Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blast from the Past: Taking Things Abroad

In this edition of Blast from the Past, I will be talking about the Students Across the Seven Seas book series aka S.A.S.S.  This series was printed from 2005 to 2010 and had 14 books in total.  Some of the locations for the novels were England, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  Just to name a few.  Most books were short but there were a few longer stories.  The longest book had 320 pages in it.  Here's a link to a list of all the titles in the series.

The Sound of Munich
by Suzanne Nelson
What I really loved about each book was the basic idea: an American teenager going abroad for school.  Each book opens with a S.A.S.S. application, which has been filled out by the main character.  It's our first and immediate chance in getting to know them.

I was in high-school when I began reading this series and I'd had some limited but rigidly controlled experiences with travel.  There's no wondering why I jumped to read the series.  I was bitten by the travel bug.  Figuratively speaking, of course.

The Great Call of China
by Cynthea Liu
I enjoyed each book's sense of adventure and each character's independence.  It was exciting reading about their time in getting to know other students and experience the culture of the country they were visiting.

Yes, inevitably, there was a romantic element in each book.   The girl would meet someone on her trip that she fell a little bit for.  Occasionally, the boy would be back home or the boy would be the reason they went on this trip. Each book would also deal with the fact that while the girls were leaving home, they would take some of their personal problems with them.

It is during this semester abroad that they would face those feelings of intense loss and insecurity.  They would address identity issues and problems of belonging.  The girls would learn how to make the best decisions for their lives.

There was excitement and adventure but also some interesting and insightful moments in this series. They were fun books and I hope if you find one, you'll give it a chance.

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