Subversive Reader Reviews: Team Human (AWW2013)

Book reviews and AWW posts can be found here.

AWW2013 – Book 3

Team Human

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: Team Human
Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Speculative Young Adult Fiction

Kindle e-book, purchased through Amazon

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Vampire Fiction is a ‘thing’ these days. After reading Team Human, I’m pretty happy about that – especially if it inspired this book!

Mel, our hero, is pretty anti-vampire. Which can make like a little difficult when you live in a vampire town, New Whitby, and a vampire turns up at your school. Then falls in love with your best friend.

But there’s something a little bit strange about him, not to mention the way the Principal is reacting to him, and Mel is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When I write the summary like that, Team Human looks a little sparse, like it doesn’t really have much in it at all. But there’s a lot more besides a vampire detective story going on here. There’s love stories left, right and centre. There’s the complicated world of high school friendships. There’s the confusing notion of determining who you are when you’ve lived less than two decades of your life (and when you’re surrounded by people who contemplate their 20th decade . . .). Then there’s the whole new vampire world.

It’s acknowledged that vampires can be dangerous – they’ve got power beyond what humans have, that’s why they have the vampire section of the police force. Being a vampire, in Team Human, has become a regulated thing, allowing them to live alongside the humans in their town. Even becoming a vampire is extremely regulated – but since there can be catastrophic consequences, this is a Good Thing. The world that has been created here is extrememly rich, and it’s going to leave a lot of readers like me – wanting more stories set in this universe.

Mel is a sympathetic and believable main character. She isn’t always right, but it’s easy to understand her motives. She’s surrounded by a great cast of characters – I’m a big fan of both Anna and Kit. What’s even cooler about the group of characters is that it’s incredibly diverse, but in a perfectly normal way.

This is the book that I would have (and will, if I see them) recommended to some of my more mature students. I can see it gaining a bit of cult popularity among teenagers who are a little over the Twilight ‘thing’, but who enjoy speculative fiction. I’m also going to be recommending it to the adults I know – especially my sisters who I think will both enjoy it :)

 

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