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Vacations from Hell Paperback – May 26, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—The all-star lineup of authors of these supernatural tales will attract readers, but none of the selections truly surprise. The settings range from the French countryside to a Jamaican villa and the protagonists include a vampire, a witch, and a couple of normal girls whose vacations turn into nightmares. The most winning entry is Maureen Johnston's "The Law of Suspects," in which two sisters are exposed to a story that turns its listeners into killers. It succeeds more as a black comedy of errors than as a chilling horror story. Bray's "Nowhere is Safe" is refreshing because the narrator is male and the characters don't fit the blond-haired, blue-eyed mold. But the author makes such a to-do about her characters' Haitian, Japanese, and Jewish identities that it feels sort of like an after-school special, and the Slavic village's sacrifice ritual is neither funny nor particularly scary. Overall, this is a good beach read for some, but the collection won't attract a diverse audience.—Emily R. Brown, Providence Public Library, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels, both of which have appeared on ALA's Best Books for Young Adults list.

Cassandra Clare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass. City of Bones was a Locus Award finalist for Best First Novel and an ALA Teens' Top Ten winner. She is also the author of the upcoming YA fantasy trilogy The Infernal Devices. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her boyfriend and two cats.

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of New Orleans–based writer Amy Vincent, the author of the New York Times bestselling Evernight series. She has worked as a lawyer, a journalist, a disc jockey, and an extremely poor waitress. Her grandparents' copy of Mysteries of the Unexplained is probably the genesis of her fascination with most things mysterious and/or inexplicable.

Maureen Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include The Name of the Star, Suite Scarlett, Scarlett Fever, Girl At Sea, The Key To The Golden Firebird, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes. She lives in New York City, but travels to the UK regularly to soak up the drizzle and watch English TV.

Sarah Mlynowski is the author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have), Don’t Even Think About It, Bras & Broomsticks, the New York Times bestselling Whatever After books, and more. Her books have been translated into 29 languages and optioned to Hollywood. Sarah has taken many road trips and gotten lost on every one of them.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006168872X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061688720
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,157,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Layla Bing on July 7, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Vacations from Hell is the third in a series of YA fantasy and horror anthologies. With stories by such YA bestsellers as Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Libba Bray, this most recent installment of the Hell series does not disappoint. All of the stories are interesting and well written, though Libba Bray's is by far the best of the group. They range from heart-warming and inspired to incredibly chilling and horrific. Of the three anthologies, this one falls most squarely into the horror category, with less romance than the others had led me to expect. So if you're looking for paranormal romance, I'd check out the Love is Hell anthology first. Whatever Vacations from Hell lacks in steamy make-outs though, it more than makes up for in grade-A horror and general creepiness. There is some real top-notch YA fantasy happening here, with vampires, and witches, and Satan (oh my!). My advice? Definitely check it out.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on July 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
VACATIONS FROM HELL is a win-win. Popular authors with dark and twisting fantasy stories have produced a collection that benefits College Summit, a nonprofit organization that helps students, especially from low-income areas, go to college. This is the latest in a series of anthologies, which include PROM NIGHTS FROM HELL and LOVE IS HELL, to support that cause.

Sarah Mlynowski, author of the Magic in Manhattan series, opens the book with "Crusin,'" the story of Liz and Kristin on a cruise. Kristin is determined to lose her virginity and envies the ease with which her friend and roomie picks up dates so quickly. Liz is always disappearing with hot guys or off for meetings. They meet fun girl Hailey and enjoy food, sun and dancing on the ship while Kristin keeps choosing the wrong guys. Rumors abound about people who have recently gone missing on cruises and the supernatural creatures that may have caused those disappearances. By the end of the cruise, readers will find multiple layers in the quests of the girls in this mysterious and very surprising story.

EVERNIGHT author Claudia Gray takes readers to the Outer Banks for a gathering of witches. Cecily Harper's mother has been training her for her powers for years in a coven at home, but each summer their family gets together with her mother's college friends. The fathers and brothers are told nothing, and sent to sporting events and activities. All the men think it's just a vacation where the female friends gather. But Cecily is no friend of Kathleen Pruitt. Kathleen is about her age and each year finds some way to torture Cecily. This year Kathleen brings a boyfriend who is gorgeous, interested in being a chef like Cecily, and seems to be the only male she's ever met who really gets her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa D on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had bought this originally because I loved the Mortal Instruments series. I did not know the other authors, but I figured it was worth a shot. I was beyond pleasantly surprised! It is a compilation of short stories about supernatural and weird events that all take place with the characters on vacation. What is so great about this book is now I have knowledge of a handful of other authors to check out now! The first story is a little cheesy, still not bad, and they get better as they go along! I read the whole book in one day, and am now going to try out the rest of the Hell books! Happy reading :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Did you ever think you had the worst possible vacation ever? Well, pick up VACATIONS FROM HELL and realize that what you think was horrible is just icing on the cake.

Five of today's most popular paranormal young adult authors combine their talents in this collection of short stories. This is a compilation that is sure to appeal to everyone. I will admit at the beginning that I've only read works by Sarah Mlynowski and Maureen Johnson in the past, but will definitely be looking forward to reading works by the other three authors now.

This collection has something for everyone. For fans of The Blair Witch Project, check out Nowhere is Safe by Libba Bray. Four thrill-seeking teenagers on a trip around Europe stumble across scary things in a dark and dangerous forest. For anyone that hated that other girl for one reason or another and wanted to get even, check out I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray. If you like those twisted ghost stories that are handed down from person to person, then The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson is for you. Got a hankering for a bit of dark witchcraft? The Mirror House will make you think twice about looking in mirrors again. And my personal favorite was Cruisin' by Sarah Mlynowski. It was one of those stories where I totally didn't expect the ending. You have to love when a story can do that!

The stories are all well-written and blend together perfectly. Each story is the perfect length to sit down and read in a sitting. After reading VACATIONS FROM HELL you will never again complain of a bad holiday!

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Format: Kindle Edition
First off, I’m not a huge fan of anthologies, but I wasn’t going to miss out on anything written by Cassandra Clare. So, I picked this up and finished it in little over a day as I simply couldn’t put it down. I loved this book! It’s an anthology of horror stories and, of course, my number one favorite genre is horror. “Vacations from Hell” exceeded my every expectation, and as I’ve always wondered what Libba Bray’s storytelling was like, I was overjoyed to find included in this anthology a short story written by her. And yes, I’m definitely going to read more of her books. Another author’s short story included in this anthology, and whose books I’ve never read before, is Maureen Johnson. You can be sure I’ll be adding her books to my reading list as well.

I enjoyed the first two short stories in “Vacations from Hell”, but my favorite ones turned out to be the last three. I can see why these authors’ books sell in the thousands. All three of them – Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Libba Bray – are exceptional storytellers! Each of them wrote a tale that, for me, was refreshingly different from what I’ve read before, but reminded me of earlier works by two of my favorite horror authors, Dean R. Koontz and Richard Laymon. All five authors kept to the vacation theme and presented me with tales of which the outcomes were completely unpredictable.

“Vacations from Hell” is a wholly captivating compilation of short horror stories written by extremely talented authors. It kept me glued to the pages, sent chills up my spine, had me breaking out in goosebumps, and is a book I will undoubtedly read again, and share with my bookworm friends. I highly recommend it to fans of horror or readers looking for a thrilling read. Fans of these authors will be delighted by these stories, so of course I would recommend it to them as well. I happily give this book five stars!
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