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The Vacationers: A Novel Hardcover – May 29, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Here's the funny thing about family: there's no one you love more than your relatives, and yet they're also the people who push your buttons the most. Emma Straub has captured this dilemma in her pitch-perfect second novel The Vacationers. The Post family’s vacation to the Balearic island of Mallorca is one fraught with jealousy and quiet secrets. It's an anniversary for parents Franny and Jim, who are making amends for some rocky marital misgivings; their son Bobby and his much-maligned older girlfriend Carmen have a financial favor to ask; and high school-age daughter Sylvia has made it her mission to lose her virginity to her Spanish tutor. The novel is warm--not just for the sunny beaches that surround Mallorca, but for the compassion and humor that Straub imbues in her characters. The Vacationers is a summer read for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to find a smarter one. --Kevin Nguyen

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—In this delightful concoction, family and friends come together for two weeks of summer vacation on the island of Mallorca. Franny is a freelance magazine writer about food from different regions. She's currently not speaking to her husband, a magazine editor recently dismissed for sleeping with an employee only a few years older than their daughter, Sylvia. The teen cannot wait to start at Brown University in the fall. All she wants from this vacation is to lose her virginity and try to forget her best friend's betrayal. Cue Joan, the gorgeous local college boy Franny has hired to tutor Sylvia in Spanish. Also in attendance, Franny's best friend of 40 years, Charles, to provide comfort and counsel. Charles and his husband, Lawrence, are waiting to hear whether they've been chosen to adopt a baby boy. Sylvia's older brother Bobby and Bobby's much-older girlfriend, Carmen fly in from Miami. Straub fleshes out all of these characters, effortlessly illuminating their foibles and mistakes, mitigated by the grace of forgiveness and familial understanding. Just as a great recipe is balanced and spiced, so Straub mixes the stress and comedy of a family vacation spent in close quarters to delightful effect.—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1St Edition edition (May 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594631573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594631573
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,003 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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90 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Nitty's Mom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is hard to distinguish yourself as an author in the dysfunctional family arena. Authors have already taken me to a shiva, summer houses, weddings and funerals. This time a two week vacation in Mallorca, Spain becomes the backdrop, as we follow the ups and downs of the Post family and friends.

From the beginning, no one is particularly thrilled about this sojourn. Initially booked as a 35th wedding anniversary present, the Post marriage is now in flux. 60 year old Jim has recently been forced to resign as the editor of a New York Magazine for his dalliance with a 23 year old intern. His wife Fanny is a writer "going around the world and writing about what she ate" is deciding what her next course of action might be. Sylvia, their 18 year old daughter, is ready to begin Brown University in the fall and wants to lose her virginity. She is disheartened to see the fighting among her parents and has recently gone through her own angst due to her girl /boyfriend's duplicitous actions. 28 year old Bobby is a realtor and lives in Florida. He is a casualty of the real-estate bubble. He has been living with his girlfriend Carmen, who is 10 years older, for seven years without making a commitment. Carmen is an instructor at the Total Body Power and feels like an outsider, everything she does in order to please her boyfriend's family "never seemed to be right". Charles is Fanny's best friend and he and husband Lawrence have been trying to adopt a baby to complete their family.

Author Emma Straub appears to make all the right decisions. Instead of using alternating chapters with a lot of back-story, she jumps from character to character, as the book starts on Day One of the vacation and ends on Day Fourteen.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book started out with potential, but went nowhere. The characters were poorly developed and I found myself not caring about them at all. The "climax" was so anticlimactic and completely predictable in every aspect. Additionally, this book was set in place that the author didn't bother to describe at all.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Whatsername on July 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Just finished this book and logged on to write a short review while it was fresh in my mind. I was shocked to see so many negative one and two star ratings. I will admit that The Vacationers is not great literature or in danger of winning a Pulitzer, but it's a perfectly good little novel and quite entertaining. I thought the characters were well defined and of varied enough interests to keep me guessing where it would go next. This was a group situation of family/friends spending two weeks together, albeit in paradise, still in a confined setting. We all know the little nuances, annoyances, and petty upsets that can arise in such circumstances, and I thought the author did a good job of conveying the emotions that each character experienced. I definitely came away with a feeling of the love/hate relationship which exists in all families, and in the end felt I knew the Post clan pretty well. The ultimate outcome was more or less what I expected but not what I would call predictable. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it for anyone who wants a light, easy read, a little literary getaway so to speak. If you're taking a holiday to the beach this summer, this is the perfect book to pack.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Meet the Post family and their entourage as they all descend on Mallorca for a two week vacation. They have rented a house that they think is 'large enough' to hold their secrets and dysfunctions. However, nothing remains secret for very long.

The Post family is at time of transition. Franny and Jim have been married for thirty-five years and it is quite possible that they will get divorced. Jim has had an affair with a very young woman at his work-place, someone only a few years older than his daughter. Not only has he lost his job as the editor of Gallant magazine because of his indiscretion, but he might also lose his wife who he still loves very much. He is floundering and not ready for this imposed early retirement at sixty years old. Franny, who writes about food for a living, finds it almost impossible to be around Jim since his affair. Forgiving him seems to be out of the question.

Sylvia Post is eighteen years old and headed to Brown University in the fall. She wants to reinvent herself in college and is sick of everyone who has known her in school since she was a child. One of her pressing goals is to lose her virginity. This is a big task for a young woman who has been kissed only six times since she was twelve. She is worried about her parents' relationship as she has overheard their arguments at home.

Bobby Post is twenty-eight and living in Miami with Carmen, a woman more than a decade older than him who his family does not like. Bobby's job selling real estate went under because of the crash in the Florida real estate market. He works as an assistant trainer at the health club where he met Carmen, also a trainer. Bobby invested all his money in an Amway-like distribution scheme to sell whey products to work-out fanatics.
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