Tag Archives: Sara Zarr

Story of a Girl (Sara Zarr)

Rating: [rate 4.0]

Story of a Girl by Sara ZarrWhen she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother’s best friend – Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, The Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

Sara Zarr is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. :) Just like Sweethearts, I thought this book would be all about angst. In a way, there is teenage angst, but it wasn’t all about that.

Deanna Lambert feels trapped about her past. Being in a small town and labeled as a teenage slut is something that she would carry for a long time. She felt as if she belonged to no one except for her older brother, who has a family of his own. The story goes around those facts in Deanna’s life, including her slight jealousy with her two best friends who are in a relationship.

The characters of the story feel real, and as a reader I felt that I am actually inside Picasso’s pizza or Jason’s house or the basement where Darren and Stacy and April lives. I felt bad for Deanna when people keep on labeling her as a slut and when her father wouldn’t even defend her, and instead is ashamed of her. I liked Lee, Deanna’s other best friend and Jason’s girlfriend, even if she shows up only a few times in the story, and Michael, Deanna’s gay boss who was one of the people who seemed to truly care for her.

I think other than this being a “story of a girl”, it’s also a story about forgiveness, of how one’s past definitely does not define your future, or even your present. Sara Zarr shows the reality that forgiveness is not easy. It may come in quick for some people while for others it takes years. Others need to hear an apology while others need not.

I got this book as an ebook, actually and it’s short so it would fit even the smallest memory stick or iPod or whatever readin/storage device you may have. But because I really liked this one, I will definitely buy a printed copy of this book. :)

Sweethearts (Sara Zarr)

Rating: [rate 4.0]

Sweethearts by Sara ZarrAs children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also one another’s only friend. So when Cameron disappears without warning, Jennifer thinks she’s lost the only person who will ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she’s popular, happy, and dating, everything “Jennifer” couldn’t be—but she still can’t shake the memory of her long-lost friend.

When Cameron suddenly reappears, they are both confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.

From the National Book Award nominated author of Story of a Girl, Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.

At first I thought this was going to be another YA novel with high school problems between new friends and an old friend showing up, an image to protect and a happily-ever-after in the end, but as I read through the novel, it wasn’t anything like that. It was set in a high school, and there were new friends versus the old one, but oh, there was so much more things into the story that when I initially expected.

First off, Jennifer/Jenna was bullied back in elementary because of her speech problem and her weight. In the midst of all these, she found a friend in Cameron Quick, who was as much as a loner as she is. They had a lot of good times together, except for her ninth birthday at Cameron’s house, which continues to haunt her even as she grew up. Then Cameron disappears and everyone told her that he was dead. It was then Jennifer decided that her old self would be buried with Cameron, and she emerges as Jenna. Then Cameron returns and Jenna is forced to face her past, face her present and finally own up to who she really was and how important Cameron is to her.

The book has a haunting feeling, like there was a past that they all couldn’t run away from. Some of the characters were annoying (example Ethan, Jenna’s boyfriend), but they felt like real people as the story goes on. The conflict that Jenna goes through inside felt real and raw, and I wanted so much for her to choose Cameron and for them to conquer their past. There was just the right amount of angst in the book, and it’s not even the shallow angst but the kind that stems from a troubled past.

And like I mentioned in the first paragraph, the book doesn’t have the typical happy ending. It was sad, but poignant, and the ending certainly illustrated that love and friendship between two people can survive the distance and time and can change a person in more ways than one. :)

I finish this review off with my favorite quote in the book:

Because love, love is never finished. It circles and circles, the memories out of order and not always complete.