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The novel’s deeply embedded theme of transition will have tremendous appeal for any teenager coping with change.As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. So when Cameron disappeared without warning, Jennifer thought she'd lost the one person who would ever understand her. Known as Jenna, she is popular, happy, and dating—everything "Jennifer" couldn't be.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.
Look for Once Was Lost and Sweethearts also available on audio from Listening Library. 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.
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