Sweethearts
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Sweethearts

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  12,534 ratings  ·  1,401 reviews
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 s...more
Hardcover, 217 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Wendy Darling
3.5 stars I have only read one Sara Zarr book before this one, 2011's How to Save a Life, and as I read Sweethearts all I could think about was how much the author has grown as a writer in the three years since this one was written. I love the theme of this book overall, which explores the bittersweetness of people coming in and out of your life; I didn't even mind that we don't learn as many details about what happened to Cameron back in the past as we might've hoped. Or that the main character...more
Jami
Bleh. I kept thinking I would start liking this book, but I never did. I just wasn't sympathetic to the character at all, and I felt like the author was shoving it down my throat that I should sympathize with this poor girl who has had it so hard.

And through the whole book, she keeps alluding to this deep, dark secret thing that happened to her as a child . . . you get little pieces of that story as mini-flashbacks, but she doesn't reveal the whole thing, to keep you in suspense, I guess. Final...more
Nomes
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 rom...more
Regina
There are some friends in my past, from high school and college, that I really miss. I don't know why I lost touch with them but I did. I am talking about people I feel that marked me in an indelible way and yet somehow situations shifted and we were no longer in touch. This was before cell phones and emails, maybe it would be different now, if I was growing up now. Maybe not. But every now and again I am sad about it, about the loss of them -- wondering where we would be as friends if I had don...more
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
I expected to like Sweethearts a lot. I thought it would be a super-cute romance. But it's an hour after reading, and I'm in shock. This is a book that delves much deeper than romance. It's a book that stays with you and demands that you think about it afterwards.

It's very hard for me to tell you much of what happens in Sweethearts without spoiling things, but suffice to say that each and every character, from Jenna to Cameron to Estelle the fish has an important role to play in this novel - and...more
Molly
I know STORY OF A GIRL was a National Book Award finalist, but I didn't love it--while the story was realistic, the main character just wasn't one that I clicked with as a reader. But I've been reading Sara's blog off-and-on for a good while and really appreciate that she always has really interesting things to say. I'd been more than curious to read SWEETHEARTS ever since she said on there awhile back that she'd been thinking and writing about how "we all have the faces we show to the people we...more
Mands
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr is a heartbreaking story of two kids, Jennifer and best friend Cameron. The book opens eight years earlier, on Jennifer’s ninth birthday. They are at Cameron’s house, his dad is home and he is hassling Cameron and then Jennifer as well. Jennifer shares with us the beginning of this memory and then we jump forward to the present day, her seventeenth birthday, a day which she hates due to that memory. Jennifer and Cameron were both from poor families and she was a chubby,...more
Sam
Sweethearts disappointed me.

Jennifer and Cameron were best friends in Elementary, the two outcasts that the other children picked on. When Cameron disappeared without even saying 'good-bye', Jennifer knew it was time to change. Now Jennifer's in high school, pretty, popular and completely different from the girl she was when she was younger. When Cameron reappears, they are both reminded of their shared childhood memories. Since they last saw each other 8 years ago, their lives have taken two di...more
Ally
It needs a better ending! I think I am going to try to stay out of the young adult books now because all of them have the same problem! The ending!
Jo
Oct 26, 2011 Jo rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
“I do have more memories of Cameron, things I know for sure, good and bad. Like: (…) How us being together all the time made us a bigger target, the whole of our exile being greater than the sum of our outcast parts. How we didn’t care because we had each other.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I loved that ending and it was so perfect and exactly what would happen if this book was real life… but I couldn’t help being underwhelmed by the whole story. I wish I hadn’t started off my Zarr-ventures with...more
Maree
Jennifer and Cameron were best friends in primary school, creating an intense bond despite the fact they were both social outcasts. On Jennifer’s ninth birthday her and Cameron are confronted by his dad and it is a traumatic experience for both of them. Cameron and Jennifer continue to be best friends until one day in fifth grade Cameron doesn’t come to school. Eventually the teachers tell Jennifer that Cameron and his family moved away. She is devastated – how could he leave without saying good...more
babyhippoface
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holly
Nine-year-old Jennifer Harris, cursed with a lisp and baby fat, is friendless until she gets up to the courage to talk to Cameron Quick, a poor, awkward boy who is also a social outcast. They are instant soul mates until Cameron mysteriously moves away without saying good bye. Eight years later Jennifer Harris has become Jenna Vaughn, a skinny, popular high-schooler with a hunky boyfriend. Yet she is still haunted by the memories of her childhood friend. When Cameron suddenly reappears at school...more
Melannie :)
Jun 04, 2011 Melannie :) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melannie :) by: Kayleigh
Shelves: read-2011
I don't know what I expected when I first read this' book description. But it's safe to say that it wasn't what I got.
This book is raw, it is tragic and nostalgic but it's full of hope too. And love.

