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Sweethearts

by Sara Zarr

Published by Little, Brown, 2008
217 pages
ISBN: 978-0316014557

Age 13 and older

Podcast featuring this book

Jennifer Harris is teased mercilessly by her elementary-school classmates who call her “Fattifer” and make fun of her lisp. Her only friend is another social outcast, Cameron Quick. Jennifer and Cameron have a connection that helps them both survive tough times at home and at school. When Cameron disappears suddenly in fifth grade, rumors circulate that he has died. Jennifer’s overworked single mother will only say that he “has gone to a better place.” Fast-forward several years to Jennifer’s senior year in high school. She’s moved, started attending a different school, changed her name to Jenna, lost weight, and has completely reinvented herself. She has a gorgeous boyfriend and now hangs with the popular kids. Her life seems to be picture perfect until Cameron suddenly appears again, as a new student at her school. Cameron’s reappearance makes Jenna completely reevaluate who she really is and who her friends are, as well as question why her mother lied to her so many years before. She must also face a horrible event that happened to her and Cameron when they were eleven, something that is slowly and skillfully revealed to readers through a series of flashbacks. In her second novel, Sara Zarr once again shows her gift for portraying teens living on the margins, by showing the complexity of childhood and adolescent social dynamics. Her depiction of understated family conflict adds further depth and verisimilitude to an original and engaging novel. (KTH) ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center


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