Book info

Sweethearts (2008)

Sweethearts (2008)
Author
Rating
3.64 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
0316014559 (ISBN13: 9780316014557)
languge
English
publisher
little, brown and company
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Sweethearts (2008)
Sweethearts (2008)

About book: “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 with How To Save a Life because that book spoiled me. But even though I wasn’t too struck with the story and the characters… the writing, in true Zarr form, was breath-taking and toe-tingling. High Points.Cameron. Jennifer. Drama club. The past. Strength. Friendship. Childhood. First loves. Security. Letters. Dollhouses. Family. Cheap, blue rings. That ending. Low Points.You know when you finish a book and you’re like: eh. But you can’t pinpoint why? This was one of those books for me. I didn’t like Jenna as a narrator and I’m not sure why. I wish this book had been told from Jennifer’s p.o.v, I connected with her a lot more and I would have loved to see what she would have come up with.Also, and I hate to keep comparing it to HTSAL… but I’m gonna do it anyway, I so wish that this book was told from dual perspective. Cameron’s story was so compelling and the snapshots I got just wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel like I knew him at all. I love the cover but it gives me the overwhelming urge to snaffle delicious sweet treats all the live long day. Heroine.Just building on more of what I said above, Jenna was a tricky heroine. I didn’t hate her and she wasn’t too dumb or that much of a push-over and she kind of had a good head on her shoulders.I feel like I may need to use more italics to emphasize my point. It seemed like Jenna was just there. She wasn’t making waves and I like my heroines to make waves.Jennifer on the other hand (who was Jenna before she became Jenna… don’t worry, she’s not an alien. OR IS SHE?!) was brilliant. She was feisty, she was strong, she was no nonsense, but she was also vulnerable and I had a lot of time for her. I just couldn’t help but think Jenna was a shell of what she used to be and it made me sad. Maybe that was the point…. But it still made me sad. Love Interest. Hero.Yeah, he’s a hero, right?He’s definitely not a love interest… unless you count mine. Which then, yeah he’s totally a love interest. Sorry… what was I saying?Oh yes Cameron. Oooh Cameron. You little cherub.I won’t talk too much about you because I think you’re background is best not known if you haven’t read the book.But I loved you in the past, the present and the future. And I wish we’d heard things for your side.Also, I always thought that sending anonymous bouquets of “sun golden” roses was the epitome of romance… and it still is.But, let me tell you, making a girl a dollhouse for her birthday from scratch would come pretty damn close.Theme Tune.Basic Space by The XXWhenever listen to The XX is always have this urge to turn the lights off in my room, crawl under the covers and just immerse myself within their music. The same thing goes when I read a book by Ms Zarr. "I’m setting us in stonePiece by piece before I’m aloneAir tight before we breakKeep it inKeep us safe"Fragility, desperation, loss, hope, determination, love. When I thought of Jenna and Cameron’s relationship, I instantly thought of this song.It's just stunning.“I’ve been underwaterBreathin’ out and inI’m think I’m losin’ where you end and I begin”Boy Angst.2/10. You’ll probably wonder why I’ve even bothered putting this in because the scoring is so low. But I wanted to include two points, not for Jenna, but for me. This is just a personal gripe but it annoys me so much:Why do YA heroines always need a mysterious and sexy boy with dark hair to make them realise that their current boyfriend is dull, boring, chauvinistic and blonde not right for them?Ethan: Whatever with you and your entire existence. Sadness Scale.8/10. You’ll probably wonder why, seeing as I’ve been whinging all the way through this review, I’ve given it such a high rating. This is all down to Ms Zarr’s ability to write emotion like it’s coming from her soul. Or something equally as dramatic and metaphorical. Her writing is so subtle and quiet but oh my gosh can she pack a punch when she wants to. Her writing is so raw and powerful that even though I wasn’t fussed about Jenna, I couldn’t look away just in case I missed a sentence that made my heart tremble. We all know that there’s certain Aussie lady who can portray human emotions in this way (and when I say this I mean clutch at your heart and shake your soul and make your muscles ache with the beauty of the words and… um well, you get it) but I have to say, judging by the feeling of shock, awe, numbness and understanding I feel after I’ve finished one of her books, Ms Zarr is standing right beside her. I don’t want to go into the nitty gritty of the story, because like I said, it’s best not knowing.But this book is truly sad considering every thing that happens to the characters in the past and the present. However, the issues are dealt with tact, understanding and, most importantly, without judgement.Recommended for.People who like to read books that are about friendship. People who aren’t fussed about a clear happily-ever-after. People who like dollhouses. People who have ever wished they could press the reset button on their life. People who like it when they get notes in their lunchboxes. People who enjoy Milky Ways. People who have ever wondered what happened to their primary school crush. (Basically, he got HOT)You can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here

