Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!
On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.
I can clearly remember when Team Human was released because it was a book that definitely piqued my interest, not only because it seemed to poke fun at the typical YA vampire tropes, but also because I’d heard really good things about both authors. Needless to say, I will definitely be checking out other books by both Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier, because I found this book to be refreshingly different. I adored the very tongue in cheek nature present in the story, but also appreciated that this wasn’t just a humor book; there is a surprising amount of depth to the story and the characters, and I found all of it extremely entertaining and even poignant in places.
This book very much makes fun of some of the more common tropes seen in YA vampire books, particularly that of Twilight. I loved the fact that there are several folks who are concerned with the insta-love between Cathy and Francis, to the point where there are numerous comments about how they’re rushing into things. Mel, of course, is the most vocal of these characters, and because she is our point of view character, the reader gets taken on quite the ride as she tries to convince Cathy to make different choices. Mel is brash, stubborn, and completely uncouth, and while I’m not sure I’d love a friend like this in reality, I had to love her devotion to her friends and the amount of love she has for Cathy in particular. I liked the fact that, throughout the book, Mel has to come face to face with her preconceived notions and admit that perhaps she doesn’t really have the right to tell others what to do, even when she doesn’t like their choices. Mel does a lot of maturing in this book, and I was very pleased to be able to go along with her on that ride.
Team Human also has a really solid mystery at its core when it comes to Anna’s dad, and I loved how Mel refused to accept the adults’ answers to her questions and did her own digging. (And I agree that Kit is superb at sidekicking!). The mystery added a lot of suspense to this book, and kept it from being all about the romance or Mel’s dislike of Francis and the impact his appearance has on Cathy. However, one of the best things about this book is indeed of the romantic variety: I found Mel and Kit’s blossoming relationship to be incredibly well-written, complete with miscommunication of the normal variety and a definite “like” not “love” factor. To put it succinctly, they were adorable, as two people who like each other should be. I definitely approved!
All in all, I found Team Human to be a great mix of mystery, romance and humor. Despite being laugh-out-loud funny in some places, the depth of emotion experienced by Mel and the others made this a fabulous combination of fun with a heavy dose of levity that made for an extremely enjoyable read. It’s definitely a book that has a little bit of something for everyone!