Heart and Salsa by Suzanne Nelson. (Grades 6-8.)
Cat just moved to Boston and she hates it. Due to her mom's recent remarriage to the geekiest history professor in the world, Cat's had to pick up and leave all her friends in Arizona. She is not happy about it and, in fact, she's determined not to give Boston a chance. She'll get through her junior and senior years and then head right back to Arizona for college. And luckily, Cat's come up with a plan to escape Boston for the summer, too! Her best friend Sabrina told her about the Students Across the Seven Seas study abroad program. So Cat's going down to Mexico to spend her summer with Sabrina, catching up on girl bonding, perfecting her Spanish, and helping with a community service project.
What Cat did NOT expect was that Sabrina would have a boyfriend who also came to Mexico. Sabrina's blowing her off to hang out with her boy toy. Cat's new roommate Izzie (daughter of her host family) has taken an immediate dislike to her and calls her an American princess. Mexico's not what Cat thought it would be at all...
I've been wanting to try one of the SASS books and I really enjoyed it! It's a little formulaic, but there are a lot of details about the places they go in Mexico. There's a host of likeable characters (none of which are particularly deep except for maybe Cat), some comic relief, and a predictable romance thrown in. I'll definitely be reading more in this series. It's perfect escapism reading.
Time reading: 11.25 hours