Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Release Date: Feb 1st, 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Details: 217 pages, hardcover
Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary
Source: Bought for Kindle

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.

Sweethearts is a title that's been on my wishlist since I started book blogging in 2010 but it was just a book I never really got around to picking up until last week when it went on sale on the Kindle.

Jennifer had a rough childhood, her mom was never home trying to provide them since her dad took off and being bullied in school endlessly for being fat and having a lisp. The only friend she ever had was Cameron, who also had a lisp and a hard upbringing. The two were best friends for the majority of their childhood, enduring bullying together and the tough stuff going on at home. Until one day Cameron left. Just out of the blue was gone. And Jennifer was alone. Completely alone. Years later, Jennifer is now Jenna who lives with her mother and her step father who takes very good care of them both. Everyone loves her, she has an amazing group of friends and a boyfriend. She buried Jennifer. Until one day Cameron comes back.

Let's start with the things I didn't like about this book --- I didn't like Jenna's boyfriend Ethan. He was clingy and demanding and he was a bit of a brat. About everything. The typical, "why didn't you call me last night" crap. Not only that but he says something rude to Jenna without even asking what's bothering her or if someone's going on that she needs to talk about --- you know, being supportive and has the nerve to totally blow her off even though he was the one being a jerk. Unbelievable! The guy seriously needed a reality check. Or a swift kick to the head.

While the tension was high when Cameron came back, I felt like there was no outcome. How would you feel if your only friend growing up vanished and one day came back but wasn't anything at all like who you remembered. Didn't have any answers for you and played life by his own terms? Seriously, why the heck was he there if it wasn't to answer Jenna's questions? You can't just up and leave, come back and expect that person to drop everything to drive you around. It just doesn't work that way. And when he did answer her questions it didn't really feel like he was answering them, if that makes sense. It just annoyed me. And I didn't like how Jenna's mom was more overprotective over Cameron then she ever was with Jenna. Though I can relate that to my own mom being overprotective over my husband, but still.

What I did like about the book was the concept of it all. A friend of mine once said that different people know different versions of you. We're always changing and growing and the person who knows you last year doesn't know the you three years ago, you get what I'm saying? And this applies to Jenna and Cameron. Jenna did change, she "has it all" but Cameron wasn't there to see the struggle in the transformation. And while Jenna got what she wanted, she wasn't who she wanted to be. She was a mirror of who everyone wanted her to be, though it isn't her fault. What else would you do in her situation? I did really like Jenna's friend Steph, she was a little pushy but she gave great advice and I liked her step-dad, he was really supportive over everything.

Sweethearts isn't a heartwarming tale of two people who haven't seen each other in years reuniting; it's about losing someone, realizing who you are and dealing with losing that person again but on different terms. It's about self discovery and the people who can change or help you. And while I wasn't crazy about this read, I'm really glad I finally got to read it!

Sometimes I still stare into space and think about Cameron. I think about there are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark. [...] And I don't mean they change you. A lot of people can change you --- the first kid who called you a name, the first teacher who said you were smart, the first people who crowed you best friend. It's the change you remember, the firsts and what they meant, not really the people. [...] I'm talking about the ones who, for whatever reason, are as much a part of you as your own soul.


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