Review: Team Human

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date ~ July 3, 2012
HarperTeen ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13: 9780062089649
ARC received from HarperCollins Canada for review
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

If you're looking for a different kind of book to read (and you're a tad tired from the same type of paranormals), Team Human is a perfect pick for you.

I knew this was one book that wouldn't take itself too seriously, and would have some witty comments about the vampire genre in general; but what I wasn't expecting was such a deeply stimulating response to ideas of tolerance and discrimination. Team Human is much more than just another YA paranormal, but an excellent example of well-developed satire.

  1. A vampire book- with a twist:

    I know the cover/description hint that this may be just another YA paranormal romance featuring vampires and a love triangle but it's NOT. There are vampires, and there is romance, and there's sort of a love triangle off to the side (but not in an annoying way at all- it's part of the plot for some secondary characters, I guess you could say). But there's also MYSTERY and HUMOUR and some real character growth and self-discovery. Vampires aren't complete monsters, but they aren't completely glorified either.
  2. A real theme dealing with tolerance and discrimination:

    It's not secret that Mel doesn't trust vampires. And it's perfectly understandable why she's so hesitant to support her best friend Cathy in her romantic relationship with a vampire. But at the same time, she begins to realize how little she actually knows about vampires, and even that her own personal preferences and ideas may not be universally shared - an important lesson for everyone to recognize at some poin in their life.
  3. A mystery/teen detective element:

    Mel ends up taking it upon herself to solve her friend Anna's mysterious disappearance of her father leaving, and her mother's strange reaction. I always find that it's a fun thing to add to a book, and it was handled really well in Team Human. I actually found this to be the best part of the book, and in particular the most exciting and suspensful. And also poignant.
My one problem with this is that I think the overall message came on a little too strong and while I definitely appreciate it and think we can learn a lot from it as a principle, I still can't help but wonder if it's a case where we can go too far. It's a delicate balance to show Mel as a caring friend, yet one that is a tad too controlling and pushy about HER ideas; but I still couldn't help but feel that to a large extent she was being fairly honest and reasonable. If my friend was risking herself (and acting VERY focused on one youthful, new romantic relationship) and putting herself in danger I'd probably react in the same way. But I couldn't help but wonder exactly how far the book suggested we should go with this, and where we draw the line. Needless to say, I didn't LOVE that and I had some questions regarding it. I just wasn't left wholly satisfied.

But overall, Team Human is a smart read, one that is an absolute breath of fresh air among YA paranormal books which are now dime a dozen.

Purchase Links
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Isabelle said...

Finally, a book that's smart. All of the books I've read recently have absolutely no humour at all, and are very bleak. Or, they have really awful attempts at being funny.

The detective element just makes me more excited to read it! I'm a huge fan of thriller mysteries, so this looks up my alley.


Ashley Prince @ The Bibliophile's Corner said...

Hmm. I was wondering what exactly this book was going to be about. I have to say it sounds like a fun, different read.

Great review!

Kat C said...

Okay, I was turned off by the cover of this book, but you have convinced me to put it on my list. It sounds like there is more to it than meets the eye!

Christina said...

I've seen two really good reviews of this book today, so I'm adding it to Goodreads, even though I was initially not at all interested. I think it was partly the cover and partly...who knows what. Maybe being slightly annoyed by all the #teammrhottieface stuff? Whatevs.

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