Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan.

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Paperback, 359 pages

Published July 1st by Allen & Unwin

IBSN: 9781742378398

Tagline: Friends don’t let friends date vampires.

Let’s examine what a prize that it is one more time: no more direct sunlight ever again, no more laughter. You get eternity, but you don’t have the sense of humour to enjoy it! Also, vampires don’t eat food. You never get to eat chocolate again. Ever.

I’d rather die.

All the vampire wannabes and vamposeurs mystify me. Who would choose the possibility of immortality over chocolate?

New Whitby was founded by vampires way back. They were looking to create a place where they could live peacefully without too much persecution from us humans. Nowadays, unless you are a vamp groupie, humans in New Whitby don’t really see a lot of the vampires.

Mel lives there, so she is used to the idea of the fanged undead. But that doesn’t mean she wants one at her school, as the object of her best friend Cathy’s affections. Enter Francis, a cold-on-more-than-one-level vampire, who inserts himself into Mel’s group, much to her dismay (and Cathy’s delight).

Even Mel’s obnoxious and rude remarks aren’t driving him away.

I gave creepy, cold Francis a bright smile, clapped my hands together, and said: “Can you believe summer is over? Hands up, who’s going to miss the sunshine?”

Anna, Mel’s other best friend, is going through a crisis of her own. Not long ago, Anna’s dad ran off with one of his patients – a vampire – and hasn’t spoken to her since. Mel believes that something is definitely amiss, and promises Anna to help.

As if her life isn’t busy enough, what with sleuthing for one friend and trying to keep the other from falling in love with a bloodsucker, Mel runs into some romantic complications of her own when she meets the cute and funny Kit.

Team Human is written in a funny way – think Meg Cabot – as opposed to a more serious Stephenie Meyer style. It has some great little laugh (or snort) out loud moments, especially in the beginning.

I didn’t find the romance side of things to be anything spectacularly original or exciting, but I think that it was supposed to take a back seat to the mystery storyline anyway. Also, I didn’t see the need for the mentions of Mel’s previous two boyfriends. They didn’t seem to add to the plot (except maybe as a cautionary experience for her, or a twist to how she views guys now), so why bother?

Sarah Rees Brennan hasn’t featured on my bookshelf thus far, but I read Justine Larbalestier’s Liar – a twisty, werewolf tale – some time ago and liked it a lot. In comparison, Team Human is a fair whack lighter than Liar is.

The tagline (friends don’t let friends date vampires) was the thing that really made me buy this book. It’s like the Maureen Johnson line on the back of my copy says: “…if you love vampire books, this is the book for you – if you hate vampire books, this is also the book for you.” Because Mel has such strong, borderline (sometimes way over the line) racist views of vampires, Team Human is less a swoonish OMG-I-love-vampires book aimed at tweens than it is a book about a seventeen year old girl who happens to live in a city founded by vampires. It kind of takes the mickey out of vampires, to be honest. Meanwhile, there are a few interesting ideas about them – like their inability to laugh or feel great emotions – and the risks of becoming one that just make sense to me.

I recommend this to anyone after a light, funny read with a few dark, serious touches here and there. I liked it!

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