Sweethearts by Sara Zarr is the story of a girl, Jennifer "Jenna" Harris, who once had a friend named Cameron Quick. They were both outcasts in elementary school-- Jennifer the fat girl, Cameron the weird boy. Then, suddenly Cameron moves away-- and Jennifer hears that he has died. Years later, Jennifer has become Jenna, a thin, popular, well-adjusted teen. She has never forgotten Cameron Quick, though, and imagine her suprise when he shows up out of the blue one day. Together, they must confront their past and their present-- and find some way to settle the "unfinished business" (as Jenna's mother calls it) between them.
As delectable as the cover looks, Sweethearts didn't quite satisfy me. There wasn't enough substance-- not much really happened. Scenes from Jenna's present life were interspersed with scenes from her past, including a particularly trumatic one that the book centers around. But, I mean... I feel callous saying this, but it just didn't seem trumatic enough. When you finally find out what happened to Jenna, it's sort of... anticlimactic. I told a librarian friend of mine this, and she said, "Yes, but that's how life is." She has a point-- life isn't always climactic. But life isn't always interesting, either.
Sweethearts is a very psycological book (there really isn't much in the way of plot). I like some books like this (Speak, for instance), but it can drag on after a while. Sweehearts didn't drag too much, but it didn't grab me and pull me in, either. It's very well-written, and makes me want to read Zarr's first book, Story of a Girl (which was nominated for the National Book Award). But Sweethearts just... wasn't my cup of tea. Or plate of cookies. Or something.
I give Sweethearts three out of five daggers.
Eating heart-shaped cookies, vaguely disappointed, and yours,