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Peeps Paperback – September 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; Reprint edition (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595140832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595140838
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

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#60 in Books > Teens
#60 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Harmonyfb on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This YA book was head and shoulders above the adult novels I've read in the last six months. Well-written, creepy as all get-out, it had well-defined characters, an entertaining plot, and even a bit of 'stealth science'. The best part was the way in which vampirism was addressed as a parasitical infestation. Every symptom, from photosensitivity to cruciphobia, was discussed in terms that were not only internally consistent, but perfectly plausible.

The title, "Peeps", refers to a shorthand designation for the vampires - as in "Parasite-Positive". The narrator, Cal, is also infested - he's a carrier, capable of infecting others, but not suffering the more dire effects of the infestation (i.e., the blood-drinking and cannibalism). He's recruited to join the Night Watch, an ancient organization that monitors and controls outbreaks of Echinococcus cannibalis -- the organism which causes vampirism -- to act as a vampire hunter, tracking and capturing others who don't have his lucky immunity. In the process, he learns that vampires aren't the only things that go bump in the night.

Highly recommended for teens and adults alike (middle-schoolers may also enjoy this, but parents should be aware that there are references to sex and "being horny" that may require some discussion, and there are numerous discussions of real parasites that may cause uneasiness.)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
First rule: Don't call them vampires. That's just a ridiculous term. The proper label is parasite-positives, or "peeps." Maybe some people think that peeps have a few things in common with vampires of legend, but New York City is a long way from the Carpathian Mountains.

Second rule: Whatever you do, don't forget the anathema, when peeps start hating the things they used to love. The anathema hurts, but in a good way.

These rules to live by are a part of Cal Thompson's daily life. Cal is a peep hunter, sworn to protect New York from the spread of the parasite that, well, makes people act like vampires, if you have to use that word. Cal himself was infected with the parasite, but on him it works differently. He has the superpowers and the urge to feed, but he can still live among those who don't carry the parasite. In a quest to track down the woman who gave him the parasite, he peels away the layers of a mystery involving rats, cats, writing on a wall, and a building with more than a health club in its basement.

Be forewarned: PEEPS is neither for the faint of heart nor for the faint of stomach. But if descriptions of parasites and some truly disgusting life forms under New York City are what you live for, then pick up this book immediately. Westerfeld provides a fascinating, high-adventure look at the lives of parasites and ties it into a gritty urban fantasy with plot twists around every corner.

--- Reviewed by Carlie Webber
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Peeps or Parasite Positive people are crazy cannibals, a danger to themselves and the rest of human society, unless you are a Peep carrier, then you have a lot of enhanced skills but none of the madness. Carriers are recruited to hunt down the mad Peeps. Cal is a Peep carrier who is hunting down his ex-lovers, now all crazy peeps hiding from the things they loved. However, Cal is about to find out that that despite a year of education on Peep behaviour and hunting skills he doesn't know the really important things about the changes in himself.

By the time you finish this book you'll know a lot more about parasites than you did before you started, both the good and the bad. In a lot of ways this is an introductory novel. There is a sequel due to come out called _The Last Days_ but I'm not sure it has the same characters. For me this was an enjoyable young adult vampire-like book with a new twist that doesn't concentrate on excessive sex, blood or soppy romance for its story line.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Usually when you read about vampires, you think of crazy, bloodsucking, evil flying beasts, but Peeps puts vampires into a different perspective. Instead of calling them vampires, they call them peeps. Being a peep isn't a curse either; it is a disease. There are full -blown peeps and there are people called carriers. Carriers are like peeps without all of the symptoms. They are still fast, night-visioned and good listeners, but they don't have the urge to kill.

This story is about a carrier named Cal. Cal is a hunter of peeps. He hunts down peeps and sends them away so that they wont kill any more people. All of the peeps that Cal hunts are his ex-girlfriends. Carriers can still transmit the disease, even through a kiss. So Cal meets a girl, falls in love, and wants to kiss her but he knows what will happen if he does....

I love this book because it is funny, action packed, and it is about a typical teenage character.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked this up because I loved the four Uglies books currently out, and I really wanted something new from the author. This book didn't disappoint!

Cal is a carrier for a parasite - THE parasite, the one which makes you a vampire, or Peep (Parasite Positive). But unlike most of the people who get the disease, he hasn't turned into an unmanageable eater of humans, and is able to manage his disease with only a few strange side effects - like, he's always hungry for meat, and constantly hungry for sex. Seeing as the parasite is spread through saliva and other body fluids, though, Cal's pretty much out of luck on one of those, or so he thinks.

Since non-murderous carriers are pretty rare, Cal works with the Night Watch to help contain the vampire problem, and he tracks down his old girlfriends and gets them the medication they need to be almost sane. But when he begins tracking the person who gave him the disease, he is led into a foul underworld of carrier rats, unusually rational peeps, and evidence of an ancient and vile monster underground.

As he investigates, he becomes closer to Lace, the journalism student who lives in the building under which he is investigating. She isn't infected, and even for a journalism student she is far too careless about her wellbeing, preferring finding out the whole story to keeping herself safe.

Is the disease evolving new ways of spreading? Why are so many of the new peeps acting almost sane? And most importantly, will Cal be able to keep his hands off of the very hot Lace?

Interspersed with the story are disgusting and accurate descriptions of real-life parasites, which help us think about the story in new ways and give us a backdrop to place the new characters against.
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