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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  17,967 ratings  ·  1,756 reviews
After losing her soul mate, Cameron, when they were nine, Jennifer, now seventeen, transformed herself from the unpopular fat girl into the beautiful and popular Jenna, but Cameron's unexpected return dredges up memories that cause both social and emotional turmoil.
Hardcover, 217 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,967 ratings  ·  1,756 reviews

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Jan 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Aj the Ravenous Reader
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Neil (or bleed)
Shelves: young-adult
""Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete."

I read this as a way to cure my reading slump thinking this would be a cutesy read but I once again committed this fatal flaw of judging the book by its cover.

But although I erred about this being a light, easy read, I'm still very glad that I read the book because this is one of the most genuine realistic YA fiction I've ever read.

At the age of nine, Jennifer or more popularly
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
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
Neil (or bleed)
“Life was mostly made up of things you couldn’t control, full of surprises, and they weren’t always good. Life wasn’t what you made it. You were what life made you.”

When I saw it on the bookstore I didn't hesitate to buy it because hello it's a Sara Zarr's book. This is the third book I've read from her; first is Roomies, then How to Save A Life which both I really like.

The first time I read the synopsis I thought this will be a typical love story of kiss-y kiss-y and whatnot but I am mistak
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
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Krista Regester
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my second time around reading Sweethearts. I love the story so much and I love how the characters grow and develop throughout. Sara Zarr has a way of developing characters with intense backstories without using very many pages. Jennifer and Cameron are both survivors that help each other get through things no child should experience. The "unfinished business" of their story almost breaks my heart because I will always want more from them.
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
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
“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 w
Jan 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: love-the-jacket
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
Jul 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
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!
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
Dec 15, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Melannie :)
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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.
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it

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,
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Paige Statler
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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

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
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Hallie Szott

Not the story I expected + Jenna and Cameron were both frustrating, but still a good story.

Reading Challenge Categories:
-February Bookish Bingo: Heart on the cover
-#ReadingUSA: Utah
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Brenda M
May 04, 2017 added it
Shelves: finished
this is the best teenage drama book I have read but the end got me so sad I hated it and I love it it was a very interesting book and dramatic.It has much to do with the drama life and the teen life.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
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Sweethearts 7 107 Jan 23, 2015 02:24PM  
Crazy for Young A...: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr → Start Date: June 13, 2013 61 28 Jun 15, 2013 08:02PM  
Jenna & Cam 6 66 May 23, 2013 04:12PM  
Forever Young Adu...: Sweethearts! (no spoilers!) 1 14 Apr 02, 2013 07:11AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr 1 2 Mar 30, 2013 01:16PM  

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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 ...more

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