Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.
I’ve been a smartass reviewer since my return as opposed to the gushy girl I like to think I am. It’s not that I’ve grown more cynical and caustic in my absence; I’ve got a backlist of books to blog and I like to take cheap shots at the mediocre books before I tackle the good ones.
Sweethearts. Read in November. Too lazy or too scared or too blocked to blog about until now. Usually, when a book is OMG-I’ve-died-and-gone-to-Heaven-and Heaven-is Scotland-with-a-hundred-dancing-nude-Jamie-Frasers, I tend to become tongue tied.
Sweethearts is such a book. Jennifer and Cameron are childhood sweethearts. Outcasts in school, neglected at home, they are best friends, they are each others’ only friend. One day, Cameron disappears and Jennifer is lead by her mother, in what I’m sure is an act of good parenting, to believe Cameron is dead. A few years down the line, Jennifer has reinvented herself as Jenna. Jenna is slim and pretty and popular. Jenna has a Zac Efron-esque boyfriend complete with floppy man bangs.
Then Cameron returns…He brings the past with him and a bundle of complications.
Sweethearts is the real deal. It’s a YA romance (if it could be coined a romance) that goes much deeper. The characters, particularly Cameron and Jenna, are fully realized; they have conversations that feels authentic, that dives into deeper regions, that has as many layers as an onion.
I’m probably getting this completely wrong, but Sweethearts feels like a soul mate story (to me, anyways). It’s about having a strong, lifetime connection to someone that baffles everyone around you. It’s about knowing that someone loves you despite all your self-imposed flaws. Yeah, I know, this is where the thirteen year old girl who use to read all those soul mate based romance novels really shines through: it’s about…wait for it…being one part of a whole. And now I’m blowing my nose in my Kleenex, not because of this sappy paragraph, but because my nose is runny from yet another cold.
Also, I’m a big believer in economy of word. Most novels on market these days are simply way too long, sometimes unnecessarily long and could benefit with a trim or a date with a machete.
Sweethearts clocks in at 224 pages. Large fonts. That’s a whole lotta story to pack into this tiny book. This is a prime example of tight writing.
Sara Zarr, you are amazing. I hereby erect an alter to your skills.In the form of a Polyvore collage. (You know I mean business when I take time to make a collage. This is love. This is Sweethearts worship).