Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: Vacations from Hell Anthology

Vacations from Hell is an anthology with stories about vacations that involve supernatural elements. My review will be on each individual story in the book.

1. Cruisin' by Sarah Mlynowski
     Cruisin' is about a girl named Kristin who goes on a cruise with her best friend, Liz. Kristin vows that she will lose her virginity by the end of the three day cruise, and Liz vows to help her out. Kristin finds a guy who may be "the one", but there are also rumors of vampires killing people on cruises...
     This was my least favorite story in the anthology. The story was predictable, and the characters were flat. Not much else to say about it, except I'm glad the anthology picks up after this one.

2. I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray
     This story is about Cecily, who shares her mother's abilities as a witch. Her family takes an annual trip to the beach to meet with her mother's coven, which happens to include Cecily's nemesis Kathleen. This year, Kathleen brings a boyfriend, and he's everything Cecily wants in a guy. So what's he doing with the evil Cecily?
    This story is split into four parts, and each part begins with a list Cecily has made. It wasn't necessary, but I enjoyed them. I liked every part of this story, and it mixed a little humor with the light story.

3. The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson
     Charlie and Marylou leave for a vacation in Paris to stay with an estranged cousin in the city. Upon their arrival, he informs them that they'll be staying in a remote village to experience an authentic French way of life. Unfortunately, he has to stay in the city for work, so they are sent by themselves. Everything is quiet, although boring, so Charlie decides to take a walk to see who or what she can see. She stumbles upon a distant neighbor who is a little too fascinated with murder, and everything goes downhill from there.
     Ahh. Maureen. It's no secret that I love her, and this is definitely one of the best stories in the anthology. It's full of twists and turns, and injected with the touch of humor that is characteristic of Maureen Johnson. The story is comically far-fetched, and is so awesome that I would be happy if it were the only story in the book.

4. The Mirror House by Cassandra Clare
     Violet's mom just married Phillip, who happens to be the father of Evan, Violet's biggest crush. The new family goes for a vacation in Jamaica for the honeymoon and to get to know each other better. While out on the beach, Evan and Violet meet a woman who lives nearby, and she asks Evan to help her fix her car. Evan continues to spend time with her throughout the vacation, and also starts to look sickly. Violet needs to find out what's going on, before it's too late.
    The anthology gets darker as it goes, and this one is pretty dark. That's not saying it's bad. No, no, It's VERY good. One of those that stays with you for a while. Honestly, there's enough going on here without the supernatural element. It's so rich that it could be an entire novel. It doesn't feel like a short story.

5. Nowhere is Safe by Libba Bray
     Poe has just graduated high school, and decides to go backpacking through Europe with three of his friends. The hit the big cities, but blow through most of their money in the first month. Instead of going home, they decide to forgo Amsterdam and instead visit a small village dubbed "The City of the Damned" for an annual festival that may or may not be celebrating Satan.
     I'm torn with this story. While I loved the story and the awesome setting, the characters annoyed me. The way the story is told (by Poe and like he is talking to a youtube video) bugged me, and I didn't like his voice. The very end of the story was rushed and felt kind of sloppy. So while I really enjoyed it, I wouldn't call it a favorite.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like any of the authors, or you just some short stories to break up your reading.


  1. This looks like a good book - espeicially the Cassandra Clare one. I like dark :-)

  2. I haven't read a collection of short stories in a while! I'll definitely have to check this out!

  3. I was kind of in a reading slump, and these were the perfect thing to get me out of it!

  4. Looks good. I'm adding this to my TBR list.



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