Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Team Human, Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Team Human
Authors:
- Justine Larbalestier (website)
- Sarah Rees Brennan (website)
Release Date: July 1st 2012 by Allen & Unwin
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

You know the story: girl meets boy, boy turns out to be a vampire, girl/vampire romance ensues and girl’s best friend stops at nothing to split them up... hang on. Team Human is a fun, satirical romp in a world where vampires and humans peacefully co-exist, but not everyone believes inter-species romance is quite so romantic...

From Goodreads:
Mel and Cathy and Anna have passed vampires on the street, and sat near them in cinemas, but they don’t know any. Vampires stick to their own kind, and Mel and her friends hang out with other humans—until a vampire boy in a bizarre sun-proof suit shows up at school and captures Cathy’s heart.

Mel is horrified. Can she convince Cathy that life with a vampire is no life at all? Should she? And then all her assumptions about vampires are turned on their head when she meets Kit, a boy who makes her laugh—a boy with a very unusual family history.

Will Mel’s staunch anti-vampire stance jeopardise her closest friendships? And where does Kit fit in? In the end, who will choose... Team Human?

The Story:

Mel Duan is staunchly Team Human. She doesn’t hate vampires, she just doesn’t understand why anyone would want to be one. Risks of dying in the process—or turning into a mindless, rotting zombie then dying—aside, why would anyone want to live a life without laughter, sunshine, and worst of all, chocolate? Needless to say, she’s horrified when her best friend, Cathy, falls for a one. A stuck up, pasty, humourless relic of a bygone era named Francis. She’s even more upset when Cathy announces she’s planning to become a vampire for the chance to share immortality with him—after less than a month. Mel sets out to change her mind. Which shouldn’t be too hard, because she knows Francis is up to something—why else would a supercentenarian seventeen year old boy start going to high school?

But Mel has other worries. Her friend Anna’s mum—their school principal—has been acting strange. Then again, what’s ‘strange’ when your husband, the vampire counsellor, abandons your family to run off with a client. Mel's drowning in drama, and for the first time in her life, may not have the answer to all her friends problems... but Francis’ human ward, a teenage boy named Kit, might.

The 101:

Going into Team Human, I expected a light-hearted, satirical look at the earth-shattering, all-encompassing love we all bemoan—yet still adore—in young adult paranormals. I expected to laugh. I didn't expect to cry. But Team Human has heart: at its core, it’s a story about friendship, what it means to be human, and acceptance. It’s a book very aware of what it is—more on that later—but it’s much like a good mediator: it doesn’t take sides, and is able to see all parties’ points of view.

Mel is a truly terrific heroine. Irrepressibly snarky, and unshakably loyal to her friends, she’s bloody minded, determined, and hilarious. Mel’s also tremendously opinionated, but she has a good heart, and always the best of intentions. Her concern for—and unshakeable resolve to 'help'—her friends is part of what makes her so likable, however misguided her actions are at times. Her terror at losing her closest friend to vampirism—afterall, transitions only have an 80% success rate—is palpable, and while Mel can be intolerant, it’s not difficult to see why.

Think of Cathy as your typical, infatuated, desperately in love vampire novel protagonist... on crack. Within a month of meeting Francis, she’s making preparations to transition. Cathy is, in ways, a romantic, taken to fancy, but before you roll your eyes, remember she's viewed through Mel's (very) opinionated lens, and she’s also intelligent, thoughtful, and thorough.

As Team Human progresses, there’s a gradual shift in roles, towards understanding and acceptance. Behind the story’s sparkling humour and vibrant characters is a much deeper message of acceptance and tolerance, one which Larbalestier and Brennan handle with skillful subtlety. Fear not if this is sounding heavy: Team Human is a very funny novel, and Larbalestier and Brennan poke fun at all parties with irreverent glee. Cathy and Mel serve as wonderful counterweights to each other, and this is why Team Human works: it is not a parody, but a humorous look at both ‘Team Human’ and ‘Team Vampire’ stereotypes.

The Verdict:

Irreverent, funny and clever, Team Human is immensely entertaining, with unexpected heart. Its vibrant personalities, the very sweet romance that develops between Mel and Kit, the mystery that runs through it with heartbreaking conclusion—it’s Team Human’s surprising nuances that make it something very special indeed. It doesn’t parody the Stephenie Meyers, Rachel Caines and Claudia Grays of this world—it celebrates them. Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan are a dream-team I truly hope we see more from.

