Story of a Girl ) full-bodied characters and c"/>
 

Sweethearts

Sara Zarr, Author
Sara Zarr, Author . Little, Brown $16.99 (217p) ISBN 978-0-316-01455-7
Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-02926-1
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-0-316-01456-4
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-6775-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-6776-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-70603-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-76966-2
Open Ebook - 149 pages - 978-0-316-14102-4
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This book about a former misfit who must face her troubled childhood is dark and engrossing, thanks to Zarr's (Story of a Girl ) full-bodied characters and creative storytelling. Through well-timed flashbacks, thin, popular high school senior Jenna remembers being fat Jennifer, who along with her best friend, Cameron, endures teasing in elementary school and a hard home life (her single mother is almost never home, and his abusive father traumatizes both children). After Cameron moves away, Jennifer's cruel classmates tell her he has died, and her mother corroborates the story; readers may find it hard to believe the subsequent revelation that she has, in fact, lied. But they will appreciate how honestly Jenna reveals the toll it takes on her when Cameron suddenly reappears, transferring into her senior class (she starts stealing and binge-eating again); their rekindled connection forces her to decide if “Jenna” is really who she wants to be. There is harsh material here, in the characters' presents as well as their pasts: Cameron is now an emancipated minor, and Jenna's family temporarily takes him in when he becomes homeless. Flashbacks to a horrifying episode with Cameron's father are revealed slowly and carefully, filling readers with a sense of dread, but ultimately her memories teach Jenna something surprising about her own strength. Other realistically flawed characters, from a mother who must learn truly to help her daughter to Cameron himself, round out this complex and bittersweet story of friendship and the meaning of “unfinished business.” Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

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