Title: Team Human
Author: Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: July, 2012 by HarperTeen
Purchase: The Book Depository
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.
This book should have come with a warning label. I almost choked my own incessant laughter amongst a fit of coughing and spluttering. I was constantly grinning like a kid on Christmas over how thoroughly I found myself loving Mel and her vampire-boyfriend eradicating ways. Breathing sarcasm, and backed by a heavily rooted disliking of vampires that wanted to date her friends, Mel was the kind of character you just glom onto and don’t want to let go of. The plot seemed a little flimsy to start with, but it quickly grew beyond the initial premise, adding in a mystery, angsty friends, and cute guys.
It was so easy to laugh at the Francis and Cathy “epic love story” when looking at it from the outside. They were intolerably obsessed with each other—instaluv to the extreme. I had the feeling that if Mel could have gotten a crowbar past her Principal, she would have. Francis—never Frank or Frankie—full of antiquated mannerisms and ideas of chivalry—proved to be quite the easy target for Mel’s shenanigans. If there was something to poke fun at, she’d find it. I loved the tangents, the running jokes, but putting that aside, there was obviously an underlying bigotry to Mel.
It was no secret she wouldn’t mind if all the vampires got shipped off to another continent. This anti-vampire stance could be transposed onto just about any anti-group, so while I did enjoy humour in it all, I did hold hope that Mel would open her mind a little, even if she didn’t change her stance. I didn’t hold much hope for Cathy, though. Her brain was mush. She’s possibly one of the most frustrating deaf-to-sanity characters I’ve come across. Knocking her over the head would have been preferable. I really didn’t like her. Sure, she was one of Mel’s best friends, so it was understandable why Mel wouldn’t just say ‘adios, enjoy some vampire lovin’—but at the same time, I wanted her to.
The introduction of Kit sent this book up a notch for me—I was practically stoked that Mel getting a love interest, someone to keep from stalking her friends all the time…or to help her. Plus, I’m a sucker for the broken boys. Not that Kit was emo or anything—he was just so out of touch, yet surprisingly well adjusted in other respects. Grinning so hard, he was the perfect match for Mel—laughter meant you were human. With a love of daytime tv and a habit of driving like a grandma, Kit was pretty freaking fun, or maybe he was just funny. Who cares…I loved it.
Maybe I’m losing whatever mystery solving prowess I had accumulated, but I didn’t pick up on the clues, or at least didn’t rearrange them in time—which was a good thing. Jumping to conclusions, there was a lot of detective work going down, with Mel trying to juggle the affairs of one friend—and thwart them—with the plagues of another. For what I expect to be a standalone, it all worked together really well. Characters grew—well, some of them—and there was enough resolution for my liking—especially the part that confirmed my gaydar was working.
If you enjoyed Sarah’s sense of humour in the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, definitely try out this new offering from her and Australian author, Justine Larbalestier.