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Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Book Review: Sweethearts
by Sara Zarr
Monday, September 17, 2012
Press Pass Correspondent
Jennifer Harris spent the first half of her life tormented endlessly for her weight and speech problems, all alone as her mother worked tirelessly during the day and went to school at night. Cameron Quick, an awkward and lonely boy, became her only friend and together, they stuck up for each other no matter what. When Cameron leaves suddenly without a goodbye or explanation, Jennifer’s school bullies convince her that her best friend is dead and she is broken, believing that she has lost the one person who understood her. Years later and now in high school, she has transformed herself into Jenna Vaughn, the girl she always wanted to be: thin and perfect. She is popular, has a boyfriend, friends, and lives in a nice house. As much as she would like to, Jenna can’t let go of her past. Her memories continue to haunt her, especially her memories of Cameron. After all this time, Cameron Quick resurfaces, re-entering Jenna’s life and they are both confronted with the memories they shared and Cameron’s even more troubled past.
Jenna and Cameron are characters that many can relate to as being victims of bullying and Jenna does what every teenager wishes to do: reinvents herself. Although we all might fantasize about it, we learn from Jenna’s experience that one can never truly forget one’s past or change who one was meant to be. Her new perfect life and the people in it seem shallow and unnecessary now that Cameron is back, as together they face the demons unleashed by Cameron’s abusive father and rediscover a love that was never really lost by either of these broken children. ‘Sweethearts’ is a novel about the power of memory, the strength of friendship, and the quiet but profound resilience of our childhood hearts. It’s the kind of book that you sink into and become immediately immersed into a world that makes sense whether you have experienced a similar past or not. I didn’t take a single break while reading this book and I assure you it’s one you will love!