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Spain or Shine (Students Across the Seven Seas)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  667 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Elena is lost in the shuffle between her three overachieving siblings. But now that she’s on her own for a whole semester, she intends to keep the spotlight on herself—and Spain is just the place to do it. Once she starts living it up in tapas bars, lying out on the beach (even though it’s November), and having a nice, long siesta smack-dab in the middle of every day, Elen ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 8th 2005 by Speak
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Nov 29, 2014 Liralen rated it liked it
Elena's in Spain, and I've reached the end of this series. The former is a good thing; I'm not sure about the latter.

Although Elena's Spanish is limited to what she's learned in high school, she has Spanish relatives. Her trip abroad serves two main purposes -- to figure out who she is out of the shadow of her siblings and to take advantage of the theatre course her S.A.S.S. programme offers -- with a bonus of meeting those relatives.

She's a likable character. I admit that I cherrypicked my way
Arshia Zehra
Aug 10, 2011 Arshia Zehra rated it it was amazing
amazing book!....i so love the series and i hope i get the opportunity to read them all!!...This book is totally recommended to everyone as its a great book...Elena learns soo much and makes great friends!!...Being apart from her family taught her that her family was not her competition...they were her support system!...:DD
May 26, 2014 Karissa rated it really liked it
Pros: Elena takes an exciting opportunity to study for a semester in San Sebastian, Spain. I found it unique that her inspiration to go was mainly to do something that her siblings had not already done and set herself apart from them. She feels like she is constantly in the shadow of her very intelligent siblings and in the story she finds that her creativity is what makes her exquisite in her own way. Elena finds that her new friends and family, including great aunt Elena, best friend Jenna, gu ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Sari rated it really liked it
By the time i wrote this i still on chapter 6. Tapi sejauh ini ceritanya bagus walopun ttg remaja (Elena) 16 tahun yg ikut international summer class di Spain. Bahasanya ringan ga terlalu susah (baca: harus bolak balik buka kamus). Ngebayangin apakah gw bisa seberani Elena kalo msh 16 tahun mesti pergi sendiri ke negri orang, tinggal sama org asing yg ngurusin makanan/kebutuhan sehari-hari kita, pdhl sama keluarga sendiri aja suka sungkan :p

Yang pasti berhasil bikin aku ngiri pengen (banget bang
Much more like it. I mean, the last book I read in the series (Pardon my French) was just so unParisian. Now, Elena Holloway experiences a great time in San Sebastian, Spain. It had so much Spanish and detail about Spanish food, Spanish tradition etc.
Pardon My French by Cathy Hapka was pretty much a normal time in Paris like a day with a teenage girl like all the boring boyfriend business (:|) and all the bias. I mean, some people like crepes, and according to her, crepes taste awful, which is p
Another great addition to the SASS series. These books make me want to travel all over! I loved this one especially because I could relate to Elena's desire to get in touch with her Spanish heritage. Just like her, I am also of Spanish descent, and my great-grandparents were actually from Mataro, a town close to Barcelona. Through this book, I got to experience a little bit of Spanish culture.

As with all the SASS books, Spain or Shine does an excellent job of immersing you within the culture of
Jan 19, 2009 Penny rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens considering a trip abroad; anyone looking for a pretty decent coming of age story
After being a little disappointed with the first S.A.S.S. book I read, I found this one to be quite a nice surprise. I'm not sure it's quite meaty enough for 4 stars but I'd give it 3 1/2 if I could.

It is the basic tale of a shy girl who comes out of her shell after discovering her passion and getting chance to develop her talents. Oh, and being thrown into a new setting thousands of miles from home helps, too. Elena is a character I warmed up to right away, and I enjoyed the group of friends sh
Mel Raschke
Overshadowed by her other siblings, Elena feels like she never stands out. So she takes a once in a lifetime opportunity to study for a semester in San Sebastian, Spain. In Spain, she quickly becomes friends with outgoing Jenna, which leads her to experience many new things in Spain, from visiting Tapas bars to relaxing on the beach everyday. But Elena also has her playwriting on her mind as she wants her play to be selected to be performed for the school. Adding to her stress is the cute boy Mi ...more
This novel was alright. Really. It kind of fell into the perfectly good way to spend a few hours, but it didn't really leave me all that impressed by the end of the book like other novels in this series did.

The characters were all pleasant, but not super memorable. I must give credit to the fact that Elena's journey is more a 'finding myself' kind of deal as opposed to the typical for this series which tends to be 'some juvenile or selish thing that turns into real life lessons by accident'. Tha
Jan 27, 2016 Nikki rated it really liked it
I first read this book in high school and it fueled my dreams of studying abroad and visiting Spain. Now 5+ years out of high school, I still find it as enjoyable and fun to read. The writer did a good job with setting the scene and explaining the culture and customs. I could relate a lot to Elena in so many ways; just like her I'm shy, a dreamer, and have a bad habit of not paying enough attention at times (and like her, I'm not eager to show people this side of me). Although I never got a chan ...more
Feb 01, 2009 ™yourbeautifulnightmaree™ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who LOVES Spain, or plans to study abroad, or who just likes a good read:)
This was a VERY good book, i loved it, is part of the S.A.S.S (students/across the/seven/seas) series, where a student travels to some other foriegn country to study abroad, (they are all in high school or collage), anyway, this gir named Elena Holleway goes to Spain for her country, she is part spanish, so she wanted tpo explore her heratige. When she gets there she finds a cute boy, and meets some wild, but great, new friends, and learns who she is as her passion for theatre flourishes. READ I ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Maria rated it it was ok
I found this book to be much too predictable, with Elena coming to Spain, finding a boy, falling for him, and writing a play, which, as we all knew, would be successful. I didn't feel as though the characters were developed enough, with most of them only being mentioned in passing. I wish that this book would have delved further into Elena's relationship with Miguel, or her past with playwriting/acting. Let's hope there is a sequel which will detail more of Elena's future after her time in Spain ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Meagan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
I liked this book. If I could give it 3.5 stars I would, it didn't quite warrant 4, but it was entertaining. This is the first of the SASS books that I've read, and I thought it was a cute, quick read. The story focuses on Elena a shy American teenager who spends a semester abroad in San Sebastián. She slowly comes out of her shell, and meets an awesome cast of supporting characters along the way. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a quick summer read!
Jan 03, 2012 Meg rated it really liked it
i found myself in Elena - a daydreamer, a writer (wannabe), artistic and shy. in this book, i felt like i also traveled Spain with Elena. it was as if i am 5 years younger while reading this novel. it brought me back to my teenage years and it reminded me of dealing with teenage peers.