Want it? Get it:


An enormous thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a review copy of Team Human

41 comments:

  1. Lovely review, Sarah! I bought a copy of this a few weeks ago and can't wait to read it. The characters sound fantastic, especially Mel. I can't wait to meet them all! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Sam! I really liked this one, and I LOVE Mel xx

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  2. I've been hearing loads about TEAM HUMAN, and even though I'm not an exact fan of the cover, I must say that your review really makes me want to read it. The characters and the story itself sound great--especially kick-ass Mel! :P

    I'll be checking this out the next time I go into the bookstore. Great review, Sarah!

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    1. You know, what I DO like about the cover is that Mel looks how I pictured her. Kind of gorgeous and badass? :D

      Hope you enjoy it! I really did :)

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  3. Sarah! Your review makes me want to run out and get this book RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT! :)

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    1. *hugs* I REALLY liked it. SERIOUSLY funny and smart!

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  4. Awesome review cupcake, this book has elements that I love and more depth then I thought it would. Thanks Sarah I am adding this on to my list

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    1. Kimba! You're a doll! Thank you! I was seriously surprised... it really does have depth and heart!

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  5. I wouldn't want to be a vamp either, a were maybe but not a blood sucking, cold as ice vamp hehehe. I thought this was your usual YA paranormal read but it sounds like he story is deeper. Thanks for your enlightening review.

    P.S. moonglow - Miranda made a significant appearance in the book. Daisy is less intense but sassier, you have to read it.

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    1. NO WAY! I'm Team Vamp all the way! I mean... Like, Cat and Bones vampire? WITHOUT A DOUBT. I really REALLY wouldn't want to be a wolf... I think I could cope with the blood a lot better than I could the meat (I'm vegetarian) XD

      Also: MIRANDA? YESSSSSSSSS! *fistpump* Seriously excited for this one!

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  6. I've heard mixed things about this book! Most people say it has heart though which I'm curious about. You have such a way with words that always make me want to pick up a book. :)

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    1. I really did like it, Elena! I REALLY liked Mel. She's seriously flawed, but... she just OWNS it, and I like that she was a bit bull-headed and... it's funny. LOVE! ♥

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  7. What a fantastic review, Sarah! I have to say, I think your review has persuaded me more than the many others I've read. The fact that there's something else underneath all the funny is awesome, and that it's not taking the mickey out of all those other novels, like I originally thought, is also great! Maybe this is a book I would enjoy! Thanks for the review!

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    1. It's seriously worth giving a go, Jo! It's funny, and it's not... it's NOT a parody, and it's NOT taking the mickey out of other... it IS fun, and it's really having fun with the whole vampire phenomonen, but using it look at something deeper. REALLY loved the friendship aspect of it :)

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  8. Lovely comment. You managed to grasp the very idea of this book for me.

    I was so rooting for Kit and Mel.

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    1. YES! Oh, I LOVED Kit and Mel as a couple... Lovely :D

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  9. After a few mixed reviews I had bumped this down on my list, but now I'm totally curious again. I'm glad there's more to it than just poking fun and the focus on friendship sounds so, so great. Ahhh, I definitely want to read this soon!

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    1. Oh, Steph, I SO hope you like it! It really is a wondeful book--VERY funn and smart and... *fingers crossed you love*

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  10. This sounds interesting, funny and who knew, touching, too! I'm not overly interested to get my hands on a copy but I wouldn't mind to give this a ago. Maybe one day... As always, great review. <3

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    1. I'd be really interested to see what you think of it, B! I mean... I know you're normall contemp over paranormal, but it's a seriously fun take on paranormal :)

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  11. I have been back and forth with buying this book. It seems everyone is enjoying it but I feel like it could be a little...childish? Am I right or am I not getting the point? I loved your review but I am still not sure if it's for me.

