As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also each other's only friend. SO when Cameron disappeared without warning, Jennifer thought she'd lost the one person who would ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she is 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 both are confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have take.
Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.From Me: It's the kind of a book you sink into and feel immersed in the world and story. It was a quiet but compelling read and I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. Zarr has this way of writing so that her sentences are emotive in the most subtle and unassuming of ways. I don't know how she does it, as her prose is quite simple, yet I felt moved as the story unfolded and I was captivated by both Jenna and Cameron's story.
Cameron and Jenna are achingly flawed and struggling within themselves. The romance between them may be understated compared to other wildly falling-in-love YA, but the bond between them feels all the more stronger for it. It actually felt real.
At the end, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I liked this one more than Zarr's Story of a Girl which had the same lingering, quiet emotional feel about it. This story will definitely linger and the message resonates. Especially Cameron's story which is painful and makes you want to reach into the book and wipe his past and pain away.
I don't want to say too much, as I really enjoyed reading it without knowing the direction the plot will take. But I will say, I think Zarr has her own little niche at really tapping into how teens think and feel and she presents a realistic struggle without making things easy on the characters or giving readers the happily ever after that so many books create.
It's like a blend of: Bloom - Elizabeth Scott and The Only Alien on the Planet - Kristen Randle (in terms of plot, themes, feel), but really Zarr has her own style that is different from other YA authors. I recommend it if you like realistic contemporary reads and are not afraid of a not-so-perfect ending...
Oh - and the cover = <3. It has a lovely matt texture and the eaten heart matches the themes in the book and the use of white space is evocative.