I was so happy to receive the news--from a writer friend, meaning I got to tell my publisher and co-writer, so I felt fancy--that I have my very first Publisher's Weekly starred review. Behold it!
Larbalestier (Liar) and Brennan (the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy) affectionately poke fun at vampire tropes and, in the process, create a memorable story about love, prejudice, and the lengths to which people will go in service of both. High school senior Mel Duan is not impressed when a 150-year old vampire (who looks like a teenager and talks like a 19th-century poet) enrolls in her school. Sure, New Whitby, Maine, is known for its large vampire population, but the vamps and humans keep to their own. Mel finds Francis merely annoying until her best friend Cathy falls for him and decides to become a vampire herself, at which point Mel shifts into full-blown protective mode. This smart and entertaining novel—part Nancy Drew with vampires, part thoughtful and provocative story about assumptions—fully blooms in the second half. Themes of honest friendship and freedom of choice mix with zombies, accidental romance, a diverse and complex cast, and sharply funny dialogue to create a thoroughly enjoyable read with a core of unexpected depth. linky
You may recall that Kirkus also wowed me by giving Team Human a starred review!
VOYA, who have a different system from stars but this review as you can see is shiny!
4Q 5P J S
Larbalestier, Justine, and Sarah Rees Brennan. Team Human. HarperTeen, 2012.
Mel is a realist in an unreal town where vampires and humans have learned to cohabitate in relative peace. Unlike some of her fellow citizens, Mel does not yearn to work with or date vampires. In fact, when a vampire is a new student at her high school, Mel would like nothing more than to avoid him altogether. Unfortunately, Mel’s best friend, Cathy, starts to fall for the new guy. Throughout, Mel remains team human, even as she comes to better understand the vampires who are so important to the people around her.
What is interesting about this book is that the authors both uphold the conventions of the contemporary vampire romance and comment on it. The book remains sympathetic to the popular vampire story; however, antithetical to the Twilight saga, Mel, our teenage female protagonist, is critical of the romantic vampire mythos, especially the pederastic relationship between centuries-old vampires and real teenage girls. In the end, like so many readers, Mel begins to better understand the appeal and her inevitable connection to vampires, though she remains committed to human endeavors.
Reviews in trade (publishing and generally book-ly, the reviews official-like) magazines are a sort of sign to me: a beacon or a smoke signal. Your book is COMING! Here is what some people THINK of it! Because really, what people think of it is what matters.
I haven't been this nervous, in this way, since waiting for reviews and thoughts when the Demon's Lexicon was published three years ago. In fact, I wasn't this nervous back then, because now I am twice as nervous: for Team Human and Unspoken both, for the verdict of public opinion. The new book is another country: people might see you differently there.
It is also strange, to go from nobody having seen something you've written, to a few people, to what you've written being out there in the world, available to anyone. Strange and awe-inspiring, and terrifying. It does feel a little bit like waiting in a court room for a verdict to be pronounced: Good Book or Bad Book, happiness or sorrow, victory or defeat. Possibly this is not how all people feel: sound off about the importance of others' views or lack thereof below. ;)
But I'm very, very happy that people like Team Human so far. The book is coming! The book is almost real! The best is yet to be.