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Beach Trip

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  3,603 Ratings  ·  314 Reviews
A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’ s luminous new novel.

Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stall
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Demarcation of Jack by Dana BennettThe Beach by Alex GarlandDelicious Desires by Jackie WilliamsTreasured Dreams by Jackie WilliamsJaws by Peter Benchley
Takes you the beach
34th out of 273 books — 211 voters
Summer Rental by Mary Kay AndrewsBeach Trip by Cathy HoltonThe Girls of August by Anne Rivers SiddonsWhat Remains by Carole RadziwillOn the Rocks by Erin Duffy
Beach Chairs
2nd out of 30 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 28, 2009 Farrah rated it really liked it
Loved these girls! Reminded me a bit of me in each and a bit of some of my own old gal pals. As an alumnae of an all girl’s liberal arts school myself in the south (North Carolina even… ;-) ) I understood the camaraderie between the different personalities that you might not typically place together. Holton had a way of creating that. She gave each their own personality, their own struggles, and of course their life-long friendship. I was glued when we went through the college flashbacks and lau ...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Four young women are assigned as suitemates when they're freshmen at Bedford University, a small Episcopalian women's college in western North Carolina. Even though they come from different backgrounds, the four become fast friends and remain roommates throughout college. The women haven't see each other in over twenty years when Lola calls and invites them to join her at her new beach cottage for a week. The four women are:

* Lola, the daughter of a former governor of Alabama - she's led a privi
Jun 04, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
After 23 years of little contact, four former college roommates reunite for a week-long tropical getaway on a small island off the coast of North Carolina. Mel, Lola, Annie and Sara were so much a part of each others lives while attending Bedford University in the early 80's. Mel and Sara's friendship went even further back to their elementary school days. They knew each other the way sisters know sisters. Their home lives were very different but that only deepened their understanding of each ot ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Alea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review
I loved this book! I expected to like it but hadn't realized how much I would love it! Wow! Being able to relate age-wise to someone in college easier than a 40something, I loved all the flashbacks to college probably more than anything. I hadn't realized the book would literally take us back to when these 4 girls lived together, figured we would just hear about it in passing, so I was very happy we got to be there for some of the important times that shaped their lives in college.

For some reaso
Laura de Leon
Jun 15, 2009 Laura de Leon rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
Thank you to Lisa at BooksOnTheBrain for sending my this book for her Summer Reading Series at

The first thing I want to say is that I enjoyed the book.

The second was that it never called me back to read it further.

It is my favorite kind of book-- one that is primarily about the characters.

I liked the way the story flowed between the present and the past. It felt like as I got to know the women, they shared more parts of their history with me, bringing me closer to t
Nancy (Hrdcovers)
Jul 06, 2009 Nancy (Hrdcovers) rated it liked it

I am always, always in search of another great women bonding book similar to Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney or Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. When I came upon Beach Trip, I thought it had potential. Certainly the cover was beautiful, the premise of four college roommates meeting up again some 20 years later was a good one and the author seemed to have a huge fan base. I was getting ready to leave for a Las Vegas vacation and decided this would be the book I
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
After almost 25 years, four college friends plan a trip to the beach to try to rekindle their friendships and put the past behind them once and for all.

Lola is the trip planner and it is to her house on Whale Head Island, off the banks of North Carolina, that the four friends are headed. For one week they will get to enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other's company. Lola was always sort of the scatter-brained one in college and generally needed looking after. Captain Mike and April are Lola's h
Jun 08, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok
This is definitely a beach read in every way except for the fact that it is over 400 pages long. It is the story of 4 women who were college roommates more than 20 years ago and reunite to spend a week together in one woman's beach home. Everyone of them has had their trial and tribulations in the intervening years--of course--but despite the fact that they are supposedly still close enough that they want to spend a week together, they are not in the least forthcoming in sharing these things wit ...more
Cheryl C.
Jul 27, 2009 Cheryl C. rated it it was amazing
Looking for a great summer read? Look no further than "Beach Trip: A Novel" by Cathy Holton.

Mel, Sara, Annie and Lola were roommates and best friends at Bedford University in Mount Clemmons, North Carolina. After graduation, however, their lives took very different paths and the women grew apart.

Now in their forties, Lola invites her former college buddies to her lavish North Carolina beach house for a week, hoping to renew their friendship. As the story unfolds, a past filled with secrets thr
Aug 28, 2009 Serena rated it liked it
"Writing wasn't about telling the truth at all; it was about rearranging truth, stretching it, and warping it to fit some safe and less-chaotic world of the writer's own making. And Mel has been doing that, in one way or another, all her life." (Page 215)

Cathy Holton's Beach Trip is Southern women's fiction with a twist. Mel, Annie, Sara, and Lola were college roommates and reunite in this novel two decades later. Like the heavy surf churned up by an offshore hurricane, their relationships are w
Dec 07, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2010 Courtney rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, reviewed
I received this book for Christmas. My mom actually bought a different book, but the seller shipped this one by mistake. I put it aside, thinking I might read it if I didn't have anything else. I picked it up a few days ago and plowed through it pretty quickly. I'm not normally a fan of flashbacks and shifts back and forth in both time and character perspective in general, but in this book, it's very well done and isn't jarring at all. The author did a really good job with it.

