Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Once again I’m on an airplane and not only have just read this entire book on the plane, but will also hopefully be able to write my entry for it and the three other books I’ve got in a backlog situation. I found this book very very moving. (And let me just say what an uncomfortable situation that made—I’m sandwiched between two guys, our arms are all touching, the one guy has to keep getting up, the aisle guy won’t move, it’s all dreadful and not two people I feel like being misty around!)

Jenna is seventeen, popular enough, has a boyfriend, has a great stepdad and mom, and seems pretty happy. This persona is one she has worked hard to create, though. As a child she was chubby and lonely, picked on and tormented, left alone a lot by her mom, and only had one real friend. But what a friend Cameron Quick was. The bond they shared was incredible and they meant the world to each other. And then Cameron disappeared. That was when Jennifer became Jenna. Now, years later Cameron has arrived in her life again and everything is turned upside down.

I really like this book so much. Jenna is a great character-the author really lets you into her emotions and I think Jenna is pretty mature. The relationship between her and Cameron is so touching and intense, and I think it’s not something you typically read about (as it’s not a romance and they are not typical best friends.) A real standout character was Alan, Jenna’s stepfather. He sounded so wonderful, but not over the top, just comfortable, kind, and real. The sort of person you wish you knew.

I think what got me most in the book (and brought a tear to my eye) was the description of Cameron as a little boy rocking a baby doll.

Highly recommended.

Update: here’s a little video taken at conference of me talking about the book


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