Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier
Expected publication: July 3, 2012 (Harper Teen)
Source: ATW ARC Tours
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Connect with the authors online: Justine's website | Sarah's website
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 stays 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.
Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.
True story: I almost didn't want to read this book. I'll go ahead and admit it: I didn't think I'd like a book that so clearly parodies all things vampires, even, at many points, directly spoofing Twilight. But co-authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier absolutely changed my mind with the first few chapters of this hilarious inside look at the life of one level headed girl - Mel - caught between her swoon-y best friend and the vampire she loves.
Mel is an amazingly practical, out-spoken, and fierce heroine, one that I loved. There was never a moment in Team Human where I felt ambivalent about her. Larbalestier and Brennan developed her SO well, and she was the perfect choice to narrate this tongue-in-cheek vampire spoof. Mel is the character that was missing from Twilight! Living in a vampire-heavy town is a challenge for Mel, who has a strictly "live and let live" policy when it comes to vampires, but when the refined Francis shows up to attend her high school, all bets are off. I laughed out loud SO often at Mel and Francis's exchanges. I'm not sure which author brought that brand of humor to the table, or if it was both of them combined, but it was genius, watching Francis struggle to remain a gentleman toward Mel (whom he obviously didn't know what to do with) and watching Mel get in her little digs.
The characters were all stand-outs in Team Human, from Mel's scatter-brained mother to her caring dad and her younger brother, Lancelot (yes, that's his real name, and no, Mel's is NOT Melanie.) I really liked Ty, Mel and Cathy's friend, and actually found myself cheering for him throughout the book - there was just something irresistible about him. I fell hard for Kit, a secondary character and possible love interest for Mel, and in fact, was far more interested in the friendship developing between him and Mel than I was the gooey, over-done "relationship" between Cathy and Francis. They were insta-love to the nth degree, which of course was very deliberate, and I knew that...and yes, I STILL wanted to shake them both, especially poor, dopey Cathy.
Watching her fall for Francis was almost painful. I hate to bring up the T-word again, but it was VERY a la Edward and Bella, which is one of my most hated pairings ever (and a long, rant-y story I will not go into today!) But I still enjoyed the parody aspects of Team Human, and in fact, I actually liked these vampires a lot. They were weird and totally marching to the beat of their own drum, and several, like Francis and some of his other "family members" were really kind of fascinating. Ironically, I would have loved to have gotten to know a few of them better!
Team Human is a side-splitting story, for sure. I read it in a matter of hours, because I just couldn't put it down. I found the plot at times to be a bit weak, but this is not a deep or new story, and I don't mean that in a negative way. Larbalestier and Brennan have crafted a very funny, witty, sardonic tale of love between a vampire and a human, and the voice of reason stuck in the middle. If you read Team Human for what it is, you will find that that is a very enjoyable read. It didn't resonate emotionally with me, but it DID make me laugh, and cheer for Team Human.