Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vacations from Hell

published: May 26th 2009
publisher: HarperTeen
format: Paperback
pages: 280
genre: fantasy

Vacations from Hell is an anthology written by five, well-known young adult authors. They include Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty) Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Claudia Gray (Evernight), Maureen Johnson (13 Little Blue Envelopes), and Sarah Mlynowski (Bras & Broomsticks).

The following (partial) synopsis comes from

Life's a beach . . . and then you're undead?

in this must-have collection, five of today's hottest writers tell supernatural tales of vacations gone awry. Lost luggage is only mildly unpleasant compared to bunking with a witch who holds a grudge. And a sunburn might be embarrassing and painful, but it doesn't last as long as a curse. Of course, even in the most hellish of situations, love can thrive. . . .

From light and funny to dark and creepy, these stories have something for everyone. You definitely won't want to leave this collection at home!

My Thoughts:
The Cover:
I pretty much have the same thing to say about this cover as I did about Love is Hell, it goes very well with the previous Hell anthologies. (Prom Nights from Hell and Love is Hell) I like that they all have the sort of fiery smoke background with a single focal point. This one is a flower that reminds me of traveling, beaches, and summer. I really like this one and I can't wait to find out what will be on the cover of Kisses from Hell (due out in Fall 2010 and I know Alyson Noel has a story called Bring Me to Life (and I believe that Kristin Cast also has a story. I'm not 100% sure on that one though). Maybe it'll be a tube of lipstick? =P

The Book:
I love short stories (still) and I read these in two days. I had to stop because it was early in the morning and when I started the last one, I was still freaked out and that one sounded freaky. It reminded me of a movie that I'd rather NOT think about. Anyway, I will review each story separately.

Crusin' by Sarah Mlynowski
This story was a great opener to this anthology. It's about a girl and her friend (Kristin and Liz) on a cruise by themselves. One girl is trying to find a guy for her first time and they scope out guys and make a new friend (Hailey). What begins as a fun, boy-seeking cruise adventure, eventually turns hellish.
I really enjoyed this one. There were some twists and that's the best part. When something happens that the read wasn't entirely expecting, it makes the book that much better and Sarah did an excellent job on Cruisin'. I've never been on a cruise, but if it's anything like the Cruise to Nowhere that these girls are on (that's really what the cruise is called) then I don't want to go on one!

I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray
This story is about a girl named Cecily who also happens to be a witch, as is her mother. Every summer her family goes to the beach and meet up with six other families with witches. Cecily's enemy is Kathleen and she's very mean. This summer she brings her boyfriend Scott who is gorgeous and perfect for Cecily. She is convinced Kathleen brought him to spite her and is out to expose her true nature.
I like this because it's different than other witch stories. In this world, men cannot know about the witches. I thought this was very cool and different. I also liked how it ended! But I won't talk about that.

The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson
In this story, sisters Charlie and Marylou go to France to stay with their cousin. They think they're going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and be touristy, but he sends them to the countryside where he promises to follow. There they discover a hellish story and then begin to live a hellish nightmare.
This story was great! It was so original and I was left completely FREAKED out! I was seriously afraid to read the next one! This wasn't really what I was expecting and that's the beauty of it! I would love to know where a story like this came from.

The Mirror House by Cassandra Clare
This story is about Violet who goes to Jamaica with her mother and new step-brother and step-father. She and her step-brother share a secret that turns out to be beneficial. The cook at the villa warns Violet about the dangers of the beaches, but she doesn't believe her.
This story, also freaked me out! It was extremely cool though. I loved all the different elements of the people in the story and how they all work/fit together in some way. I thought it was well-written and it definitely kept my attention.

Nowhere is Safe by Libba Bray
In this story four friends, Poe, John, Baz, and Izzie go to a town that is said to have traded with the devil in order to prosper. This story was pretty freaky and I enjoyed it. I could totally see this being made into a movie or something. It was creepy and had all kinds of unnatural things going on. It was great. It was definitely well thought out.

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