Student Book Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Teaching in trimesters isn’t really my favorite for a variety of reasons, but I love that it allows me to teach so many sections of my Y.A. Lit class.  The 8th section is wrapping up right now, and I can’t wait to see all of my students’ trimester projects.  My student reviewer today, Allison, chose to study Sara Zarr for her project.  If you aren’t familiar with Sara Zarr, she’s an excellent contemporary Y.A. author who currently has four books available: Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, Once Was Lost, and How to Save a Life.  Including Allison, two other students have researched her and read her books for their projects, all of which turned out great.  Allison is an outstanding student, so I’m really looking forward to her presentation.

Title: Sweethearts

Author: Sara Zarr

Student Reviewer: Allison

Summary (From Goodreads): 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.

Student Review:

Being a single mother is a hard task, especially when your child doesn’t fit in. This is all about Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick, two kids who were outcasts at their school. They had a friendship most people will never have because they were each other’s only friend. Then one day Cameron doesn’t show up to school, and the school bullies tell Jennifer that he died. Jennifer is lost without Cameron and doesn’t know what to do without him.

Eight years later, Jennifer’s mom gets married and Jennifer changes her name to Jenna Vaughn. She lives a pretty normal life at her new school, with her awesome boyfriend, thin body and amazing friends. When Jenna gets a mysterious note on her birthday, everything in her new life goes backwards. She goes through a journey that changes the way she sees things, and she finally realizes what was actually going on to Cameron all those years ago.

I liked how Jennifer/Jenna changed throughout the book, it was neat seeing what her old self was like compared to her new self. Also I really liked when Cameron came back into the story. I liked the character of him when he was a child, but I really liked the way he had grown up and matured since he was gone all of those years.

At first I couldn’t read this book. I started it and just decided that I couldn’t get into it. But I had read all of Sara Zarr’s book so I thought that I should give this book another try. So, I picked it back up, and I actually got into it. It was enjoyable to read because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I think that anyone would like this book because it is not gender specific or anything like that. Jennifer/Jenna is the main character, but there are a few boy characters included such as Ethan and Cameron. I would refer it to someone who likes seeing characters who have internal struggles, but overcomes them. Since Jennifer grew up poor with a mother figure who wasn’t always there I would suggest it to anyone who has family problems.

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