Monday, October 1, 2012

Jen's Audiobook Thoughts: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Published: February 1, 2008
Audible, 5 hours, 50 min
Source: purchased
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.


  1. Sara Zarr narrated Sweethearts herself? What!? I did not know. That is such AWESOMESAUCE and I agree, all authors should read their own books. John Green released a special edition audiobook of him reading TFIOS and unfortunately, I heard about it too late otherwsie I TOTALLY would have brought it. I watched him read the first chapter on YouTube and he was amazing. Your right, when the author reads the story, there is NO area for misinterpretation of tones, attitudes, anything because they know there story inside and out; they wrote it.

    Ooh, I'm kinda nervous about the ending though. My sister didn't like the way The Vow ended but I personally liked it. It wasn't the perfect, happily-ever-after tale but it was realistic. And hey, at least it ended on a hopeful note!

    Amazing review, Jen! I've heard great stuff about this and I really must check out Sara soon. I might just have to give the audiobook of this a try! ♥

    1. Rebecca you should DEFINITELY read sweethearts!! one of my favourite books ever ever ever. it's like totally realistic and it tears your heart to shreds but it's the good pain, a pain that lets you know that not everything has a happy ending but that it's ok if it doesn't.

      also - when I read the beginning of tfios i read it in my head in johns voice, such the staying power his voice has!

    2. Piggybacking on Carla (LULZ), it is absolutely realistic and one of those endings where you're like, "Wait, seriously? NUH UH." Kinda open-ended. But I really like those kinds of endings.

  2. I LOVE short audiobooks! I've been meaning to read this one since I like Sara Zarr's other books, so I'll look for this one!

    Also I agree about cleaning more while listening to a good audiobook. I legit don't mind doing dishes or laundry with them!

    1. this is THE BEST ZARR THE BEST! i'm also partial to story of a girl and holy crap is once was lost amazing and don't even get me started on how to save a life.

      I read this in a few painfully heartbreakingly amazing hours so I bet you'd be able to listen to it in no time with nae bother.

  3. I haven't read this, but I do want to! The story sounds incredible, and I'm dying to see what happens to Jennifer/Jenna and Cameron.

  4. YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW HAPPY THIS MAKES MY HEART. honestly this is like one of my favourite ya books in the whole entire universe. zarr is an evil mastermind when it comes to writing books with edges sharp enough to shred you to pieces and that's why I love her books so much, because they're so achingly real they actually cause me emotional distress. I LOVE YOU CAMERON QUICK.

    (p.s. remind me to tell you about my theories about what comes next i.e like after the ending because in my head this story didn't finish when I turned the last page)

    1. Bahahha I will have to email you to get these thoughts. Honestly. Because that ending. THAT FREAKING ENDING.




    And I so agree about the ending, I really wanted a happy, resolved ending with idk, a relationship or something.

    And sigh, I hate myself for saying this, but I did not love the narration of this one, I think I would have rather listened to it being narrated by Jenna Lamia.

  6. Sadly, I never got all the love for Cameron Quick,
    I mean I liked him as a character and all but I didn't swoon.
    And Sweethearts is actually my least liked out of Sarah Zarr's books I've read.

    Though that might be because Jenna often got on my nerves.

  7. Love your review! Read this a while ago and for the life of me can't remember the ending! I'm reading all the comments trying to figure it out. I gotta go reread this.

  8. Love your review! Read this a while ago and for the life of me can't remember the ending! I'm reading all the comments trying to figure it out. I gotta go reread this.