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    1. Hmmm... I'm not sure... it feels very young adult, where as some are on the cusp of adult/new adult, you know? The characters feel their age, and the focus is much more on the friendship, being human, and identity than romance? It's VERY funny, and... I mean, if you like YA paranormal as a general? YES. I think you'd like it... but... your tastes tend to lie towards the more adult spectrum of YA? As do mine, really... but... it's not CHILDISH, just... it is very much what it is... which... I'm sure makes no sense :D

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    2. You know what? This would be a good one to download the sample on. It has a VERY consistent tone. If you feel it based on the sample, it's very consistent. If you don't? Definitely not for you :)

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  12. This seems so good, Sarah. I've been wanting to read it for such a long time now, and your amazing review has just sealed the deal, really. I want to meet Cathy, and Mel, and Francis, and Kit! They all seem really great to me! (Yes, even Kit. GO VAMPIRES!) Heehee. From the blurb I wouldn't really think that this is the type of book that could make someone cry, but the way you describe it makes that seem totally possible.

    " But Team Human has heart: at its core, it’s a story about friendship, what it means to be human, and acceptance. " I LOVE that! I think it's great hen a book is so much more meaningful than it seems, and has so much depth. :') I can't believe that it's already come out and I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet!! Argh!! *adds to top of to-do list* Thanks for such a lovely review, Sarah!!! xxx

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    1. *hugs* EEEEEEEEEEEE! Thank you! I really enjoyed this one, and I LOVED the friendship. But it really does have heart, and there's this bit towards the end where... *sobs* poor Anna and her mum and and and ... :D

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  13. I completely agree with you in hoping that these authors team up again-this is probably my favorite work from each of them.

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    1. It's actually the first I've read of either of them, but SO brilliant! Would LOVE more!

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  14. Ooooh, I like that version of the cover better. I've seen some good reviews of this and added it to my list, even though I really wasn't interested initially for some reason.

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    1. I like it SO much better than the US cover. The filigree and stuff is SUPER pretty, huh? :D

      I DO like the models, though, and it's cool they're the same ones from the US :)

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  15. This sounds so good. I love how meaningful it seems to be, and Mel sounds pretty awesome. ;) Fab review, Sarah! :)

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    1. You know, I was surprised. And it's not an in-your-face thing, but it's really well done. There is subtle, brilliantly done subplot and subtext I LOVED ♥

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  16. I dismissed this at first because I thought "Oh, another vamp book!" but I have read a few reviews and now yours, that highlight the fact that it is so much more than that! Deffo going to read this now :)

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    1. It's actually REALLY clever, Mands! And I think the whole point is that it's a satire of 'oh, another vamp book!' which I LOVED. I really hope you love it! ♥

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  17. Heh. This sounds like so much fun! I love your review, Sarah, it always puts a smile on my face when you get excited about a book. I admit I wasn't sure about this one, but seeing your enthusiasm makes me think I might want to pick this one up soon.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. It REALLY was fun, Wendy! Thank you so much! I hope you like it, too. And you have no idea how big a smile you've put on MY face with that comment :D

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  18. Eeeh! OMG its Sarah Rees Brennan again? I didnt know that holy shit! Sarah im so glad you enjoyed Team Human, I heard good things aobut it too and if Sarah is here it must be really good, since I just recently read her book Unspoken :) Im going to read it soon hopefully! Loved your review girl. xoxoxo

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴ƷFICBOOKREVIEWSƸ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

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    1. Would you believe it's the first SRB book I've read? O__O
      I kind of suck, btu it is SO not going to be my last. And I'm CRAZY excited for unspoken!

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  19. ... seriously. SERIOUSLY. I dunno if you just get better and better at writing, but your reviews always manage to bowl me over with their amazingness. And I don't just say that because I *have* to, YOU ARE SO FREAKING TALENTED.

    Write a book.

    And yes! This really was fantastic at being able to balance the varying opinions in the book. Probably helps that one author is team hunan, while the other bats for vamps. I love when a co-written novel doesn't FEEL like it's co-written. Ditto with Beautiful Creatures, you have no hope of deciphering a change in pens!

    I ended up surprised by the heart in this novel, but in a wonderfully good way!

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    1. DAJFDJADSL. Brodie, you say shit like that, and you'll asplode my ego.

      True Story O__O

      "I ended up surprised by the heart in this novel, but in a wonderfully good way!"

      EXACTLY. And I enjoyed it SO much. I really hope it gets more attention :)

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  20. I added TEAM HUMAN to my TBR pile because the title made me laugh, but I'm really glad to hear that the book has heart and depth to it in addition to a sweet romance. Your review made me very excited to read it (as your reviews always do!).

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    1. I seriously LOVED it, Sarah! I really hope you do to and !!!!!! Eep, thank you ♥

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