Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
July 3rd 2012
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.
I'd heard a lot of mixed things about this book, but I knew that ever since it was announced that I was going to HAVE to read it. Any book that parodies the paranormal romance trope whilst still retaining the warmth and emotion that you want in YA book is a definite win by my means. This is the first book I've read by both Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, but I'm definitely feeling more inclined to pick up The Demon's Lexicon and I'm 100% going to get Unspoken as soon as it comes out.
Those of you who regularly read my blog, and have done so for a while, surely know about my general contempt for insta-love and sappy, clingy romances in general (sorry, I'm just not a romantic), and hearing that this was kind of a mickey take of the insta-love trope made me want to read it straight away. But it actually surprised me when I found myself becoming a lot more emotionally invested in it than I ever thought I would be. The book was funny throughout, don't get me wrong, and it kept me laughing the whole way through, but there were times near the end where I'd get those horribly little pinpricks behind my eyes and I'll admit I nearly cried. I know this isn't normal, it isn't even sad, but I don't know. I'm, like, hyperemotional when it comes to fiction.
I loved Mel so, SO much. It was really great getting to read a paranormal book that was told from the perspective of the best friend to the girl in love with the vampire, because it kind of felt like having my own mental commentary when reading books like Twilight or Hush, Hush, only as part of the actual book. Which sounds a bit stupid and obvious when I say it know, but it was a big draw for because I love people who think with their head. I love people who look at a couple who've been together for a month and make hugely life-changing decisions based on that relationship and just think WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! But at the same time, I loved the emotional journey that Mel was going through, and her understanding of being a friend. Though I completely get her opinion on Vampires, especially the ones in this book who can't freaking laugh. What even? Why would anyone give up laughing?! It's awesome.
Also, I really love books about friendships. I feel like there aren't enough, or that I just don't read enough and I really need to find some more, because big, sad romantic reunions and whatnot don't get to me on an emotional level nearly as much as conciliations between friends and families. I have no idea why, they just do. But I loved that even though there were a few romantic subplots (Cathy and Francis, Mel and Kit), it was mostly about Cathy and Mel's friendship. And there was a mystery too! Oh, how I love mysteries. I really loved all the parts when Mel and Kit were out finding clues and trying to help Mel's other friend, Anna (Dad ran away with a vampire, it's kind of a long story. Read the book!)
I really liked the setting of New Whitby as well. I liked the whole Vampires and Humans living together thing. It reminded me a bit of Morganville, actually. I really liked that it felt like they put a lot effort into creating their own kind of Vampire culture, and that the vampires were kind of like a stereotype of vampires, but they also seemed remarkable like people. Only without the laughing. And I can completely understand Mel's dislike of Francis, but I actually liked a lot of the other Vamps, especially Camille (Kit's adopted Vamp mother) and I felt that Kit's and Camille's relationship was really well done.
I liked that there was the potential of a romance between Kit, and that there was a bit of kissing, but I also liked that neither of them were under the impression that it was forever, and that they'd never be able to love again or any of that dramatic stuff. I also liked that any major life decisions that either of them made wasn't because of the other person (entirely), and I feel like Kit made completely the right decision for him, as a person. That being said, I also liked how Cathy and Francis's relationship, despite it's desperate romanticism (gag), didn't actually feel that unhealthy compared to your typical insta-love. I really liked how Cathy still put her friends first, and even though I do think it was crazy that she did such a big thing after only a month of going out, I think it an inevitable choice for her anyway. It was just that she was given the opportunity and a reason for doing so. And that as much as I hate Francis, he wasn't trying to push her into it, and he wasn't that bad of a guy, I guess. Just annoying.
Team Human was a really enjoyable read, that had more depth that I'd ever expected it to. I didn't LOVE love it, but I did like it a whole lot, and I seriously need to read more from both of these authors.