Team Human

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Team Human Book Poster Image
Engaging, suspenseful vampire spoof has real substance.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Team Human cleverly plays with the comment elements of traditional and contemporary vampire fiction. The more the reader knows about the conventions and cliches of the genre, the more she or he is likely to enjoy the novel's humor.

Positive Messages

Team Human presents the rather unusual situation of humans and vampires living together in relative harmony. Each group slightly distrusts the other, but the characters come to reassess their prejuices and assumptions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mel, the narrator of Team Human, is extremely loyal to her friends, but her loyalty sometimes makes her overprotective and blinds her to the assumptions she makes about other people. Over the course of the novel, she learns to question her prejudices, especially those she harbors against vampires. Eventually, she starts to see that she can't control how her friends think or feel and opens herself up to new relationships she might have previously dismissed.

Violence

Except for a zombie attack that's more sad than frightening, there's almost no violence in Team Human.

Sex

Romance and sex are on the minds of most of the characters in Team Human, but the level of physical intimicy depicted never extends much beyond a few scenes of passionate kissing. An adult character is suspected of having deserted his family to pursue an affair.

Language

"Damn," "hell," "ass," and "crap" are each used a few times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Team Human is a clever and engaging spoof of trends in vampire fiction. There's little violence (one zombie attack) and only a small amount of swearing ("damn," "hell," "ass," and "crap" are each used a few times). Dating and romance are on the minds of all the main characters, but physical intimacy doesn't extend much beyond passionate kissing. Mel's college-age sister talks discreetly about her lesbian social life, and one of Mel's friends is revealed as bisexual.

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What's the story?

When her best friend, Cathy, becomes hopelessly enamored with Francis, a vampire who's just enrolled at her high school, Mel takes it upon herself to sabotage the romance before Cathy makes a mistake she'll regret forever. But the more she objects to the budding relationship, the more Mel has to question her own biases and prejudices. Soon she's trying to deal with the mysterious disappearance of another friend's father, as well as wondering why she's so attracted to a human boy who's been raised by vampires.

Is it any good?

This is clearly a spoof of Twilight and its overheated imitators, but the authors lift the novel above simple parody through a combination of lively prose and astute character development. The humor is subtle but sharp, and there's enough action to keep the suspense level high. Team Human is as likely to be enjoyed both by readers who love vampire books and those who think they can't stand them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's possible to be loyal to your friends without  imposing your own beliefs, fears, and prejudices upon them. Do you think you could let your friend date a vampire, or a boy raised by vampires? 

  • If you had the chance to live forever, would you take it? What might some of the drawbacks of immortality be?

  • Why are vampire novels and movies so popular? What is it about vampire folklore that makes it so compelling for modern audiences -- and especially for teens?

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