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 with. Her mom was a single mother who worked long hours and went to nursing school at night, leaving her on her own most of the time. As a result, she didn't always have clean clothes, didn't always eat right and didn't always behave. She shoplifts, steals food, and binge-eats when she feels sad. She often gets bullied at school and had no friends until Cameron befriends her. They had each other, and it didn't matter that they didn't have any other friends. But Cameron was harboring a secret. He'd often miss school, or come to school silent, and a few days later he'd come around and act his normal self as if nothing happened. One absence turned out longer than usual and Jennifer started to worry about him, especially after they had a shared experience which led to her finding out his secret. At first she thought that he moved away and just didn't say goodbye, but the bullies at school told her that he died. None of her teachers or even her mom denied this, and so she believed that Cameron was truly dead. After that, she mourned him and buried herself along with her memories of him.Fast forward to eight years later, Jennifer Harris is now Jenna Vaughn. She's no longer the overweight kid who had no friends. After her mom started working as a nurse and remarried, they moved to a nicer neighborhood. Jenna switched schools and was able to reinvent herself. She was a popular kid who did well in school, had a group of friends and a cute boyfriend. Life was steady and good until her 17th birthday when she unexpectedly receives a letter from Cameron saying that he was back. There were parallels between this and HtSaL. I particularly thought that Zarr uses the mother-daughter relationship subplot quite effectively. They're neither close nor are they enemies, but there's a level of discomfort and a need to sweep things under the rug rather than confront each other. At first glance the main issue seems to be about Cameron - why he disappeared, what happened to him in the years between and why he's back. But the discovery to be made is really about Jenna and the effect Cameron's leaving had on her. When he came back, her life was turned upside down and memories started flooding back. Feelings of hurt, confusion and abandonment resurfaced and these made her question her relationship with her mom, her friends, her boyfriend and even how she views herself. I easily connected to Jenna but had trouble understanding Cameron. I appreciated that he was not made to look like a pitiful character despite traumatic events in his life but in the end, I felt that the unfinished business remained unfinished. For instance, he said that he came back for Jenna. Okay, and then what? I didn't feel that there was any ploy to pull what they had in the romantic direction (like in Eleanor & Park) but I also didn't understand what he wanted to achieve in terms of their relationship. I liked that he was an independent man-child who genuinely loved Jenna and was concerned about how his presence affected her life. Jenna, on the other hand, appeared like a shallow teen who was mainly concerned about pleasing others. (view spoiler)[She may not be a victim of abuse like Cameron was, but (hide spoiler)]
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Reviews
babyhippoface
Hmmm.... Clearly, I am in the minority where this book is concerned. And I am wondering if it's because I didn't read it with my eyes, but with my ears. Print vs. Audiobook: Does It Make a Difference? I'm thinking maybe it does.I liked Jenna Vaughn, but I grew a little impatient with her. I wanted her to just give her friends a perfunctory explanation and let it be enough. I wanted her to stop obsessing over Cameron Quick. I wanted her to be more assertive with moody Cameron and keep asking for
Sam
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 different paths.It sounds really interesting and exciting, right? You all want to know how their lives have changed? You all want to know what happens? Well, I can tell you now that this book was one big disappointment. Nothing really happened, the characters were dull and I didn't really feel anything while reading the book.Jennifer is a confused, whiny, weak and annoying teenage girl with nothing interesting to say. One thing that really bugged me was the fact that she had a boyfriend, Ethan, who was both pushy and needy. He wants to have sex with Jennifer at any moment that their parents aren't at home. And you know what makes it worst? Whenever they did have sex Cameron was on her mind! Oh god, what a messed up girl. She keeps saying how she loveed Ethan, blahblahblah, but it's LIES! ALL LIES!Another thing: Nothing happened. All the book is really about is a teenage girl remembering her past while falling for a guy she hardly knows. I felt that the book had no excitement, no gripping story line and no real purpose. Half the time I was wondering what Jennifer was rambling on about. I have seen many reviews that say that this book was amazing and perfect for those who love romance. All I can say is: WHAT ROMANCE?! ARE THE WORDS PRINTED IN INVISIBLE INK?! AM I MISSING SOMETHING?! There. Was. No. Romance. What are you on about? Yes, there was pointless sex and relationship ups and downs, but romance? No, no, no! I think we're talking about different books. There was nothing romantic or worth the title 'romantic' in this book. None whatsoever.The only reason I'm rating this book 2 is because I liked Cameron's letter at the end, I felt that it was well thought out and touching.Sweethearts is one of those books that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. End of. Good-bye. The end.Read more of my reviews at Falling Books!
~Tina~
Heartbreaking:)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 of been different for them in the end, but when I think about it, it's better this way. I'm even surprised that I liked it so much, considering what this book entails, but it leaves a certain mark on you that you can't seem to forget.Moving, touching, memorable. A heart aching read.
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