Published: February 1, 2008
Audible, 5 hours, 50 min
GoodReads Summary: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 she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.
When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.
From the National Book Award nominated author of Story of a Girl, Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.
You know how you're dying to read a love story that doesn't end up the way you want it to, but when you finally find said story, you want to cry because "DAMNIT. WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST OPT FOR THE CHEESY ENDING?" (Looking at you, The Vow.) Well, Sweethearts was that story for me. But you know what? I'm glad. I'm glad this story made me yearn. I can't remember the last time I yearned.
I really started out loving Jennifer-turned-Jenna. Though I don't agree with how she abandoned the name Jennifer with her difficulty past. Listen, we've all dealt with mean girls and ridicule, but Jennifers? We overcome and rise above. I am here to advocate for that. Anyway, Jennifer/Jenna loses weight, "loses" Cameron to an unfortunate fate, loses the mean girls, and becomes popular in her new school. She gets a new boyfriend, who is your obligatory star jock and All American Good Guy. Then Cameron Quick shows up and everything gets turned upside down, naturally.
So I remember reading about Cameron Quick and how FYA totally geeked out over him. I see why. I do. Dude was dealt a rough hand as a child and overcame his past in a big way. He really is a contender for the reigning ruler of Broken Boys with Redeeming Qualities. But unlike most BBRQs, he hasn't opted for assholism. He's still the sweet, strong boy that Jennifer/Jenna fell in childhood love with. And poor boyfriend (whose name I can't remember and can't find in the GoodReads summary, but I think his name was Kyle?) really gets the shaft. I know he was a little pushy and kind of a jerk for that, but for all Jenna's shady behavior, he should win boyfriend of the year. And if you want to eat donuts and cookies when you're sad? DO IT. Eat that shiz, girl, and ENJOY IT. That's my one and only gripe about Jenna.
For real. It's Cameron Quick. I don't really blame her.
There's lots of tension, angst, and YEARNING in Sweethearts. Though I listened to it on audio and it was 5+ hours (which is short for an audiobook), I flew through this baby. I listened at every single opportunity I was given. I ENJOYED cleaning the house when it meant I could listen to Sweethearts. Listening to Cameron and Jenna's meaningful eye contact made me scrub my bathtub with a newfound vigor. And the fact that Sara Zarr herself narrated made it all the more authentic. All authors should narrate their own stories, because there's no area for misinterpretation of tones, attitudes, anything. And I really can't hate on the ending. It was what needed to happen. And it was beautiful. I just want to take Jenna and Cameron and smush their faces together.