by Scott Westerfeld

Nineteen-year-old Cal Thompson is parasite positive: a peep. But things could be... read more

Nineteen-year-old Cal Thompson is parasite positive: a peep. But things could be worse. Cal’s just a carrier, so unlike full-blown peeps, who crave darkness, desire human blood, and slowly go insane, Cal has kept his wits about him, although he has a voracious appetite, occasional bouts of superhuman strength, and is sexually aroused by just about every female he sees. But Cal’s sworn himself to celibacy. It’s the only way he can make sure he doesn’t spread the disease. In fact, Cal’s a peep hunter, the youngest member of the Night Watch, a centuries-old organization dedicated to tracking down peeps. (“I don’t use the V-word,” Cal explains.) Cal was just a typical college-bound kid when he arrived in New York City the year before, until one too many Bahamalama-Dingdongs at a dingy bar led to a one night stand with the stranger who infected him. Now Cal’s assignment is to track down that unknown woman in Scott Westerfeld’s fast-paced story that is vampire tale, scientific thriller, and mystery all in one. Cal’s dry, hilarious first-person narrative chronicles his search, which is complicated when he meets Lace, an uninfected woman unwittingly caught up in the mystery to whom his attraction is more than just physical, making her that much harder to resist. Westerfeld incorporates fascinating scientific information into his story as each chapter opens with Cal waxing eloquent on the terrifying nature of parasites and disease. Brilliantly structured, the science that is gradually revealed parallels elements of the developing plot as the story unfolds, leading to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion that makes sense in both scientific and literary terms. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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