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Grade 9 Up—This exciting collection of short stories by popular teen authors—Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, and Lauren Myracle—embraces the dark side of a revered tradition. It starts with vampire-hunting Mary, who takes her mission of revenge on Dracula seriously enough to evoke his wrath by killing his son at her high school prom, and ends with the horned demon Sheba, who tries to wreak havoc at her prom. With edgy writing designed to hook and captivate even the most reluctant of readers, each story is filled with strong, appealing characters who work their magic on the senses by appearing to be strong, daring, and passionate. Readers are taken on an exhilarating ride through the terrifying side of an otherwise common event, and the mood is cleverly sustained with an aura of fast-paced yet somber writing. One distinct highlight of the collection is the well-orchestrated balance between the different aspects of horror that each writer addresses. Sure to have appeal for older teens, this book will undoubtedly make the circuit of fans of demons, ghosts, vampires, and gothic love stories.—Caryl Soriano, New York Public Library
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Far from gauzy, rose-colored clichés, the prom nights depicted in this anthology are surreal, scary, and often populated with monsters and zombies. A well-known author for young adults contributes each of the five long stories. In Meg Cabot's, "The Exterminator's Daughter," a high-school student chases down a vampire before he can claim his next victim on prom night. In Stephenie Meyer's "Hell on Earth," a prom is nearly destroyed by warring biblical demons; then dreamy half-angel Gabe comes to the rescue. The tone in each story wavers between glib camp and chilling terror, just like a teen horror movie. Several stories include some sexy innuendo; in Michelle Jaffe's "Kiss and Tell," the narrator reads about "Tantric tongue tricks" and imagines a handsome older man "without his shirt but with a pitcher of maple syrup and a big . . . stack of pancakes." Like many anthologies, this one is uneven, but there is plenty here to amuse older horror fans, particularly those with a cynical view of prom night. Ed: add price to imprint. Engberg, Gillian
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