this novel is a must-read for teens especially those who love to travel and those who are stuck in their comfort zones.
Jan 26, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who seeks for romance
Recommended to Michelle by: a friend
Shelves: reading-of-07-08
Elena goes on a trip to Spain and hopes that it helps her stand out from her straight A siblings. She thought of this trip as a dream which comes true. (This trip was a school program which her best friend couldn't go because she couldn't keep her grade above a C.) But on this trip Elena goes to the beach, school, partying, and all. During this time she meets a boy named Miguel where she bumps into almost everywhere, and the fun has just begun...
elena has to make a play for her class, but she has to partner up with somone. She teams up with this guy and their script wins. So now they get to perform the play in front of a bunch of people. At first she gets the girl that was staying with her at her host house, Jenna, to do it, but when it comes time to perform she backs out and Elena does it. She finds out that the guy she likes, likes her back so then they like go out. When its time to leave she is all sad.
Nov 07, 2011 Sahar rated it it was amazing
Amazing book!!....i soo loved it...Elena was totally on the loose in Spain...her boyfriend was such a big jerk to drug her like anything... Elena's so outgoing and friendly and fun just my type ...I love it! her friends were awesome .....Miguel was adorable ....i loved his personality! overall the book was awesome!
PeiYun Chua
May 11, 2012 PeiYun Chua rated it really liked it

Wonder story!
I felt totally in touch with Elena and hows she pursue Miguel. At first, I thought she was all the shy and not going to try anything girl but she overcame her personality and shine on stage! The ending was especially great! I really love it!
This story keep me on the edge for more! I finished it in one day!
♔ Kristy ♔
It has been a while since I read this book, though I can never forget how it reminded me the reasons why I wanted to go travel! The culture of Spain was painted beautifully by the author (personal opinion) and she made me so wanderlust that I wanted to borrow Doctor Who's Tardis just to go to Spain - even for an hour!
Jun 05, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it
Elena can't wait to step out of her extraordinary siblings shadows and excel at something on her own. A trip to Spain is a way to be unique, explore her heritage, and immerse herself in playwriting, her passion. During her stay, she meets new friends and even finds a cute Spanish guy, but will she ever be able to say more than two words to him?
Apr 29, 2015 Istiningdyah rated it liked it
It was a fun read. I really enjoy it. Especially because the main, Elena, is more or less like me. She's an introvert and doesn't really like to stand in the spotlight. Though in the end, she realized that it's okay to stand in the spotlight once in a while.
Beth Rodgers
Aug 06, 2014 Beth Rodgers rated it it was amazing
Having taken Spanish from the 8th grade through the end of college, it was very enjoyable to read both this book and Heart and Salsa from this same series. I was able to identify much more with the characters as they practiced their Spanish-speaking skills and enjoyed their time abroad.
Nov 16, 2013 Leilani rated it really liked it
I still feel like I read this one. If I had read it before, it was a long time ago. The book was pretty good, just like the other S.A.S.S. book. I would like to read more of them, just hope I don't keep getting the feeling that I've read it before.
Makena G.
Mar 13, 2011 Makena G. is currently reading it
I am on pg. 27 of Spain or Shine. So far the book is really good. I predict that while Elena is in Spain she will meet a lot of new people and find some interesting things in Spain and have a lot of fun.
Rebekah Ehrlich
Oct 20, 2011 Rebekah Ehrlich rated it liked it
Good book, im not exactly recommending it since its kind of boring. There are many better books out there in the big blue sea!!!!! heehee
Aug 07, 2008 Aasha rated it really liked it
This is another SASS book this one is abot a girl who goes to spain and becomes less shy and meets great frineds and develops her play writting skills it is really good
Leen Sabounchi
Mar 10, 2009 Leen Sabounchi rated it it was amazing
I loved this book i learned alot about love and life and education and independence! :) Suck a great book!
Nov 02, 2008 Emma rated it really liked it
These books are tons of fun to read because they are packed with adventure, romance, and a hint of attitude. It is so fun to read about the different adventures.
Lizzy Seitz
Nov 21, 2014 Lizzy Seitz rated it really liked it
Very cute story! I can't wait to see how it lines up with my trip since I'm going to the same cities she did
Jun 08, 2009 Donovan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my second favorite book in the series! I'd recommend it to anyone because it combines several different genres.
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Students Across the Seven Seas (1 - 10 of 14 books)
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“Dreaming isn't wasted time. The waste comes when you have these wonderful dreams, but you don't do anything to make them real.” 4 likes
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