew old, but unfortunately this didn't happen. I really hope that Sara Zarr writes a sequel to Sweethearts, as I will never tire of reading about Jennifer and Cameron, I am sure of it.

Sweethearts was a brilliant story that captures the meaning of true friendship as well as holding the picture of innocence of childhood love. A story that will tug at your heart strings, neglecting your chores to just read Sweethearts, falling into the magical world of Sara's writing. Sweethearts will teach you many lessons about the hardships in life, but at the same time showing you what can bring you through, while making you a better person for it. If you read Sweethearts you will not regret it, one of the best books I've read this year.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!