March 6, 2009
By Anonymous

In the novel Sweethearts by author Sara Zarr, protagonist Jennifer Harris was an obvious pariah as a child. She was the typical overweight, nerdy girl that no one gave the time of day. Fortunately, she had her only friend Cameron Quick, who she could share this with. She and Cameron shared much more than ordinary friends, with Jennifer experiencing Cameron's abusive home, and Cameron being the only one to understand Jennifer's self-conscious self. But when Cameron abruptly leaves without warning, Jennifer is confused, but mostly devastated. She's left friendless and alone in a complicated world she begins to hate. When Jennifer and her family move to a new home, it gives her the chance to start over again. Changing her name from 'Jennifer' to 'Jenna', she enters junior high fitting in like a normal kid. As the years pass, Jenna becomes social and popular, fitting in with the crowd she once never considered. Even though her new life is going well, her previous life, the life as an overweight unacknowledged girl, the life with Cameron Quick, seems to stick with her like a shadow.
But one day, when Cameron reappears, that shadow becomes more of a reality. Jenna is shocked, wondering why he's back, and why he left in the first place. As she and Cameron begin to reconnect, going back to the memories of their past life together, Cameron never quite answers any of Jenna's questions. His reappearance seems to have mixed up Jenna's world, instead of clearing the unfinished business. Jenna may never realize the importance of his reappearance, until it is too late. Their reconnection is fascinating, going back to the time before Cameron left, a time that Jenna will never forgot. Zarr does an excellent job creating mood and plot in the story, making the novel an extreme tearjerker. This short, but strong novel makes one rethink the reason of some things in life, and to never doubt someone when they make a wrong turn. Sweethearts is a novel that one learns, has more meaning than the words on the page.

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