Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: Team Human

Print // Kindle // Justine Larbalestier // Sarah Rees Brennan

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Oddly enough this is my first time reading anything longer by either author.  I've read short stories by both of them, but for one reason or another I haven't read their solo novels.  This probably was a good thing as I've often found when reading jointly written books by authors I've read solo works from, I have trouble focusing.

TEAM HUMAN was an enjoyable read, and appreciated in the vastness of YA paranormal lit these days.  I found the discussions of the pros and cons of turning to be the most fascinating; its an aspect that's hardly ever discussed.  The realities of the change, the toll that it can take on people who aren't prepared--these were thoughtfully discussed.

Mel's distrust of vampires, while well-founded, tainted the narrative somewhat.  The book itself is meant to be a satire--not quite a parody because it deals with topics like prejudice and learning to let go, but its supposed to be a send-up of the genre.  That said, it makes Mel as biased as any of the girls in other novels who go ga-ga over the vampires.  It sometimes made it hard for me to take what she said with the seriousness she intended.

Much like Daniel Waters "Generation Dead" books, Larbalestier and Brennan take a paranormal topic (in this case vampires) and use it as a catalyst to discuss the prejudice of human nature.  Its natural to be wary of the unknown, and work hard to protect those we love from it.  Thing is we can take (and almost always do) take it overboard.  Toss in high schoolers and things just get crazy.  They're careful to never take things too extreme, to have Mel emphasis her reasoning and investigate anything that sounds too out there.

This would make for a good summer read or to hand to your friend who seems a bit too into the sparkly brethren.