Liralen's Reviews > Getting the Boot

Getting the Boot by Peggy Guthart Strauss
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's review
Oct 07, 2014

it was ok
bookshelves: z-2014, fiction, travel, ya, reviewed

Next stop on the S.A.S.S. tour: Italy, where Kelly is eager to spend the summer shopping, tanning, and flirting. Imagine her surprise when it turns out that she's staying in a dorm, not a fancy villa...and the programme's courses require actual work...and the other students in the programme aren't interested in her attempts to give them makeovers.

The focus of the book, then, is on Kelly's growth into a bit less of a...well, a self-absorbed brat. Kelly's not a mean person, or a dumb one. She's just very focused on the superficial. Although I don't find Kelly particularly interesting, I don't have huge problems with her -- although I do wish she'd been called upon to take responsibility for her actions; pretty much everything gets pegged on Joe. Certainly he does far worse things than Kelly does -- but he doesn't make her decisions for her. That said, I mostly just wish the supporting characters had been more well-rounded. Instead they're cliché after cliché, and while sometimes the stereotyping is there to be proven wrong, much of the time it just feels like lazy character sketching.

A general note on the series: I'm not that far into it yet -- this is the fifth I've read of the fourteen S.A.S.S. books. But I'm surprised by how much time the characters tend to spend with other students in their programmes rather than with locals. The characters in The Finnish Line and The Great Call of China manage to develop friendships with students their age (although in the latter case only because the programme assigns them local hosts, of a sort), but other than that... It's one thing in Girl Overboard, where they live on a boat and don't spend enough time in port to build relationships. But in Pardon My French I think Nicole talks to maybe two bona fide French people, and Getting the Boot is more of the same: Kelly has a bit of a fling with an Italian guy, and a random, dialogue-free Italian girl shows up for a scene. But that's it.

The author does manage to cram in a lot of Italy factoids, though, which is a plus as far as I'm concerned. I'm on the fence about the romance -- on the one hand, it's a afterthought (a plus as far as I'm concerned; I don't think it's one of the more interesting parts of the story), but on the other hand, it's largely an afterthought because there wasn't much room for it by the time Kelly got past her bad-idea romance. Another reviewer suggested that Sheela might make a more compelling protagonist, and I'm inclined to agree -- certainly she comes into her own more than Kelly does.

More general look at the series here.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 7, 2014 – Shelved
October 7, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
October 7, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
October 7, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
October 7, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
October 7, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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