Thursday, February 28, 2013

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Australian author Justine Larbalestier and Irish author Sarah Rees Brennan team up for a smart vampire romance -- Team Human. They make it clear to Twilight's fans that their narrator, Mel, chooses neither vampires (Team Edward) nor werewolves (Team Jacob). Mel lives in New Whitby, Maine.

"My mom's family came over from China to America because of the railroads, moved across America selling stuff to the gold miners, and settled here. You wind up where you wind up, and no place in the world is perfect. There's always something to cope with: too hot, too cold, no night life. In our city's case, it's way too much night life. With fangs."

The New Whitby vampires co-exist peacefully enough with humans, although they don't mix much. Things get complicated, however, when Mel's best friend becomes enamoured with a vampire who enrolls at their high school. Mel calls him the undead love weasel. She is determined to dissuade Cathy from dating a guy who is more than 200 years old (and dangerous).

Mel's sense of humour is not always appreciated by her friends, but I love this character's voice. Here's another example, which also gives you an idea of the kind of shenanigans going on in the plot:

"I had never seen so many rats before. For a weird moment I started counting them. It was that or faint, which was obviously unacceptable, both because I had too much pride and because the rats would walk on my face."

Suspenseful and fun, Team Human also manages to address serious topics like bigotry and loyalty. Grade 8 and up.

Readalikes: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Lish McBride); The Reformed Vampire Support Group (Catherine Jinks); and Life Sucks (Jessica Abel).

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