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I Belong

Review: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Team Human

Authors: Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: July 3, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062089641 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062089649 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


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.

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.

Quick & Dirty: This parody is laugh out loud funny, with a good mystery to keep it interesting! They tried very hard to make it different from other vampire romances while still making fun of them!

Opening Sentence: I wasn’t feeling very enthused about education the day the vampire came to school.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

There are a lot of really horrible parodies out there. Team Human is not one of them. That being said, it is a parody — do not make the mistake of taking it seriously! Mel Duan hates vampires. Her best friend Cathy, however, is in love with one. While Mel tries — really tries — to be rude and unsympathetic to the woes of loving one of the undead, Cathy and Francis’s affection will not be stopped. Cue hilarity, because our 150-year-old brooding vampire and his one true love fit perfectly into the paranormal romance trope — desire to be made immortal and all. Mel took a little while to get into, because she’s over-bearing and annoying, but funny to the point where you eventually give up and decide to like her.

The town this story takes place in has some great world-building. Vampires are completely normal, since it was a town founded during colonial times by vampires. Everyone is used to having a vampire or two around, even if there isn’t much mixing between them and humans. Mel hates vamps and loves the species separation. Believes wholeheartedly in it, in fact. People who want to transition to become one have to be educated, etc. and the government has a whole system set up just for the eager wanna-be vampires. The thing I adored about this? Not all transitions are successful. Something like 10% of people die, which is something I’ve never seen before in a paranormal. There’s a lot in this book I’ve never seen before, actually, because the authors tried really hard to make it more than a parody.

As I emphasized, it’s a parody, but it has a mystery. Mel wants to find the principle’s ex-husband, who’s supposedly run off to be with a hot vampire, but Mel doesn’t htink that’s the real story. And she wants to separate Cathy from Francis at the same time, leaving her hands a little bit full. In comes Kit, a human who was raised by Camille after being left for dead by his real parents. Camille is his mother in everything but blood…and a vampire. I absolutely loved Camille and Mel together. Kit’s adorable, too, but reading his mother and crush together was brilliant.

Which leads me to my next point, which is that Brennan and Larbalestier make an excellent team. Their writing flowed and synced up with each other, churning the book along at the same pace as Mel’s narration — that is to say fast and kind of crazy. Mel has a way of acting before thinking — probably not an asset in a world of vampires, huh? — and there are moments when it jerks the reader around. Overall though, I enjoyed this book. Anything that can make me cry laughing not once, but a dozen times, deserves a recommendation.

Notable Scene:

“Permit me to accompany you home,” Francis said.

“We’re cool,” I said.

“You’re so kind,” said Cathy.

Guess who Francis the Selectively Deaf paid attention to?

I cast an imploring look at Kit and Camille.

“I’m sure Francis has things to do around the house,” I said. “Like his chores? Maybe somebody needs to scrub the toilet?”

“Vampires don’t go to the bathroom,” Kit said gloomily. “So guess whose turn it always is to scrub the toilet?”

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Team Human.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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One Response to “Review: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

  1. Katie @ Blook GirlNo Gravatar

    GREAT review, Emmy! Team Human is definitely on my TBR list and I can’t wait to read it now, having read your review :-) So glad you enjoyed it!

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