“How I Survived My Summer Vacation” by Various Authors Review

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How I Survived My Summer Vacation

Author: Nancy Holder, Paul Ruditis, MIchelle Sagara West, Cameron Dokey, Yvonne Navarro

Release Date: August 2000

This is a short story collection about the summer in between seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy. During this summer (according to the book) Buffy went to Los Angeles with her dad for a few months while Angel, Jenny, Giles, Xander and Willow are left behind to keep Sunnydale safe. The book benefits from having the framing device and all the stories take place in chronological order, although compared to the Tales of the Slayer short story collections, this book lacks a real stand out great story. Here’s what I thought of the individual stories:

Dust by Michelle West – A story about Buffy spending the summer in LA with her dad and the aftermath of her own death and battle with the master; Buffy also has visions of death for whomever she touches. Not much holds up here continuity wise with the series (relationship with dad, Master’s resurrection, Joyce’s future death) and all the dream sequences sapped any urgency or threat of danger.

Absalom Rising by Nancy Holder – Angel, Giles, Willow, Xander and Jenny Calendar try to figure out what to do with the Master’s bones while the anointed one and new vampire Absalom try to recover them. The bones story line ended up being resolved better in the show, and this installment at worst contradicts and at best doesn’t really add anything to what’s canon. 3.5/5

Looks Can Kill by Cameron Dokey – Giles, Angel and Ms. Calendar team up to thwart a shapeshifter. This felt like a nice season one bad guy of the week episode. 4 out of 5

No Place Like… By Cameron Dokey – Buffy helps a fortune teller reunite with her dead daughter while setting a spirit to rest. Definitely not as good as the ghost episode of Buffy and felt rushed in the final confrontation. 3 out of 5

Uncle Dead and the Fourth of July by Yvonne Navarro – Giles, Jenny and Angel must deal with an army of zombies resurrected during a 4th of July parade. With one episode of Buffy devoted to Zombies, plus another whole novelization this felt very unnecessary. 2 out of 5

The Show Must Go On by Paul Ruditis – Xander and Willow are working on a traveling theater production when a series of theatrical themed murders occur. Coincidence? I think not. Still this was the most fun entry in the book as the backstage murdering requires last minute improvisations by the stage crew. 4.5/5

3-star

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