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Literature / Team Human

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"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, this is not that book. 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 the patient in question 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:

  • 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 Cathy as "research". He's actually investigating the strange activity at the school related to vampire behavior and Dr. Saunders's disappearance.
    • Also when Cathy decides to become a vampire, Mel assumes that Francis wanted Cathy to turn immediately. Francis right before he turns Cathy tells Mel that he was willing to wait, since vampires have an eternity to wait, but it was Cathy who wanted to become a vampire as soon as she could..
  • 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.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Mel and Cathy's argument about the latter wanting to become a vampire. Mel points out that Francis is much older than her and potentially manipulative, Cathy is a minor who needs a signed permission form from her oblivious mother, and that being a vampire means saying goodbye to an ordinary death, humor, and sunlight. Cathy retorts that it's her choice, Francis is being entirely reasonable about the situation (he reveals that he encouraged Cathy to wait a few years to think about her decision and was surprised when she wanted to do it immediately), and she can live without the sun or humor for the rest of her undead life. In the end, Mel reluctantly respects her decision and honors her promise to stay friends with Cathy.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Happens or at least is attempted twice, though not by the vampire.
    • Mel tries to break up Cathy and Francis, so as to save Cathy 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.
  • A Deadly Affair: It turns out to be important to the plot. Anna believes that her father ran off with a patient, and has text messages to prove it. The kids get suspicious when Dr. Saunders's receptionist reveals that Rebecca Jones committed suicide. As they investigate, they find out that the Rebecca turned Dr. Saunders unwillingly when falling for him, and he became a violent zombie. Principal Saunders sent the texts because she knew if anyone found out what happened to her husband, he would be exterminated.
  • 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. Cathy 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.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Rather, vampire-fiction version. The patient that Dr. Saunders supposedly ran off, Rebecca Jones, with actually turned him, against his wishes, and left him a zombie. It's not clear what else she did with him, but she killed herself when going My God, What Have I Done?. Prinicipal Sanders found her zombie husband and desperately locked him up because she couldn't call extermination services to kill him, and used his phone to lie to Anna. Everyone agrees that what Rebecca did was messed up, but also there's no way to punish her while Principal Saunders loses her job.
  • 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.
  • Faint in Shock: Cathy faints upon being reunited with the boyfriend she thought had abandoned her, though it's pointed out that she also hadn't eaten much in the past week, what with her love-stricken distress and all.
  • 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.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Rebecca Jones, the vampire patient that Anna's dad supposedly ran off with, is revealed to be this.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: This was mentioned as the way vampires commit suicide, usually because there was something about being human that they miss as vampires.
  • 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.
  • 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.