As with So Yesterday, Westerfeld creates an engaging conspiracy set in New York City, filling his novel with provocative facts, this time about parasites. Right after Cal Thompson moves from Texas to New York for college, he loses his virginity and become infected with the parasite that causes vampirism. Fortunately, Cal is "partly immune," so while he is parasite-positive, or a peep, he only experiences some effects, such as night vision. The 19-year-old works for Night Watch, the city's ancient peep-hunting organization. As Cal begins to track Morgan, the woman who infected him after a drunken one-night stand, he stumbles upon a mystery that eventually makes him question the very organization for which he works. He also finds a love interest in the strong-willed journalism student now living in Morgan's old building, but because of the disease he cannot act on his feelings. While they may have trouble making sense of all the pieces, readers will enjoy the scientific reasoning behind vampirism, and will likely get sucked into the conspiracy with Cal. The book brims with great details (Cal can make himself fake I.D. cards and, like other government workers, spends a lot of his time filling in forms), and he faces off against other victims and encounters plenty of rats. Alternate chapters about parasites provide compelling (and appropriately disgusting) details about their small but powerful world. This is definitely a story to get the brain working. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.\
One pictures a high school science teacher looking out at a bored class and thinking, "Hmm . . . how can I make the theory of evolution interesting? I know. I'll write a novel about vampires!" This author, however, has a long list of SF novels behind him and found his author calling in infancy, so the potential use of this book to teach Darwinian theory is perhaps a happy coincidence. "Peeps" is short for parasite positive, the "preferred" term for modern vampires because, yes, vampirism is the result of parasitic infection, with which the world abounds (as Westerfeld happily details in quirky but factual even-numbered chapters). The super powers (strength, the ability to leap tall buildingsbut no flying, come on!the uncanny sense of smell, the desire to eat meat, the horniness, the hatred of mirror reflections) are only resulting symptoms. Nineteen-year-old Cal arrives in New York City to attend college, but is seduced by too many Bahamalama Dingdongs into sex with a black-haired stranger and becomes a carrier of the parasite, making him the perfect vampire hunter because, like Typhoid Mary, his condition is rare. It may be hard to imagine from this plot summary how the novel demonstrates the theory of evolution, but it does, and entertainingly. Even non-vampire fans will like this one. Readers know they are not in standard vampire country when Cal makes his first capture by pasting pictures of Elvis on every door and window to prevent escape. KLIATT Codes: S*Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Razorbill, 320p., Ages 15 to 18.
This is an odd book. Fans of vampire novels will like it, of course, but it has an extra kick to it. "Peeps" is short for "parasite-positive," and the parasite in this case is vampirism. "Parasite" is the operative word here. You may think you know how parasites workhow they infect and kill their host species, how they get carried around by another species that will transmit them without being infected themselvesbut Westerfeld tells us way more than we ever wanted to know, about more parasites than we ever thought existed. Cal Thompson, the narrator, is a carrier; he can transmit the parasite but is not a full-fledged vampire himself. He has many of the physical attributes of vampires. His senses of smell and taste and hearing are enhanced. He is also constantly horny, which means that when he walks down the street he has to look at the pavement rather than all the beautiful women. Cal is also a member of the Night Watch. This group of (questionable) police officers are trying to track down Peeps, and Cal needs to find the woman who infected him and the woman he infected. Are you confused yet? Just wait until cats get involved. Yes, both feral and domestic cats can carry the parasite. They can even be vampires. And there is Something living under the sewers, an evil Something that is just waiting for the right time so that it can take over. The Night Watch, the Peeps, and some "normals" form an alliance to defeat their ancient enemy. Very readable. Recommended for fans of the genre. 2005, Penguin Young Readers, Ages 12 up.
Gr 9 Up-Vampire stories are a staple of the publishing industry. They are usually romantic and sexy, steeped in a dreamy magic. Peeps is none of those-well, maybe a little sexy. Nineteen-year-old Cal, a Texas transplant, lost his virginity-and a lot more-when he first arrived in New York City. He became a parasite-positive, or "peep"-he prefers not to use the "v-word." Now he works for the Night Watch, a secret branch of city government dedicated to tracking others of his kind. Unlike the rare natural carriers like Cal, who has acquired night vision, superhuman strength, and a craving for lots of protein, most peeps are insane cannibals lurking in darkness. But now the teen has found the young woman who infected him-and learns that something worse than peeps is threatening the city, and he is on the front lines. Cal's voice is genuine-he's a little geeky, as evidenced by the intermittent discussions on parasites, and he laces a dry humor through this immensely reasonable biological vampire story. The evocation of NYC is exactly right, so that even the most fantastic elements of the plot feel believable. Much of the story is concerned with Cal's detective work and growing relationship with Lace, his "Major Revelation Incident" (he tells her his secret); toward the end, the action picks up in a race to reveal the horrors to come. This innovative and original vampire story, full of engaging characters and just enough horror without any gore, will appeal to a wide audience.-Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.\
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)\