Swede Dreams (S.A.S.S.)
Most people think of twins as being alike but not always. Calista Swanson and her sister Suzanne couldn’t be more different. Suzanne is a talented pianist, immersed in her music and schoolwork, but socially inept. Calista is disinterested and flies by the seat of her pants. Different is what Calista is striving for, from cutting her hair to traveling to Sweden. Calista wants to distance herself from Suzanne and what better way than to study abroad for a semester.
When Calista applies to study abroad for a semester her sole purpose is to once again meet up with the handsome Swedish exchange student she met at school. They have been emailing but he doesn’t contact her when she arrives in Sweden.
Soon Calista is adjusting to the culture. She likes boiled potatoes and doesn’t mind eating them two times a day. She swings a hammer at the gingerbread house and as is the tradition breaks it. Soon she is dancing the Langdans (long dance); up and down the stairs they went, around the basement, through all the bedrooms, and back down into the living room, to Christmas music. She visits the Viking museum and many other points of interest.
It doesn’t take long for Calista to attract another Swedish male, Mattias. Calista realizes that she had little in common with Jonas and perhaps was mostly attracted to him because he played soccer. That could also be why she goes out with Mattias. Hakan is a friend of Moa, when he places his hand on Calista’s shoulder she feels as though it has burned its imprint there. They enjoy each other’s company and have a lot to talk about.
Calista is rather selfish and egotistical. Her sister has an audition at Julliard and she doesn’t bother to wish her good luck. She seems to think the world revolves around her. When Suzanne freezes at her audition she calls her sister sobbing. “When had they started growing apart?” “But it didn’t matter anymore, Calista told herself. That was history. From now on she would make an effort to really talk to Suzanne. Suzanne was her sister, her twin sister, and nothing could come between them.”
This is a book about twins maturing. While both have very different personalities and are talented in different areas, they find that their differences are also their strengths. Calista learns to look outside herself, to be more focused. Suzanne learns that it’s okay to have fun and not to take things so seriously. At first I found Calista very immature and not very pleasant, but as she matured my respect for her grew. I had much sympathy for Suzanne; she had spent so much time concentrating on her music that she had shut out anything else. This book will be great for girls 9-14. They will relate to the things the twins are experiencing. Eva Apelqvist has great insight into what girls experience and the emotion they cope with. The cover is delightful and is perfect for this book. The plot flows smoothly. I enjoyed reading about the culture of Sweden. I intend to recommend this book to girls in my reading class. Well done Ms. Apelqvist. I highly recommend “Swede Dreams” to girls 9-14 years of age.