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Team Human

Review

Team Human

Authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan clearly have a blast teaming up to write TEAM HUMAN, an irreverent vampire story that will appeal to a wide audience.

High school senior Mel is not a big fan of vampires. Maybe it's because she's accompanied out-of-town visitors on one too many bus tours through the vampire district of her Maine town. Maybe she finds their presence on the fringe of society a little creepy. Or maybe it's that her good friend Anna's life has been ruined by vampires.

"TEAM HUMAN is both very funny --- that rare vampire novel that doesn't take itself too seriously --- and genuinely heartfelt...Mel's story offers some genuine moments of insight into what it means to be self-aware, to be generous, and to be a good and true friend."

If there's one thing you can say about Mel, it's that she cares about her friends. She may not be as perfectly beautiful or as dazzlingly smart as her friends, Cathy and Anna, but she is undoubtedly fiercely loyal to them. That's why she's so upset about the fact that Anna's father has run off with one of his vampire patients. And it's especially why she's upset when Cathy falls head-over-heels in love with Francis, the cold but undoubtedly handsome vampire who enrolls as a student at their school. Cathy is brilliant, but she's also unfailingly romantic, a believer in true love and “the One.” Mel's all for love (even though she's had a hard time finding it herself), but when it starts to look like Cathy's pursuit of true love is going to lead to a desire to transition into a vampire, Mel feels she has to intervene.

Mel's initially reluctant ally is Kit, Francis's adopted nephew, a human who was raised by vampires and is consequently both mystified and charmed by human customs. Before Kit met Mel, most of what he learned about humans came from television or from the so-called vamposeurs who hang around in the shade, hoping for some hot vampire interaction. Kit, like Cathy, longs to turn into a vampire as soon as he turns eighteen, if not before. But can his new relationship with Mel convince him to stay on Team Human?

TEAM HUMAN is both very funny --- that rare vampire novel that doesn't take itself too seriously --- and genuinely heartfelt. Mel must negotiate her changing understanding of her friends, her friends' parents, and even of herself during the course of the novel. Plus, she's got a couple of really weird romantic relationships to process --- both those of others and her own. Mel's story offers some genuine moments of insight into what it means to be self-aware, to be generous, and to be a good and true friend.

TEAM HUMAN is co-written by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, both experts on YA lit in general and vampire stories in particular. What's unique about their collaboration is that, unlike many other co-written novels, there is only a single protagonist and a single primary storyline. One imagines that this kind of collaboration --- one where the authors had to agree not only on an overall plot but also on details of voice, tone, and characterization --- involved a particularly complicated but rewarding process. Their authors' afterword seems to suggest that they're open to teaming up on additional collaborations in the future, a fact that readers will be sure to appreciate and anticipate!

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on October 12, 2012

Team Human
by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

  • Publication Date: June 4, 2013
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 006208965X
  • ISBN-13: 9780062089656