The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

Team Human - Justine Larbalestier,  Sarah Rees Brennan I feel bad about giving this two stars, but about halfway through it really lost some steam. Larablestier and Brennan wrote this story as a satirical take on young adult vampire romance and it was funny and biting (haha) in the beginning, but many of the elements that I enjoyed when I first started reading became increasingly annoying.I liked the main character, Mel, throughout most of the book, though at times she was unnecessarily violent, prejudiced, and rude. There was one scene where she punched her guy friend so hard he reared back to retaliate (though thankfully he controlled himself) and she thinks nothing of it. She's angry and lashes out and nobody calls her on it. She does the same thing when returning a volleyball to some random people playing nearby; she throws the ball so hard that it knocks the breath out of the guy she launches it at. Then they ask her to play with them. If a guy pulled these stunts he'd get his ass kicked.Mel also hates vampires, though she claims she has no problem with them, and I can't help but think that if her friend's new boyfriend was African American instead of a vampire everyone would think she was incredibly racist. She calls vampires "them" and pretty much says to everyone that they should be segregated and kept away from humans. Obviously, vampires drink human blood so it's a different type of fear and prejudice, but I couldn't help think that if this wasn't a paranormal story the reactions to this book would be very different.Let me make something clear: I don't agree with the nutters who want to kill all vampires. My parents voted yes on Proposition Four, and if I had the vote I would have too: Unlawfully killing vampires should be punished as harshly as killing people. Murder is murder. I don't want vampires dead. I just wanted Francis to go to a different school.Swap out "vampire" for any race and that sounds pretty awful, right? It's definitely an interesting observation when you consider that Mel is Chinese-American too. What if someone said, "I don't want to kill Chinese people, I just don't want to go to school with them." Perhaps this was the authors point though, because the bulk of the story is spent trying to convince Mel that vampires are people too and they're not all murderous villains. I think her hatred of vampires was laid on super thick though, so much that it makes it difficult to believe that she could ever turn over a new leaf. I thought this conversation that Mel and her sister had was telling:"I know how you feel about vampires.""What?" I asked. "Why does everyone keep acting as if I have a problem with vampires? I don't have a problem with vampires. You said Cathy shouldn't be dating a vampire. You agreed with me!""Well, sure," said Kristin. "I think vampire groupies are dumb. And I know Cathy gets way too intense and serious about things, and getting intense and serious about a vampire seems like a terrible idea. But I'm not saying I'd never date a vampire. You, though, Mel. You love to laugh. Not to mention you're always fierce about your friends, and the way you saw it, a vampire hurt Anna. None of those things are bad! It just means you are less likely than anyone I know to be Team Vampire."Racists will be more upset about being called a racist than the possibility that they might be racist. Mel definitely shows those signs here.Mel's sister brings up laughter in that quote I pulled, and that's one of the reasons I dropped this book to two stars; the words "laugh" and "smile" or some derivative thereof were used over 150 times, and most of them were in the last half of the book.What if they said it was an honor, a privilege, and a blessing for Cathy to get all her blood sucked out and to never laugh again?She'd never laugh again if she became a vampire. And she'd never laugh, or smile, or speak if the transition didn't work.So many of Mel's thoughts and her conversations with her friends are about laughter, jokes, and making people smile. Or trying to make people laugh with a joke, or one of her friends smiling at her and Mel thinking that she couldn't bear the thought of never laughing again if she was a vampire who didn't smile at jokes and laugh ... It gets old, quickly.Random praise: I like that neither Mel nor any of her close circle of friends has a car. She walks and rides her bike for the majority of the book. She also has two parents who take an interest in her life and she does her homework and goes to a public school. She and her friends hang out at a coffee shop and share a brownie because they only have enough money for one. These little realistic touches were nice and unexpected when you think about all of the other YA books with rich kids whose parents have no idea what they're doing (if they're even in the country) and go to boarding schools in the woods. I liked the fact that these teens felt like real people and that I could identify with them more than normal.I enjoyed most of the humor in this book, though the prose is nothing to write home about, and for the most part I liked the story even though the mystery and romance got a bit frustrating as they both went around in circles at times. Two stars is "just ok" and that's how I feel about this one; I don't regret reading it but I'm glad it's not a series. I have a feeling this isn't these authors' greatest work since the ratings and reviews aren't overwhelmingly positive, so I'll probably check out another book they've written (by themselves) sometime in the future, (I'm excited for Unspoken in particular.) Parody and satire can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately this book doesn't outshine any of the original material, though I'm sure it's still a better love story than Twilight.

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