Team Human: a high-school vampire novel doesn't suck (it rocks)

Team Human is a young adult novel from Justine Larbalastier and Sarah Rees Brennan, about an ancient vampire who enrolls at a small town high school, where a beautiful young girl falls in love with him.

No, it’s not that novel. Far from it, in fact. Team Human is an incredibly fresh and original – and absolutely charming – take on vampire fiction. Larbalestier and Brennan have a wickedly sarcastic turn of phrase (as fans of Larbalestier’s earlier books can attest), and their protagonist, Mel – a high-school senior whose best friend is besotted with the vampire – is one of those iconic, absolutely likable but flawed YA protagonists that you find in the genre’s best books.

Mel’s best friend is Cathy, and where Mel is flamboyant and outgoing, Cathy is serious and studious and shy. They live in the small town of New Whitby, the birthplace of America’s compact with vampires and the origin of the social contract that sees humans and vampires living side by side in a civilized (if not entirely comfortable) fashion. From the start, Cathy falls hard for Francis, an ancient, charming vampire in the body of a teenager, who is attending high school for mysterious reasons of his own (though Mel has her suspicions).

Mel is afraid that her intense relationship with her best friend is endangered by this, but what she really fears is that Cathy might be contemplating vampirism herself. This is a dangerous process for humans – accepting an offer of “transition” from a vampire means a small but real risk of death or worse. About ten percent of humans don’t make the transition and don’t die either, becoming mindless, agonized zombies who are locked away until they rot.

And if you do survive the transition to immortal, super-strong, super-fast, super-keen vampirism, it’s still not what Mel wants for Cathy. For one thing, vampires can neither cry nor laugh, thanks to some principle of conservation of emotion that flattens out the affect of immortals – forever.

The story’s on rails from page one, ripping along in a suspenseful, funny blur. This is the vampire-human supernatural romance you want the world to fall in love with: filled with kick-ass girls and boys, complicated vampires, and an internally consistent set of fantasy rules that makes the whole thing that much smarter.

Here’s a sample chapter.

Team Human

I just came up with a word that means loving Andrew Scott…



First definition of “besotted”: strongly infatuated


Pass it on!


baby bear’s first date w/ fen and he can’t even look him in the eye bc hes so besotted

Could He?

Roses upon my face, my cheeks,

My tinted lips.

Signs that I’m feeling besotted.

How is it that every moment spent

Only fills my heart 

A wish, a desire

for conversations lasting hours?

I am confident in feeling the way I do,

But does he see it

Our desire ringing through?

Why is he hiding behind those eyes,

buried inside feelings he’s  keeping  alive?

I want to be next to him

The one standing by his side

So he can know that truly,

He’s keeping my love alive.

I see him bite his lip,

There’s something he wants to tell me,

I’m gently poking, prodding,

Pulling the words softly.

But I’m patient,

I know the words we want to say

Could only be expressed through poetry,

Untainted intricate word play,

That will be shared soulfully.

Yet, could he know

I am aware of the words he wants to say

Because he’s just reading from my book

A page a day.

I hope he sees

The things he does to me,

Making me want to show

The best sides of me,

To grow and experience all that I can be.

I’m reading your words,

Experiencing your prose,

I hope you know I do,

Know these feelings too.


Ed is back from California. I’m so happy. I mean, I love that he got to go and how he had a great time with his friends and everything - not to negate that - but man have I been out of my mind missing him, especially these past few days. All morning I’ve been feeling horrible in my stomach and I’ve had a series of bizarre dreams that have left me feeling shaken and exhausted for three days now, but when he messaged me all of that sicky-mopey crap fell away and I want to ride through the sunny streets on rollerblades with fifteen sparkling balloons attached to me while singing Livin’ On A Prayer.

A fine day.




  1. Intoxicated; drunk
  2. Infatuated or obsessed

“Of all this pandemonium, Margarita remembered only one woman’s face with utterly besotted, mindless eyes, still pleading in their mindlessness, and one word, ‘Frieda.’”

-The Master and Margarita (1967) by Mikhail Bulgakov; Translated by Mirra Ginsburg