Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Megan Rambles About Vacations From Hell

Vacations From Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski
From GoodreadsLife's a beach . . . and then you're undead?

In this must-have collection, five of today's hottest writers—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)—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! 

Recently I bought a ton of books for super cheap because Amazon was having some big holiday sale and had a bunch of YA books for under $5. I was just casually scrolling through and when I saw the list of authors in this collection I absolutely couldn't resist. I mean Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, and Maureen Johnson are some of my favorite authors, I loved Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski, and I've heard how amazing all of Libba Bray's books are (I have like 2 of them sitting on my shelf but haven't gotten to them yet. Yeah I know. I'm terrible) Plus a collection all about hellish vacations? I was really excited to read this one!

I wasn't disappointed either. Each of the stories had a different tone and was different and unique. There were also a lot of twists and I usually couldn't guess the ending until the very last second, which is a great to have in a short story.

The first story was "Cruisin'" by Sarah Mylinowski. This story was about three girls hanging out on a cruise ship when there have been rumors of vampires killing people on cruises. It starts out like you would expect a story about three teenage girls on a cruise ships with a bunch of hot guys to start, but there was a twist that I loved. The ending was unexpected and this story was a great way to start  off the collection.

Next up was "I Don't Like Your Girlfriend" by Claudia Gray which was a story about witches. I liked this one and was excited to see Claudia writing a story about witches since Spellcaster is coming out soon (The two are probably completely unrelated, but I was excited anyway).  Cecily was an interesting main character to read about and I thought you got to know a lot about her considering it was a short story. I liked the fact that Cecily wasn't afraid to handle situations herself without help from the more powerful, older witches around her, and that she also wasn't afraid to question the traditions of her fellow witches. This story was lighter than the others and I thought the ending was perfect for the tone of the story.

Probably the creepiest story came from Maureen Johnson (if you've read The Name of the Star, you probably don't find this surprising at all). It was called "The Law of Suspects" and focused on two sisters who are visiting family in the French countryside. Charlie and her sister Marylou had an amusing relationship, with Marylou trying to diagnose Charlie with all kinds of psychological problems to practice for her major in, you guessed it, psychology. I don't want to say too much about the plot of this one because I don't want to give it away,  but it involves a VERY CREEPY story. Also there is a cute French guy who shows up. So there's that. Even if the ending confused me,  I think this and Cassandra Clare's story are tied for my favorite.

Speaking of Cassie's story, let's talk about "The Mirror House". It's no secret that Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite authors and I think this is the first non-Shadowhunter thing of hers I have read. The main character Violet has a small problem on her hands when the story starts. It isn't easy when you have a crush on the guy who is about to become your step-brother. Evan is a polite, normal teenage guy, but I liked him  more than I thought I would. He was sweet and I liked the way he interacted with Violet. This story centers around what happens when Evan starts spending time with the pretty woman who lives in the house just down the beach. And there's a bit of paranormal stuff involved. The ending was a bit predictable, but I liked it all the same.

Last but certainly not least, Libba Bray's "Nowhere is Safe".  I really liked the way this story was written. It starts out as if the main character, Po, is talking directly to the reader. Like he's holding a camera and talking into it Blair Witch Project style or something like that. So you read the entire story like Po is literally telling it to you. The other characters in this story are Po's friends Baz, John, and Isabel who were all funny and witty. They provided a bit of humor to a story that was actually pretty dark and creepy. There were so many twists and turns to this one. As soon as I would guess that it was going to end one way, something else would happen and the story would go off in another direction. I really loved the unpredictability of it. The ending was also satisfying but pretty open like there could be more to this story. I would love to see Libba Bray continue it somehow if she hasn't already. 

To sum up this entire long explanation, each one of the authors in this collection brought a completely different story and a completely different experience. I loved getting to see so many different ways that vacations could go horribly wrong. Luckily I haven't ever experienced any of these things, but I'll be sure to beware of cruise ships, cabins in the French countryside, and creepy ancient towns in Europe from now on. If you're looking for a creepy collection by five amazing authors, then I definitely recommend picking this one up. I mean come on, it's Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski all in one book!



  1. I've read Prom Nights From Hell but hadn't even heard of this one. I'll have to check it out (the authors for this collection look awesome). I'm probably most looking forward to reading Clare's story. :)

    Awesome ramble. XD

    Sadie @ Lyrics.

    1. Thank you! I actually have Prom Nights From Hell and Love is Hell sitting on my shelf but haven't gotten around to reading them yet!