Prom Nights from Hell is, as you may have already deduced from the title, a collection of five stories about hellish prom nights. There are some big-name YA authors here -- including Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Myracle -- names that don't require hand-selling. Really, all booksellers and librarians will have do with this one is face the book out.
Meg Cabot's "The Exterminator's Daughter", which begins in a club where our heroine is stalking her prey with her trusty crossbow.
Kim Harrison's "Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper", in which our heroine gets a ride home with the wrong guy.
"Kiss and Tell", by Michele Jaffe, which won me over with the line: "Sometimes having superhearing supersucked."
In "Hell on Earth", Stephenie Meyer tells a story about a demoness at the prom.
"The Corsage", by Lauren Myracle, is a re-telling of "The Monkey's Paw".
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to First Book. So that's nice. What's less nice is that this just isn't a very strong collection.
Meg Cabot's story made me want to watch a couple of Buffy re-runs, to remind myself that vampire slayer stories can be witty and exciting and romantic and engrossing.
And speaking of Buffy, there's an episode based on "The Monkey's Paw" (there's no actual paw, but Dawn tries to bring her mother back and trust me, it's the same story) and it blows the Myracle story out of the water.
Kim Harrison's story was interesting, but it felt like the beginning of a novel, not like a short story. It's one thing to leave things open ended, it's another to just... not finish them. That's how that one felt. But it made me curious enough about her books that I'm planning to (at some point) pick up Dead Witch Walking.
Stephenie Meyer's story had its moments. This made me laugh:
Both of them stared at Celeste, who had apparently lost something she needed deep inside Heath's mouth.
"Huh," Gabe said.
Oh, and Gabe is Celeste's date, by the way. So that was fun, for a while. But, ultimately, I never cared about any of the characters, never rooted for them, never worried about them.
The only story in the collection that did have characters I even remotely cared about was Michele Jaffe's "Kiss and Tell". That one I enjoyed so much that A) I'm going to try and FINALLY get to Bad Kitty this weekend and B) I'd read a whole book about the heroine.
I'm sure that plenty of teen fans of paranormal romance will enjoy the book, regardless of my crankypants reaction.