professornana (professornana) wrote,

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a Valentine's gift from Sara Zarr

No rain, sleet, or snow today. Just cold and clear. My pal Martha and I had a V-Day lunch, bought some snacks and headed home for a lazy day of TV watching and reading. I found the perfect gift in the new book from Sara Zarr whose first book, STORY OF A GIRL, was an NBA finalist. SWEETHEARTS is the story of Jennifer and Cameron, two outcasts in elementary school who become close friends. When Cameron disappears following a troubling incident at his home, Jennifer is told by classmates that he has died. Her life is shattered. Bit by bit she rebuilds her life and her self. Now known as Jenna, she is popular and at the center of high school life. And then Cameron returns as mysteriously as he disappeared. So much time has passed; so many changes have occurred. Where can they go from here?

Zarr's story is unique and familiar at the same time (if that is possible). Her sense of high school kids and how they interact and react and talk are dead on. Her understanding of the complexities of family life, friendship, and romance are also on target. Jenna's carefully constructed life is a house of cards; a house that Cameron's reappearance can easily demolish. Bit by bit, detail by detail, layer by layer, readers will gain insight into the lives of two outcasts who are trying their best to put their lives back together, to achieve some sense of normalcy, to make connections that will go beyond the surface. It is an impressive sophomore novel.
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