Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
New Whitby is a safe haven for vampires, as well as a residence for a human population. Mel has never had a problem with living in the same town with so many vampires, since she has never had to deal with them before. But when one joins her school, her best friend Cathy quickly falls for the uptight, undead in a seventeen-year-old body. Mel will do anything she can to keep Cathy from a decision she may regret. Meanwhile, Mel is asked by another friend to look into her father’s uncharacteristic behavior and disappearance.
Mel is a smart and strong character. She has a good heart, especially when it comes to her friends. She puts her friends’ problems before her own, even when she meets an odd human boy raised by vampires. They have a particular chemistry, but she focuses more of her attention on Cathy’s vampire romance and the missing father mystery than their budding romance.
Larbalestier and Brennan have teamed up to create a familiar vampire YA fantasy with a unique twist. I’m a fan of vampire stories, so I loved the idea and wasn’t disappointed with the wit or suspense. Though a bit predictable, the story is fast-paced, engaging, and suspenseful. With plenty of humor, teen angst, family drama, and even zombies – Team Human is a fun and exciting story that both Team Edward and non-Twilight fans will enjoy.
Team Human releases from Harper Teen on July 3, 2012.
Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Jett is wandering the Old West, in search of her brother who was lost during the Civil War. But to keep safe out on her own, she disguises herself as a young man. When she enters this latest town, Jett is expecting trouble, but not an army of invading zombies. Jett manages to escape and happens upon Honoria Gibbons, an eccentric young female inventor, and White Fox, a white man raised in a Native American tribe. Gibbons and White Fox don’t really believe her account, but help her investigate anyway. And when they witness the zombie horde the next night, they realize the mindless undead are being controlled by someone – a madman with a dark purpose.
Jett is the central character, and most of the suspense is built around her and her point of view. Both Jett and Honoria Gibbons are fun characters who reject the stereotypical woman’s role of the time period. Jett thinks she has no choice but to pretend to be a young man in order to get by on her own. And Gibbons has obviously been given more freedom to be who she wants to be, regardless of what others think. And while White Fox has an interesting backstory, he takes a backseat to the strong female characters.
Lackey and Edghill have created a fun and unique mash-up of Western, zombie and steampunk that I was excited to get my hands on. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least. As with most zombie novels, there is plenty of heart pounding and intense suspense. Though, the gore and violence was certainly minimal in this story marketed for young adults. Instead, the story focuses more on mystery and adventure – which I thoroughly enjoyed. Solid characters, a clever genre blend, and a fast-paced intriguing story made Dead Reckoning irresistible.