Book Review: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Peeps
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA science fiction
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: After a year of hunting, I finally caught up with Sarah.

Cal Thompson is a peep, a “parasite positive” that is. Otherwise known as a vampire. Only, he’s not a vampire in the paranormal, undead meaning of the word. And he doesn’t exhibit the symptoms that turn most peeps into cannibalistic monsters. He is a carrier of a parasite that is spread through romantic contact – and not just sex. Even kissing can put his partners at risk. And while the parasite has simply given him super-human strength, speed, senses, and longevity, it will turn his partners into human flesh-eating horrors. It’s a very lonely condition to find oneself in.

Because of his unique physical capabilities, Cal is employed by the Night Watch, a secret government entity that seeks out peeps and brings them in, treating them and keeping them away from the rest of human society. Cal has tracked down all of his past girlfriends except the mysterious woman named Morgan, who took his virginity and infected him in the process. When he finds her, he discovers that not all he’s been taught by the Night Watch is the truth. Who can he trust? And what about Lace, the girl he just met and is attracted to? What can he tell her without endangering her life?

I don’t remember who told me I should read Peeps (Megan, was it you?), but I owe that person a big thank you. Peeps is a new take on vampire lore – it’s science fiction, not fantasy. Vampires aren’t undead or paranormal or magical in any way, they are simply the product of a parasite infecting them and changing their body chemistry. I loved all the science in this book; Westerfeld alternates chapters of the story with chapters describing some of the weirder – yet completely real – parasites that live on our planet.

While there is a romantic element to Peeps, it is not a romance novel. It is an action-packed, slyly humorous, science fiction novel with a twist ending that I loved. I was reading Westerfeld’s Behemoth at the same time as Peeps, and I honestly never would have suspected they were written by the same author. He takes on a unique voice for each book or series – something I find amazing. And I also found it refreshing to read a YA science fiction novel that was intended to stand alone – no cliff-hanger, no nail-biting until the next book; just a really fun read.

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18 Responses to Book Review: Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

  1. I’ve seen this but didn’t really know what it is about – thanks for the review – it sounds like a good read!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Rhapsody – I didn’t know what it was about either – the title works after you understand what it means, but before that i thought it just meant “friends” – as in “my peeps” – LOL

  2. Fyrefly says:

    It might have been me; I recommend Peeps to just about everyone! I’m so glad you liked it! Hooray for biology in fiction!

    It’s been a long time since I’ve actually read it myself, though. If I can get my copy back from the most recent person I’ve lent it to, I’ll have to re-read!

  3. carol
    Twitter: carolsnotebook
    says:

    I read this one a while ago, but didn’t particularly care for it. I pretty much in the minority though.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Carol – I don’t think I’ve ever read a review of this one, believe it or not!

  4. There was a day when I would have said this book wasn’t for me, but I read and enjoyed Feed this year and this sounds similar. I’m putting this on my maybe list.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – I don’t have a maybe list – I think I need one of those!

  5. Rebecca Rasmussen
    Twitter: thebirdsistersgmail.com
    says:

    Ooh, I like Kathy’s idea of a maybe list — πŸ™‚

  6. irene says:

    This sound good, I’m not big on Vampires but I do like Scott Westerfield.

  7. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies
    says:

    Mary Ann -you’re welcome.

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  9. Kathleen says:

    This is definitely quite a bit different than my usual reading fare but that being said you make it sound really appealing and every time I have read out of my comfort zone I have always been really glad that I did!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathleen – I’m usually not sorry when I stretch my reading tastes, either. πŸ™‚

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