I’m the first to admit that the current vampire craze isn’t for me. But even if I’m living at the bottom of a well, vampire-pop-culture-wise, the well isn’t so deep that I’m not aware of the Team Edward/Team Jacob phenomenon…so I simply had to read Team Human.
The authors take aim at vampire adoration through parody and good storytelling. Mel, our vampire-wary protagonist, lives in a town shared by humans and the undead. Sure, there are groupies who dream of eternal life, but Mel is among those who are happy that vampires usually stick to their side of town. She’s refreshingly sensible in a genre dominated by vampire-smitten heroines: first of all, vampires can’t laugh, cry, enjoy the sunshine or eat, so as Mel helpfully points out, what kind of life is that? Plus, if you’re a human pining over someone who wants to drink your blood, you should probably stop and think it through.
So Mel’s less than thrilled when her best friend falls for the new vampire at school. Meanwhile, the high school principal is acting weird (probably because her husband ran off with a vampire over the summer), and Mel has a crush on a normal human…who dreams of becoming a vampire. Suddenly the things that should be simple are no longer clear-cut, and this fuzziness turns the book from spoof to story.
Aside from Mel’s glorious common sense, it’s fun seeing how the authors built the world. Mel’s town must cater to humans and vampires, so everything’s regulated: there are voluntary blood banks, strict rules on who can get vampi-fied (minors need parental consent), and counselors to help the converted transition to the vampire way of life. Plus, the authors manage to fit zombies into the tale—I suspect they’re partly there for laughs, though they didn’t feel gratuitous at all, and are responsible for quite an emotional punch. But zombies or not, Team Human will make you laugh—often—and fills a hole in the YA-verse big enough to fit the countless vampires stalking bookshelves today. Next time, I’d like to see the authors tackle werewolves…