S.A.S.S. stands for Students Across the Seven Seas which is a worldwide exchange program for high school students. It's also the name of the series. The books are not related to each other in any way, it's more of a compilation of books written by different authors about similar themes.
Yes, you've got it right! The Finnish Line is indeed set in Finland. It follows the story of Mo Clark, the daughter of an Olympic-medal winning skier as she travels to Finland as an exchange student in the S.A.S.S. program. Her objective in Finland? To step out of her famous family's skiing achievements, and to do something on her own...like ski jumping at the Finnish Lahti Ski Games. BUT, she sucks compared to the other contestants. Enter Leevi, an outcast who just so happens to be gorgey and awesome at skiing. He offers her his help in return for some publicity. And that's about all I can tell you without spoiling the book.
Now this definitely wasn't the best S.A.S.S. book but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I found it a bit rushed, especially towards the end. The author was just trying to fit so much stuff in the second half that when I look back at the first half, I can hardly remember what happened. That was a problem. Also, it was very cliche. Usually I don't have a HUGE problem with this but it was SO obvious in this book when you read the second half. The author just wanted to pack in all the clichest cliche romance moments and what happened? Overload. Another thing, how did Leevi speak English so well? And Tapio? So many other Finnish characters had crap English...and I'm kind of confused...maybe they are actually secret Americans??? Who knows? And how did Mo get so good that she could jump in the games? That wasn't really told in much detail. She just practiced a lot with Leevi but how do WE know that she wasn't really making out with him??? It wasn't explained!!!
OK, yes, I know, I'm getting a bit nit-picky and questiony but I really was kind of disappointed with this book. I mean, on S.A.S.S. standards. Still, not bad. And it’s a quick read!
The Sound of Munich by Suzanne Nelson
Definitely not one of the better, more sense-ical titles, but the book was just as squealy as the others. Siena Bernstein is a bohemian girl from Santa Barbara, off to Germany for a fun, new experience and also to track down Peter Schwalm, the man who helped her dad's family escape from Germany during the Berlin Wall era. And like all the other books, there is a guy. Of course.
I would actually go so far to say that this book TOTALLY disappointed. I mean, I loved the Carpe Diem idea and it actually inspired me to continue updating my bucket list but it felt like it took a backseat to the romance. It was there, totally, but it wasn't a very PROMINENT part of the book. Because when I think back on this book, all I really remember is Stefan. I don't remember the whole Peter thing or the friendship or the annoying Briana. I remember Stefan. Like, the list was such a good idea and it had TONS of potential to make a S.A.S.S. novel MORE than just a chick lit. OHMIGOD. I don't even know why you would bother with the Carpe Diem thing if it's not even going to be the thing that readers remember most. JUST SAY IT'S A ROMANCE AND BE DONE WITH IT. I also didn't really get the RA-student thing...it didn't make sense and felt a bit awkward at points. And I don't think it's the awkward that the author meant for me to feel.
So yes, this book was disappointing. It had so much potential to be awesome and make S.A.S.S. readers really FEEL but :( Good if you're not expecting too much other than a fluff romance.
Westminster Abby by Micol Ostow
In Westminster Abby, Abby travels to London because her parents force her to go to get over her boyfriend, James. While in London, Abby works hard to reinvent herself and be funner and less like vanilla. (re: synopsis) And she meets a gorgey porgey boy named Ian.
I'll be honest with you, I set my expectations higher for this book than the others. Not because of Micol, but because of Britland! I LURRVE Britain and everything about it. I'm what you would call...obsessed. So I expected this to be really fun and awesome and fun! And it was! I can say without a doubt it was better than the two other books. It didn't attempt to deal with big themes so I didn't feel let down.
However, OHMIGOD, Ian and Abby. What was their relationship based on??? I know it's hard to compress a three month storyline into 250 pages but I had no idea what happened! They moved so fast: one page they were flirting, and the next they're off to meet his parents!!! WAIT, back up, did I miss something??? And, OHMIGOD, James. I hated him but then I loved him but GOD, Abby was such an idiot!!! I mean, DID YOU FORGET ABOUT IAN??? YOUR BOYFRIEND???
And Abby was terribly irresponsible the entire time. I mean, acting the way she did is certainly not the way to get your parents to STOP being overprotective. That's lesson number one in getting what you want. The outcome of this was quite shocking, and to be frank, if I were her parents, I would flipping out. Really.
But other than that, it was very awesome! Highly enjoyable and though Abby was aggravating at times, it was quite realistic. Including the relationships...Or at least, a part of the relationships. And of course, England! Can you possibly ask for a better S.A.S.S. setting???
Overall Thoughts of the Series:
Words cannot explain how much I yearn to travel. And I love books, as you should know by now so obviously, this series is made for me! It's not the best written, doesn't have the best covers (to be honest, the girls are kind of creepy), but definitely has a lot of charm, hot guys, and fun! It's all about fun! Not taking the books too seriously (what are the chances of falling in love with your RA anyway???) and just relaxing! Perfect after a TOUGH book or for when you just want to smile! Read with caramel popcorn. :)