Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
The narrator Mel and her best friend Cathy live in New Whitby, Maine, founded by both vampires and humans fleeing persecution in Europe. Mel has no interest in knowing or being friends with vampires, who live in a separate part of town. When Francis, a vampire who was “turned” in the 19th century at the age of 17, enrolls at their high school, Cathy is totally smitten with him. Anna, a close friend of both Mel and Cathy, is missing her psychologist dad, who sent her a text message that he has run off with a vampire patient. Anna, also confides in Mel that her mother, who is their high school principal, has started behaving in a mysterious and worrisome way, so Mel especially wants Francis to stay away from Anna. When Mel warns Francis to stay away from Cathy or she will tell the real reason he enrolled in school, Mel doesn’t even know Francis’s real secret. Cathy is so heartbroken that Francis starts ignoring her she breaks into his house, where Mel and Cathy meet his “shade” (his vampire family) which includes Kit, a human boy who was abandoned on their doorstep and taken in and raised by them, rather than eaten.
All these characters and relationships may sound complicated, but they’re easy to follow in the book. The plot weaves together flawlessly, with a number of major surprises. No one element overpowers the story; if it weren’t for the vampires this could be a fairly normal YA novel. The authors includes a good amount of humor, which relieves some of the more stressful situations the characters encounter. Each of the authors has written other YA books; this is their first joint title.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson