Jenna thought her childhood best friend Cameron was dead, but when he shows up at her high school 8 years later, she must confront demons long buried and deal with unresolved issues with her family.
I was very impressed with the way Sara Zarr built the suspense in Sweethearts. I was aching to find out where Cameron had been, aching for Jenna to talk to him, aching to see their childhood love burst into adolescent fruition. I could almost barely stand to read it, I hurt so much on Jenna’s behalf–and I mean that as a compliment. It gave me the same kind of heartache I used to get watching Some Kind of Wonderful over and over and over again (“where do your hands go?” “i don’t know.” “wrong. they go on her hips.”)
I really like the way Zarr handles the first person, compressing and expanding time for emotional impact, and layering exposition and backstory in so that they move the story forward. She’s also great with small details of character and with tapping into the big emotions that surge through teenagers. I think I liked this one better than Story of a Girl, Zarr’s first, and I’m looking forward to her next.