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Read Peeps (2015)

Peeps (2015)

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3.77 of 5 Votes: 3
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1595140838 (ISBN13: 9781595140838)

Peeps (2015) - Plot & Excerpts

This review will include two sentences I never expected to write in a review, namely:1. "This book does not contain any sickly sweet marshmallow candy"* and2. "Ew, ew, ew!"Does that make you want to keep reading? I hope so, because Scott Westerfeld, who for my money is among the best YA authors writing these days, has created a believable and realistic take on the vampire legend which I don't recommend for the squeamish, and probably not for the romantic, either. There are no spooky castles here, or pretty clothing, or pale aristocratic types with neck fetishes; in fact, this book just might be the anti-Twilight, since its vampires have a lot more in common with people bitten by rabid dogs. There is nothing romantic about vampirism here; it is sexy only in the sense that those infected with it become increasingly horny, and spread the disease through physical contact.Our narrator, 19 year old Cal Thompson, is a parasite positive, or "Peep" as he calls them, who contracted the disease through a one night stand when he first moved to New York. Peeps are the basis for the vampire legend; although they can not fly or turn into bats, they do cower from sunlight, bite other humans, and possess super-human strength. Cal is a natural carrier, however, which means that he has not turned into a crazed cannibal like most other Peeps, but he can still spread the disease to those he kisses, since the disease is carried through the saliva. He has joined the Night Watch, an organization devoted to hunting Peeps down, and is working on capturing his former girlfriends to whom he has spread the disease.What I particularly liked about this book was the way Westerfeld attributes aspects of the vampire legend to the need for the vampire parasite to spread. Those infected with the disease (and not immune, as Cal is) come to hate everything they used to love, which makes them leave their homes and thus spread the illness far afield. This anathema, as it is called, explains both the light sensitivity and cruciphobia of the traditional vampires, particularly in medieval Europe. The parasite also infects creatures who feast on the leftovers of the Peeps, so hoards of bats and rats are likely to follow them, a repository for the disease. If you don't yet get the "ew, ew, ew!" comment with which I began this review, every other chapter in this novel offers true stories about biological parasites, and (thank goodness) there is an afterword explaining how to avoid them. This storytelling device won't work for every reader, but I liked it because it helped to cement the science nerd aspect of Cal's personality, as well as underscoring how vampirism is spread. I found this a fun read, which entertains while teaching science and will appeal to kids' love of all things "yuck." I think it would be a nice complement to a tenth grade biology class, and might even inspire those struggling with the material. I'm not sure how young I would go with this book, due to the sexual content (it's pretty tame, and non-glamorized, but there), but it's definitely enjoyable for those well out of their teens.* If you are really jones-ing for cute marshmallow creatures, please Google "Lord of the Peeps." You won't be sorry.

I was going to say this is one of Scott Westerfeld's earlier novels, but they all seem to have come onto the scene around 2005. Instead I'll say this, it's one that's set in New York City.So, here's a reason to advocate abstinence only sex education: You can turn into a vampire if you exchange saliva with the wrong person. Cal, unfortunately, misses out on this lesson--so after a drunken one night stand he ends up as a vampire. As you might have guessed, these are not your grandmother's vampires. Sure, the legends are the same, but that's about it. Because in Westerfeld's story, vampirism is a disease spread by a little parasite called Toxoplasma. So, instead of being called vampires, Cal and others who have been infected (or are carriers) are called "Parasite Positives" or "Peeps" for short.The upshot is that Cal is recruited by a secret government organization to hunt peeps and especially to capture those that he infected. Then he has to find the girl who made him a carrier. Sounds simple, right? Think again. As Cal gets closer to tracking down his progenitor things keep getting more complicated until everything Cal thought he knew to be true is thrown into question.Let me also say that you will never look at rats, or cats, the same way after reading this novel. There is something about a cat with a vampiric parasite that is just so much more appealing than a normal one.The even numbered chapters of this book don't directly relate to the action-packed plot described above. Instead, chapter by chapter, Cal acquaints us with the world of parasitology (you might want to keep the Purel handy for certain segments). Some readers might find these narrative "interruptions" to be a bit annoying and unecessary, I'd politely disagree saying that the information is interesting and, well, cool. Even if you skip all the others, read chapter four. It's relevant (I also saw Scott Westerfeld at a reading where he read this section of the book and it was ah-may-zing).So, while the parasite information might be icky, the book is awesome. The story is really fast-paced and has a lot of action and suspense. Lots of chapters end on cliff hangers that make you want to read that much faster. Even more exciting, the book is just as enjoyable for male and female readers (not too gory, not too mushy--a happy medium). Cal is a likable narrator as well as a reliable one--readers know everything that he does.My only issue with the novel comes at the last thirty some odd pages because it got confusing. At this point, Call learns a lot of new information which, of course, the readers also have to digest. Combined with the fast pace, it got a little hard to follow everything. In fact, I had to reread the last couple of chapters to be sure I knew what was going on.Confusion aside, the story was awesome. I love Scott Westerfeld unconditionally, but this book was lots of fun to read. The set up and early chapters prepare you for one kind of book, but by the end it's something entirely different. If you want a new take on an old monster, Peeps is your book.

