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Did YOU Make The Team?

A review of Team Humana vampire book that's over vampire books.

Did YOU Make The Team?

BOOK REPORT for Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Cover Story: At Least It's Not Totally Whitewashed
BFF Charm: Yeah
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Beachy
Bonus Factor: Diversity
Relationship Status: Team This Was Cute, But I'm Still Over Vampires

Cover Story: At Least It's Not Totally Whitewashed

That's about the ONLY good thing I can say about this cover. Given Larbalestier's awful luck with covers, I'd be extra horrified to see a non-white girl front and center -- beyond my usual level of horror whenever I see a cover with ANY girls front and center. The model who's supposed to be Mel is obviously not white, but she could kiiiinda be anyone not white, and Mel's Chinese-American (like, 4th or 5th generation American), so the cover still looks like a nod to diversity without actually sacrificing white readers' imaginary feelings (I say imaginary, because I really really hope white readers are willing to read books with people of color on the front, but given all the shitty people's reactions over Rue and The Hunger Games, I probably shouldn't have that much faith in humanity. I'm blaming my optimism on this.)

The Deal:

Mel's town is known as vampire city -- they have the largest vampire population around, since it was where the original vampire ship landed centuries earlier. Possible career options explored at her high school's career day include blood donor and member of the Zombie Disposal Unit, an elite squad tasked with eliminating the results of botched human-to-vampire transitions. There's even a Local History course at her high school, which focuses on the history of vampires and vampire-human relations. It's completely awesome for her best friend Cathy, who's obsessed with vampires (as well as Victorian history and Romantic poetry), but it totally BLOWS for Mel. Mel hates vampires. All she wants is for them to stay in their little neighborhood and leave humans alone, but what does one do? Decides to attend her high school, that's what. When Francis the Vampire isn't being mobbed by adoring humans, he's busy getting to know Cathy and her friends -- which includes Mel. No one is surprised when Cathy falls for Francis, but Mel sure is pissed. As if keeping her best friend from dating a vampire wasn't enough trouble, Mel's also trying to figure out what's going on with her friend Anna's mom, the school principal, who's been acting weirder than usual lately.

BFF Charm: Yeah

Mel's kind of a meddling pain in the ass, but she's funny and loyal -- two essential qualities in a BFF. Everything she does is for the best, though it's often misguided. I'm totally with her on being anti-vampire, and am all for getting out and experiencing being alive in ways the undead can only remember. Mel's also pretty good at figuring her own shit out. It'd be good for her to have a BFF who didn't have major teenage problems, so someone could actually pay attention to Mel for a change, but she eventually manages to get things straight.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

The romance that develops between Mel and Kit, whom she meets as a result of Cathy's relationship with Francis, is pretty awesome. I am a sucker for a guy who makes me laugh, and Kit is so adorable and funny. The two share great first-crush/first-love moments, and all the uncertainty and anxiety of YA romance that makes the hot moments hotter -- the misunderstandings and naiveté that could ruin them just make them more entertaining.

Talky Talk: Disney Tween at the Beach

Y'all, this is a vampire book about vampires -- not exactly cerebral. I'll be honest: It took me several chapters to get into the book. I'm so totally over vampires, I didn't even want to read a book about being over vampires, and the choppy sentences and seeming inside jokes between the authors and between them and their hard-core reader fans made the book seem more like an extended blog post or Twitter riff -- or a Disney Channel movie. Once I got used to the rhythm (and once I met Kit), it stopped bugging me so much, and I did crack up at Mel's descriptions more than once. It's definitely a lighter-than-light book, though. I thought harder about the latest copy of Elle than I did this book, but that's not a slam. The book ended up doing some clever things with the typical YA fare of friendship, identity, and acceptance, and was pretty hilarious, too.

It was like a one-vampire zoo. Francis was sitting as if someone had tried to put a stake through his heart but accidentally inserted it where the sun did not shine -- which I guess is anywhere for vampires, but in a place where the sun does not shine even for regular people.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

The diversity in this book isn't off the charts, but there are a few non-white characters and a few non-straight characters. What's interesting is the play on, "Vampires are people, too!" and the idea of identity and choice. It's not subtle by a long shot, but since when are vampires subtle?

Casting Call:

Ethan Peck as Kit

Ok, now you know the real reason I loved Kit.

Relationship Status: Team This Was Cute, But I'm Still Over Vampires

If you can't even bear to DVR The Vampire Diaries or True Blood, but HAVE to watch each episode right when it first airs, you'll adore this book. If you still love vampires, or still like vampires, or if you're only contemplating tattooing "Team Human 4 Life" on your ass and haven't actually done it yet, you'll get a kick out of this book. If you're like me, and would be perfectly happy to never, ever even hear the word "vampire" again, you can move this book to the bottom of your TBR list. It's super cute and you'd probably still like it, but you can definitely live without it -- it's not worth trading your mortality and the ability to stand out in the sunlight for (yes! I get it -- satire and all that. I really do).

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harper Collins.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Team Human will be available July 3.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.