Literature: Team Human

"Friends don't let friends date vampires."

A Young Adult novel about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire who goes to her school. Sound familiar?

Well, don't worry. Team Human is a parody of teen vampire romance novels by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. The protagonist is Mel Duan, a Chinese-American girl who lives in the town of New Whitby, which has a large vampire population. Mel strongly dislikes vampires as she thinks that their age, beauty, and immortality make them useless and unproductive. Meanwhile, her best friend Cathy has fallen madly in love with Francis, the school vampire. In a world where becoming a vampire has a chance of zombification or death, Mel sets out to stop Cathy from making a terrible mistake. On the way, she meets Kit, a human raised by vampires, who challenges her preconceived notions about vampires.

A significant subplot concerns Mel's other friend Anna, whose mother has been acting strangely after her father, a therapist, ran off with a vampire patient. It turns out that a vampiress fell in love with him and tried to transform him against his will, which resulted in him becoming a zombie. Anna's mother hid him and made up the story about her husband running away with a patient to protect Anna from the truth.

Not related to the Cast Herd of the same name in Teen Wolf.

This book contains examples of

  • Adult Fear: Despite being a light-hearted Affectionate Parody, Team Human has its scary moments.
    • The city has a park named after an Ill Girl whose father thought turning her into a vampire would save her from a terminal disease. Instead, she went on a murderous rampage before getting exterminated.
    • Cath's mother doesn't think twice about signing a form allowing Cath to be turned underage. Mel considers it a Failed a Spot Check moment.
    • The poor Saunders family. Every one of them. Dr. Saunders for getting turned by a patient unwillingly and becoming a violent zombie; his wife chaining him up so that he doesn't kill anyone, feeding him her blood and lying to everyone; and Anna for thinking that her dad ran off with a patient and feeling utterly betrayed. When the truth comes out, and he breaks free, the zombified Dr. Saunders nearly kills his wife and daughter.
  • Affectionate Parody: Both authors claim to enjoy vampire novels.
  • Alternate History: History seems to be almost the same, except for the addition of vampires.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Mel, lampshaded by Kit.
  • Bait and Switch: Mel assumes that Francis is working on a book about human and vampire relationships, hence that he's faking his relationship with Cath as "research". He's actually investigating the strange activity at the school related to vampire behavior.
  • Bi the Way: Ty, as revealed at the very end of the novel.
  • Blessed with Suck: People who unwillingly turned by vampires, or are part of the 10% failure rate; they get all the powers but change into mindless zombies. Even if you don't become a zombie and end up fine, vampires lose their sense of humor and ability to laugh.
  • Break Her Heart To Save Her: Happens or at least is attempted twice, though not by the vampire.
    • Mel tries to break up Cath and Francis, so as to save Cath from being turned. It doesn't work.
    • Anna's mother lied to Anna via text, saying that her father ran off with a patient, rather than reveal that said patient turned him into a vampire against his will, making him a zombie. In this case she was trying to save her zombie husband from being exterminated by the vampire police, as well as saving Anna from seeing her father turned.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dr. Saunders's cellphone. If only his wife hadn't hid it in the house.
  • Creepy Basement: The school has one. It's slightly less creepy with the lights on, though it's still musty and once housed rats.
  • Culture Clash: Mel and Kit do this several times, since Mel has never met a vampire before the beginning of the book, and Kit's only exposure to humans has been vampire groupies and TV shows.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Invoked and averted by vampire clinics; they make sure that a person wanting to be turned is aware of all the consequences. Cath has thought a lot about her decision to become a vampire, and is willing to lose her sense of humor.
    • Justified in Principal Saunders's case, since what great plan is there to keep your husband safe after he's become a zombie? Though it was stupid to hide him in the school.
  • Disappeared Dad: Anna's father
  • Doorstop Baby: Kit was left on the doorstep of a household of vampires.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Mellifluous.
    • And Lancelot, depending on who you ask.
    • Kit is short for Kitten. When Mel learns this, she concludes that his vampire family initially saw him as a pet.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Kit calls his vampire aunt Araminta "Minty." Mel calls her brother Lancelot "Lottie."
  • Fantastic Racism: Mel's attitude toward vampires.
  • Fiery Redhead: Inverted for Anna.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Most vampires. They live in their own section of the city where only vampire groupies and tourists usually visit.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: The vampires wear clothes that were fashionable when they were turned.
  • Hidden Depths: Cathy initially comes off as silly and easily influenced by her boyfriend; as it turns out she's probably the smartest and strongest-willed character in the book. You can think of her as a Reconstruction of Bella Swan.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Kit thinks this, since he was left by his parents on a vampire's doorstep. He assumes that they left him there to be "a snack".
  • Impoverished Patrician: Cathy's ancestors were rich but her grandfather somehow lost the money. Her family still lives in their old mansion.
  • Innocent Bigot: Some of the things Francis says towards Mel, who is Chinese-American, and Ty, who is black.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Kit.
  • Literal-Minded: Kit. Telling a girl, "I'll call you" is not his way of saying he's not interested.
  • Love at First Sight: Francis to Cathy.
  • Meaningful Name: "Rebecca" as the name of someone who tries to break up a Happily Married couple but is never actually shown on-screen and was Driven to Suicide before the story begins.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Kit, after Christopher "Kit" Marlowe. His name is actually short for "Kitten".
  • Older Than They Look: A given for most vampires.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Turning a human into a vampire has a 10% chance of killing them and a 10% chance of turning them into a zombie (under the best of conditions; the odds are a lot higher if you try it in a back alley). Vampires do burn in the sun but can avoid it by wearing protective suits.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: As stated above, zombies are the results of vampire transformations gone wrong. Vampire Vannabes are made to tour a zombie facility before undergoing the transformation.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Mel's older sister describes her string of weird exes as such. She's clearly exaggerating, however.
  • Public Service Announcement: Mocked in the official trailer.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Cathy gives one to Mel after getting tired of her trying to stop her from becoming a vampire.
  • Romantic Vampire Boy: Francis.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Rebecca Jones, the vampire patient that Anna's dad supposedly ran off with.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: This was mentioned as they way vampires commit suicide, usually because there was something about being human that they miss as vampires.
  • Tragic Monster: Dr. Saunders.
  • The Unmasqued World: Humans have been aware of vampires throughout all of history.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Vampire groupies that hang out in the Shade.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime: Defied by Mel, who says she opposes violence against vampires.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Francis' shade.
  • Witch with a Capital B: Word of God is that swearing was taken out of the book after the first draft to increase chances of it being picked up by schools and book fairs. This explains the "No more crazy wenches!" line.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The focus of the subplot which is something else entirely.
  • Zombie Infectee: The reason why zombies have to be quickly killed is that infection is spread by being bitten, and an outbreak can occur if they're not all contained.