What do You think about Peeps (2015)?

SO! I just read a review of this book that made me go O.O. Apparently teens shouldn't read swear words. Also they shouldn't read books that have a "casual attitude" about sex or promiscuity. Or gay bars. Or contempt for religious beliefs.Lots of O.OI read this book when I was a teen. I turned out okay. I think. Tho I'm pretty sure if they person who wrote that review knew I was a queer Trans guy, she might disagree. :PIn lieu of this, I am planning to reread Peeps! Because I haven't read it in a long time. And because I remember loving it (Did not love 'The Last Days' quite as much, but I might reread that, too).That being said, anybody want to join me? I'm going to wait til the Harry Potter reread of epicness is done, because OotP and DH are huge...So, who's in?
—Wart *Rainbows, beauty, and death* Hill

Peeps, which treats vampires as thoroughly unromantic parasites, is a well-written story about a boy infected with a "carrier" gene who must hunt those who have turned into vampires. It kept my interest because it's such an unusual premise, but after awhile the alternating chapters that present random biological terrors became a little tiresome. I enjoy books with visceral descriptions and count Richard Preston's The Hot Zone among my favorite non-fiction books, but the lessons here would have been a little less intrusive if they'd been a short paragraph or two at the beginning of each chapter instead of making up literally half of the book--or if the overarching story and character development were better balanced with them. I also wasn't a huge fan of the way Cal would sometimes address the reader directly, or of Lace's non-stop use of the word "dude" to address someone (and this is coming from someone who actually does use "dude" on occasion). Overall, this is a really interesting premise, but the actual action and story weren't compelling enough for me to really love it. I picked up the second book in this series too, but after skimming through a few chapters, it didn't really hold my interest either. Still, Peeps has a lot of fans and I can see why. In the end, it just boils down to a matter of personal taste.
—Wendy Darling

This one’s an interesting reinvention of the vampire myth—vampirism is a sexually transmitted parasite, an idea that Westerfeld explores fully, and often with great creativity and zest. (You know how that bit about vamps—sorry, peeps—being afraid of crosses came about? One of the parasite’s adaptations is to attack the brain and make you hate everything you used to love, so infected people won’t just hang around noshing on their neighbors and get killed by the mob with torches and pitchforks right away. The aversion to sunlight is a similar deal.) The sexual frustration of Cal—the parasite positive but rare resistant peep hunter—is quite amusing, and Westerfeld creates an excellent temptation for him in Lace, an NYU student whose dialogue—I swear to God—sounds like it could have come straight from Dean Winchester’s lips. However, while the build up is a lot of fun and, with scenes like the one set in a boarded-up underground swimming pool (brr!), often really creepy and intense, by the end the book takes a turn for the ridiculous. There are giant worms. Giant worms, people. It’s like Buffy meets Tremors, and so far, not in a good way.

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