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Peeps : a novel
Book
2005
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. In Westerfeld's latest smart, urbane fantasy, parasite positives, or peeps, are maniacal cannibals that cause illness. College freshman Cal was lucky: he contracted the sexually transmitted disease during a one-night stand, but it never developed into its full-blown form. Now he works for an underground bureau in Manhattan that tracks down peeps. Apart from the cravings for rare meat and enforced celibacy (turning lovers into monsters is not an uplifting thing ), life is okay--until a hip, cute journalism student intensifies Cal's yearnings for companionship. Complicating matters are indications that peeps have an urgent evolutionary purpose. Breezy essays on parasitology feel a bit intrusive, and the plot ultimately spirals into B-movie absurdity. But a great many YAs, particularly those who relished M. T. Anderson's Thirsty and Annette Curtis Klause' Blood and Chocolate (both 1997) will marvel at Westerfeld's plausible integration of science and legend. Westerfeld's concluding, passionate defense of evolutionary theory will raise some hackles, but the fact that the whole thing is premised on an STD probably preselects an audience that won't take offense. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2005 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Both medical thriller and science fiction, this fast-paced, captivating modern vampire story is enriched with biology and history. Nineteen-year-old Cal is a hunter. He works for the Night Watch, New York City's clandestine organization to capture "peeps," "parasite positive" people infected with an ancient disease that causes vampirism. They're cannibalistic, violent and wildly strong. Cal tracks his line of contagion: an ex-girlfriend, whom he unwittingly infected, and then his progenitor, the girl who gave it to him. Yes, Cal has the parasite, but he's a carrier rather than a full-blown peep. Forced into secrecy and celibacy but possessing peep-like superhuman senses and strength, Cal simmers with adrenaline. He succeeds at his job in the dank, oppressive urban undergrounds, but he discloses secrets to an unauthorized, uninfected girl his age who becomes inextricably involved. Conspiracy issues arise; the parasite's centuries-long history holds a profound revelation. Westerfeld intersperses relevant chapters on how various real-life parasites operate in nature. Entrancing throughout--but squeamish readers beware. (afterword, bibliography) (Science fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Bursting with the sharp intelligence and sly humor that's fast becoming his trademark, Westerfield's new novel is an utterly original take on an archetype of horror--the vampire.
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