I've never read a book about the kind of love this two teenagers have. Jennifer and Cameron, they were best friends
back in elementary school. Actually they were each other's only friend. Due to the fact that they were practicaly
the only non-mormon kids in their school, and also Jennifer was overweigh...more
Kristi
Finally Jena is the person she wants to be. No longer is she Jennifer Harris from her elementary school days. She isn’t fat anymore, she doesn’t live in a crummy apartment and she isn’t teased anymore.

The new girl, Jena, has it all. She is popular, has a boyfriend, a handful of friends, and lives in a nice house. As much as she would like, Jena can’t let go of her past. Her memories continue to haunt her, especially her memories of Cameron. Cameron Quick was Jennifer’s only friend in elementary...more
Ali
Dec 05, 2008 Ali rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like ROMANCE..
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Jenifer was a fat kid with only one friend. I also was I fat kid when I was little, people picked at me all the time. It was sad, I usually went home in tears. Jenifer was not the richest kid at kid either. Cameron was Jenifer’s one friend. Jenifer and Cameron were always together. Cameron even lived with Jenifer and her mother for a week. Jenifer’s father left her mother. Cameron had a hard life. Cameron’s father seemed kina of crazy, to me. Once when it was Jenifer’s bi...more
Kim  *Mo Chridhe*
I bought three more Sara Zarr books immediately after finishing How to Save a Life - this being one of them. Her writing spoke to me like a Marchetta novel does, although her stories seem sadder. I saved them for when I craved something emotionally distressing to read, but unfortunately, this didn't quite hit the right buttons.

Sweethearts was the story of Jennifer and Cameron, childhood best friends who were separated after a tragic event. Jennifer was the kid whom no one wanted to hang out wit...more
Brooke
Wow. Great read! So many emotions! Totally... Gutwrenching. I loved this book, although at times it was a tad slow and a little depressing. I read it in about 4 hours straight, which I very rarely do. The ending wasn't as I hoped but there's s beautiful lesson here about friendship and what it really means to love someone with all you have, even if no one else understands or knows why. Definitely worth a read, and I'll be reading more by Sara Zarr soon.
Nancy
Maybe this is more of a meditation-using-fiction than it is a novel. It's a beautiful evocation of how it feels when someone has a permanent effect on you but it simply can't be seen or understood from the outside. The years-later epilogue that some have found odd was a necessity, I felt, to make it clear that there could not be a romantic ending -- something the adult knows but the teenager doesn't.
Kelly
3.5.

I purposely went into this one not having read any reviews and not knowing what the real meat of the story was. In many ways I'm glad I did, and in other ways, I wish I had been more prepared. This was a powerful but painful read. I'm about the last person to read it, but I waited because I wanted to save it for when I needed a good, strong contemporary. Consider this one to have delivered.

Jenna's new identity in high school is her saving grace. It's what's helped her move on from the past,...more
Cory
This book fails in the exact same way Story of a Girl failed. Story of a Girl is the superior book, but it's flaws were disguised under decent plot lines and an interesting main character. Sweetheart lacks a plot, which isn't a problem when you're writing a character driven story. Unfortunately, the characters in Sweethearts, even the main character Jenna, are all two dimensional. While in Story of a Girl, only one plot line fell flat because of weak characterization, in Sweethearts all of the s...more
Shannon
I really wanted to like this book, but there was something about it that just didn't ring true.

