Ruby's Reviews > Team Human

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier
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Aug 04, 12

bookshelves: teen
Read in July, 2012

This review was first posted on http://rubysreads.com.

More than one author has tried to spoof the success of the vampire genre (Insatiable, anyone?), but for my money, this is the one to beat. It’s both funny and thought-provoking, and well-written to boot. I’ve always known that SRB was born with a funny bone inserted into her typing hand (if her books haven’t demonstrated this for you, follow her on Twitter), but I’m far less familiar with Justine Larbalestier (whose last name I’m terrified of misspelling). At some point (probably back in 2006, when it was published) I read JL’s Magic or Madness, but her writing style and/or world-building didn’t tick the important boxes for me. Team Human, therefore, kind of skimmed my periphery for a while. Neither did it really click that it was a collaboration. I thought it was an anthology, maybe?

When reviews started showing up around the blogosphere, I decided that I could potentially enjoy this book. Time passed, and this noncommittal attitude became an obsession. Finally, when Christen offered me a copy, I graciously (exuberantly) accepted. When it arrived in the mail, I picked it up and didn’t put it down again until I was finished. My roommates got fed up with asking, “What?” every time I chuckled aloud. This is a one bite book. You can devour it in one sitting.

To be completely honest, though, the first part ofTeam Human is the one that’s packed with humor. The second half has a more serious tone, but the authors never lose their light touch. Even when they finally delve into the underlying issues surrounding Mel, Cathy, and the latter’s decision to become a vampire, it doesn’t completely go away. I like, also, the book’s reminder message that being human is pretty awesome, too. For Mel–and for me–a lot of this has to do with laughter. We couldn’t live without it. That really resonated with me, and definitely comes across in the story.

If I had one complaint about this book, it would be Mel’s friend, Cathy. I thought she was boring, and I didn’t understand why Mel was friends with her in the first place. If you can solve that mystery for me, you’d have my half-hearted thanks. If there was one thing I enjoyed most about this book (besides the humor), it was imagining SRB and JL collaborating on it, and having obscene amounts of fun while doing so. I’m thrilled to pieces that the acknowledgements suggests that these two talented ladies are done collaborating yet…

I don’t normally do this, but there were definitely bits of Team Human that made me laugh out loud, and I wanted to include them:

“I gave creepy, cold Francis a bright smile, clapped my hands together and said: ‘Can you believe summer is over? Hands up, who’s going to miss the sunshine?”

p. 25

Traditionally, the four of us have used this time to gossip and hang out. All you have to do is keep your voice down and sit in the group discussion area. It also helped to have some kind of map or projectlike object in the center of the table to lean over. “What are we doing, lovely librarian? Plotting world domination! Kidding. We’re clearly working on our group project on this map thing. Clearly. And plotting world domination.

p.29

“Yes,” I answered. “Ty said, ‘a kegger.’ It’s three g‘s actually, and c, not k. A kegger is a place where humans gather to worship kegs, which are totems of the original Kegger people, who landed in Iceland.”

p.31

They looked lost in each other’s eyes. Like I would need to make a tiny eye map for each of them to find their way out, and even then, they wouldn’t want to.

p. 107

I laughed again, but it wasn’t even a good fake laugh. All I could think of to say was “Moms, huh? And their crazy mom insistence that you interact with your own species! By the way, how exactly is she your mom?”

p.110

“The Shade is not entirely safe for human strangers at night,” Camille said, with an unreadable look at me that could have been an apology. “Better overcautious than missing a jugular vein, as the saying goes.”

That was a very morbid saying. Maybe only vampires said it.

Maybe only French vampires said it.

p.111-112

I didn’t see much of Cathy or Francis for the rest of the day–they were too lost in their own glittery little world, as if they were trapped in a snow globe of vampire love…

p.128

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