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Beach Week: A Novel Hardcover – May 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The looming specter of Beach Week—the traditional weeklong party held by recent high school graduates—drives the anxieties and recklessness of the characters in Coll's middling comedy. Despite their parents' close involvement, a group of girls from the D.C. suburbs proceed with their plans for debauchery at a Delaware rental house. Rudderless housewife Leah Adler and her increasingly distant husband, Charles, have not decided whether to let their daughter, Jordan, go, yet Leah becomes involved in the parental bureaucracy and controversy, and soon pins her hopes on being a chaperone. Jordan, meanwhile, falls into a mostly one-sided relationship with Khalid, a handsome college student who appears only marginally interested. Meanwhile, Noah, the owner of the girls' rented beach house, battles his increasingly odd inner world in an attempt to stay connected with his young son. Though well-written and occasionally incisive in its depiction of Facebook-era rites of passage, the novel contains few surprises, and the hurdles are both expected and easily overcome. (June)
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From Booklist

You’ve heard of a tempest in a teapot? Coll’s novel is a tempest in a sand pail. Well-heeled teens from a ritzy D.C. suburb spend the last week of senior year at the shore. Simple right? Not a chance! Parents plan for correctness and rules. Kids consider what controlled substances to bring. Leah and Charles, parents of Jordan, are new to the area and its rituals. Jordan, a senior, is set apart by a concussion from a soccer game. Injury and recovery have matured her in ways her parents have yet to understand. A shabby beach house with a bad smell somewhat ameliorated by the smell of pot, the Peeping Tom owner (who acquired the house in a divorce settlement), and Jordan’s father as a chaperone playing beer pong with another father are only the beginning of the beach week’s challenges and festivities. When the police arrive, they find riotous behavior, marathon drinking and drugs, and someone walking a lobster on a leash. Coll offers a true beach read: no social commentary, all romp. --Danise Hoover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; 1 edition (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374109257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374109257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Coll is the Events and Programs Director at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. The Stager is her fifth novel. She is also the author of Acceptance, a satire of the college admissions process, which was made into a 2009 television movie starring Joan Cusack and Mae Whitman, Beach Week, Rockville Pike, and Her work has appeared in publications including the Washington Post,,, and The Millions.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kmerrittdotcom on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at the local library due to the fun, summery cover, and semi-interesting description. The description, however, was completely misleading to me. I won't give away any spoilers, but I thought this was going to be a fun book about the chaotic experiences during Beach Week, and the complications of the main teenager (Jordan) and her relationship with an older guy. That relationship was hardly even worth mentioning as it proves little impact on the story. I felt like the majority of the book was waaay too drawn out-- something as simple as saying "hello" turns into a 6 page description of over-analyizing, pointless thoughts. 209 pages of this book are devoted to parents deliberating whether or not to even let their children attend beach week. Also, there are a lot of loose ends that go unanswered, and absolutely no worthy conflicts throughout the entire book.

I was hoping that everything would come together in the end, in an interesting, profound way that would make 300 pages of pointless rambling seem to make sense. But that never happened. The amount of ridiculous nonsense that happened in the last few chapters was just that- ridiculous nonsense. It felt like the author was trying to develop an "unbelievably crazy" situation to finally add some drama into the story, but she only managed to make it literally unbelievable. The conflicts within this story really aren't anything I could remotely identify with, nor did they seem to be severe enough for me to even care or feel sympathy.

Also a pet peeve that lead to my disinterest in the book: the entire thing is in third person. I felt like an outsider was telling the story and I never really knew who this "outsider" was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tina on August 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First off, I have to say that Beach Week was NOT really what I thought it would be and that is okay.

However, I have mixed feelings about this novel. While I thought the premise of the book was very interesting - specifically a book dealing with parents AND teenagers - almost equally in a specific situation. I also thought that the writing was incredibly slow paced - way toooooo slow for my taste.

I liked that the author actually took a specific timeframe and basically wrote about it from kind of both the parents and the teenagers points of view - at times even showing how silly and ridiculous both sides can be/are. I am use to reading books with a strong focus on the teens - to this was a nice change. I also loved the, at times, sarcastic tone the author uses - although it is well muffled in the storylined.

However, wow! this book is sloooow[...] I found myself skipping entire pages and still being quite able to pick up the flow of the storyline. Either this book needed alot more editing or the author needed to shorten some of the passages.

Unfortunately, the pacing of a story is crucial for me - and, because of this, I have rated this 3 stars.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
What a waste of money. wanted a summer read and i had to give up and skim through to see if it would pick up. never did it hold my interest. i read a lot.first time i ever called it quits on a book. save your money .........sue in rhode island
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book -- it was quirky, and funny, and really captured the anxiety of raising (and letting go of) teenagers who have been helicopter-parented their whole lives. I found the characters really believable, and I totally understood the position that the parents found themselves in! It was a great, fast read (and for that reason, also a great "beach book").
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Susan Coll excels at skewering ridiculous suburban rituals, and in her latest book, she goes after "Beach Week" - the annual tradition for high school seniors just after graduation. Over-involved, hyper-vigilant parents are the comedic lynchpin of this gracefully written book.
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