First of all, growing up as one of the only Mormons in a non-Mormon area, the references to being a non-Mormon in Mormon country struck me as someone throwing in all these references to mean Mormons just because she's got a chip on her shoulder. Yes, I know what it's like to be the one that doesn't fit in religiously (yes, some people are that stupid--both Mormons and non-Mormons alike in how they trea...more
K
Sep 07, 2011 K rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011, ya
So beautiful. I wish things could have been different.
Paige
I was never bullied or picked on when I was in middle school, but novelist
made me feel as if I had been there right along with main character Jennifer Harris.
The story of how as a child Jennifer was ridiculed and bullied. But making it
through with her one and only friend Cameron Quick. Then suddenly he
disappears.

Cameron Quick is the only reason I kept reading this book. He made me feel all
of his emotions. I suffered right along with him. He also was so open. I never
had to guess what he was...more
Katy
I think this was a bittersweet story about a two childhood sweethearts who grew up to find each other again. It definitely wasn't a cute, fun read. Interestingly, I wasn't sucked into the story the entire way through, and I did feel Zarr made Cameron and Jenna's past just a little too over the top, but I did sympathize with the them and the other characters in this book.

The reason why I didn't rate this book higher was because I didn't feel that Jenna really showed much character development unt...more
Elena
Apr 11, 2013 Elena rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who've read every Sarah Dessen novel and need something to tide them over until the next one
So, you know when it's dinnertime and you're kinda hungry, but you don't really feel like making anything, or you don't have any food in the house and you're too lazy to go out and get some groceries, and so you just have toast? And the toast does its job and fills you up, but there's nothing special about it? It's not the best toast you've ever tasted, you don't close your eyes and say, "Mmmmmm!" while you're eating it. It's just filler.

This book was the literary equivalent of toast for dinner....more
~Tina~
Heartbreaking:)
I went into this book knowing that's it's depressing, despite the title and cover.
Sure enough, this was a very sad, very sweet and a very beautiful read.
Some bonds can never be broken or forgotten and this is what Sweethearts is about.

Jenna and Cameron have a cold childhood history that connects them for the rest of there lives. Even when apart, they are in each others very soul. This was brilliantly bittersweet, and my heart hurt for the both of them.
Apart of me wishes it could o...more
Heather
Sweethearts was....well, about two elementary sweethearts, but they are more best friends than true sweethearts.

The book is suspenseful, and the chapters fluctuate between past and present, eventually bringing the plot full circle. The suspense builds to the point where I was almost disappointed in what came to pass because my imagination ran wild with, "What could have happened that the girl is taking so long to express?" The reality of what happened was bad, yes, but not as bad as it could ha...more
Flannery
Nov 06, 2010 Flannery rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cassi, Maureen, Alexis
Recommended to Flannery by: www.foreveryoungadult.com
The last chapter or so of this book made me really nostalgic for my friends. It made me want to call them each up to tell them why I love them so much and to just hear their voices. Though, like any other book, there were aspects of this book that I didn't like (that I will leave out for the sake of not having spoilers), there were far more moments where I felt a connection with the characters, I felt the emotions, and I felt like the words and descriptions Zarr used were perfect.

I read this bo...more
Zemira Warner
So I was up last night till 5AM reading this book. I gotta say I liked it very much. It isn't your typical high-school romance. Well it's more of a book about friendship and old memories then about hooking up with a mysterious guy from your past.
It was refreshing to read this kind of a book because I tend to read only those which have a epic love story.
I liked the fact how easy is to relate to this story and the characters and it never gets boring.
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Sweethearts 5 94 Nov 16, 2013 05:03AM  
Crazy for Young A...: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr → Start Date: June 13, 2013 61 23 Jun 15, 2013 08:02PM  
Jenna & Cam 6 57 May 23, 2013 04:12PM  
Forever Young Adu...: April meeting date 15 32 Apr 26, 2013 09:50PM  
Forever Young Adu...: Sweethearts! (no spoilers!) 1 11 Apr 02, 2013 07:11AM  
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Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at www.sarazarr.co...more
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“. . .There are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark. . . Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business. Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to define those hundred ways, describe them even to yourself, words are useless.” 460 likes
“Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete.” 187 likes
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