BOOK REVIEW: Team Human (Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan, A&U)

Individually, Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan have produced some of the wittiest, sharpest young-adult fiction on the market. Working together, they have managed to inject new life into the vampire genre—with trademark humour and sarcasm. When a handsome and brooding vampire enrols at Mel’s school, she’s a little concerned. Then her best friend Cathy falls in love with him and it is up to Mel to ensure Cathy doesn’t do something stupid—like decide to become a vampire herself. Team Human somehow manages to tackle vampirism with a delightfully serious touch, turning what has become the punchline of B-grade romances into a complex moral and ethical issue that mirrors the challenges faced by everyday teenagers. The relationships and characters are pitch-perfect, with just enough sentimentality covered by sharp humour. Kit (Mel’s love interest) is a fantastically confused and naive male lead, and his willingness to play sidekick to what has got to be one of the sassiest and bravest heroines of the young-adult genre is refreshing. With an interesting blend of vampires, zombies and some very un-ordinary teenagers, Team Human cleverly balances side-splitting humour with an exploration of what it means to be human.

Meg Whelan works at Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne. This review first appeared in the Junior Term 1 issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.