The story is one of
Feb 16, 2011 Jaxmarie rated it it was ok
I felt this book "plodded" through. It definitely wasn't a page turner for me. There was too much back and forth between past and present and I could never get attached to any of the women. Lots of drinking - I know it was a vacation but it was a continual drink fest. The margarones sound good though! I was disappointed because the premise of the book was so good and yet the story disappointed.
Kathy Ginocchio
Feb 10, 2011 Kathy Ginocchio rated it it was ok
Shelves: total-chick-lit
This book intrigued me because it was set on "Whale Head Island" - why bother with the pseudonym when EVERYTHING else about it is specific to Bald Head Island, NC -- my favorite place in the world!! Anyway, that small detail bothered me the WHOLE time. The story of 4 college girlfriends who have grown apart and are taking a week's vacation together 20+ years later--resonated with me. I read this book in two days, super easy read. As I was reading it on the Kindle, I kept thinking - ok, I am 50% ...more
Mar 31, 2011 Cassi rated it it was ok
I wouldn't recommend this book. There are so many things that I found annoying/unreal/frustrating about it. Yet, it could trigger some good feminist discussion, so for that one point, I didn't hate it.

What I don't like:
-The author has a few solid discrepancies that are pretty apparent. Timelines arent always accurate. Before a boat ride, one of the characters says shes never been on a boat in deep water but wait... thats the only way to get the island.
-Every female character is pathetic in pret
Dec 27, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-library, 2015
Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Pam rated it it was ok

This book was by far my least favorite book I think I have ever read for leisure.
Lynn Raye Harris
My book club read this, or I wouldn't have chosen it to read. It contains some good writing, some beautiful description, but it's not really my kind of book. I read the first 140 pages, and then I got tired of waiting for the payoff, so I read the last 50 or so pages. I don't feel like I missed anything. I didn't rate it because that's not fair when I didn't read the whole thing. Still, it didn't compel me to keep reading once I hit 140 pages. I didn't much like Mel, and I couldn't understand wh ...more
Lee Coleman
Sep 14, 2012 Lee Coleman rated it it was ok
i'm being generous, giving this book two stars. the book was gifted to me by a friend, as my three girlfriends and i went away for the weekend to block island. she thought the book was cute and appropriate, i thought it was a thoughtful gift, and i wanted to finish the book to show my appreciation.
what i (barely) liked: i was begrudgingly intrigued enough to read to the end to see how the book concluded. although, my parting thought was relief it was over, more than satisfaction of having read
Jennifer Reierson
Sep 25, 2012 Jennifer Reierson rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
This book was about 150 pages too long.
Oct 09, 2012 Retta rated it really liked it
Good book, about 4 college roommates who come together again in their 40's.. Flashbacks to college and scenes from now. Well written and holds your interest. Hit a couple levels for me... relationships and friendship and southern women...
Feb 20, 2014 Darla rated it it was ok
Well I have to say that I am very glad that I am through with this book. Not that is was bad, but, for me, it was a little long winded. So much so that there reached a point when I started skimming the pages, looking for actual dialogue and not page fluff. I don't like when it takes the whole book before you hit the climax. It seriously took like the last couple chapters, if that, before we saw the final resolution of all the character's stories to come out!! Prior to that, it was a bunch of bac ...more
Dec 07, 2012 Pauline rated it really liked it
What a great "escape" book! Four old college pals get together 20-some years later for a beach holiday. Funny, sweet and sad. A great ride.
Cheri Ruble
Jul 11, 2013 Cheri Ruble rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and didn't want it to end, even after 406 pages. I bought it last year and put it on the shelf, thinking I had succumbed to picking up a light chick lit book while on a beach vacation. It lingered on the shelf until vacation time this year - guilt made me pack it to take to the beach. The story of four women meeting 20 years after college graduation for a week-long the beach, of course, is so much more than the usual light fare. The dialogue is terrific, the humo ...more
Feb 24, 2015 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars-good
This is what I would consider an atypical women's reunion book about 4 women getting together decades after their college days. What struck me is that they seem to have barely kept in touch with each other, yet suddenly agree that it's time to vacation together. Old memories, and relationship dynamics come back into play, while each woman seems to feel the need to push them down in order to try to prove how far they've come and moved away from the others. There is somewhat grudging sharing of th ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Patty rated it liked it
This book was just a lot longer than it needed to be. I was, frankly, bored at the repetition and lengthy explanations of insignificant plot points. I couldn't relate to the idea of keeping all your biggest secrets hidden from the people who are allegedly your dearest friends. Meh.
Sep 19, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. A little slow in the beginning, but it takes awhile to understand all the characters.
Oct 22, 2015 Jaclyn rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was exactly what I was looking for, the characters were fun and it was a light read. The secrets were pretty obvious but I enjoyed reading it.
Lena Styles
This book was good but it had the potential to be so much better. The story is about four college friends who all get together for the first time in 20 years. They each have events and secrets in their past that they need to put to rest and events in their present lives that they need to put in perspective. The author frustratingly scratches only the surface of these problems. It is especially frustrating with the character of Lola. We get it, her husband is an asshole, but the author never give ...more
Roz Curney-Sherod
Well, I'm so proud of myself for finally finishing this book! It took 5 months to finish reading an eBook that would normally only take me 3-4 days but this was a hard story to get into. Four college roommates, Mel, Sara, Annie and Lola decide to have a reunion after 20 years. There seems to be a lot of past baggage between these ladies and they are paired off with Mel being the ring leader of the group. At first it was hard to keep these characters straight and because the book kept switching b ...more
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Cathy Holton continues to entertain readers with her stories of strong, intelligent women trying to survive in an often hostile world. The Boston Globe says “Holton has a lively, fluid style that shifts easily among the viewpoints’ of several characters and goes down as easily as sweet tea,” while Entertainment Weekly calls her prose “Sharp, witty, and warm.”

Although grateful for the critical pra
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