4.5 out of 5 StarsMel Duan is a high-school student in the town of New Whitby, the vampire capital of the US. However, vampires usually stay out of Mel’s and her friends’ lives. Except when one decides to attend her high school, and Mel’s best friend Cathy is drawn to him. Mel will do anything to make sure Cathy stays away from him, while trying to help her other friend, Anna, figure out what happened to her dad.When I started this book, I expected a funny yet loving poke at Twilight and the vampire novels of today, and while the book delivers, it’s much smarter than a simple satire. Mel is a deeply flawed and unreliable narrator, but still manages to be likable and sympathetic, even at her worst. Mel cares deeply about her friends and has a drive for justice and truth. However, Mel is bigoted against vampires and can be extremely prejudiced. The book uses Mel to illuminate the fact one can be a bigot without even realizing it. Not all racists/homophobes/etc. are silly Hilly Holbrook caricatures (The one – okay one of many – aspects of The Help I thought failed miserably) and Mel shows how that mentality can be ingrained within otherwise honorable and well-intentioned people (of course I’m not saying that these people are good people, but most bigots are not mustache twirling villains). Mel can be downright unbearable, but she learns through the course of the novel that vampires are people too.In many ways, Team Human succeeds on an even greater level than Twilight, showing the positives as well as the consequences of becoming a vampire. Cathy, the Bella surrogate, is Romantic (with a capital ‘R’) and distracted, but she also stands up for herself and makes her own decisions. She is someone you can cheer for (and she actually has a personality).The side characters are amazing and well-developed. Everyone comes from a different background with different feelings about vampires, humans, and what their relationship should be. The world created in Team Human is simple, but compelling. I liked how Larbalestier and Brennan incorporated zombie lore with vampire lore in a new way that made sense and served the story.I loved that Mel is a POC heroine (in fact that is what drew me to the book), but I felt if any book should have a white heroine, this would be the book. Minorities can be bigoted as well, but such lessons would probably serve a white protagonist more. This in no way hindered my enjoyment of the book, but food for thought.Sometimes the book could be a bit pedantic (Everyone has happy families! Everyone is great at school!) and the book does not have the most even pacing (plot lines/characters are dropped and then picked up again).Team Human manages to walk the fine line of being for those who enjoy vampires, those who don’t, and everyone in between. It makes fun of Twilight and the teen-vampire genre while not insulting or alienating fans (in fact it may do the genre better than most). It’s funny, heartfelt, and surprising. It made me cry twice (and very few things make me cry, except Pixar movies). I’ve found two great new authors to keep an eye on. Team Human brings vampires back to their roots - not scary, sexual, or sparkly - but a comment on society that makes you think.