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The Moment Stealer

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier I like a lot of things about this book and happily, most of it is about the protagonist. I like that she is fiercely loyal to her friends, even when they're shutting her out. The genre has a decided lack of positive female friendship portrayals, shunting them off to the side to give the spotlight to romance, but what is so nice about Team Human is that it's primarily a book about the trials undergone by and for friendship, and secondarily about romantic love.

I also love that Mel is Chinese -- not just because it's pretty excellent to be able to read about a protagonist that could look like me, but because it's never treated as a big deal that she's Chinese. Her family is just made up of regular people who happen to be Chinese, not walking caricatures of what the Western world perceives as Chinese. And that's pretty rare.

However, this book is definitely not perfect, and neither is Mel. In fact, her attitude toward vampires is pretty much racism in no uncertain terms, and she is very vocal about it. Sometimes while I was reading, I couldn't help substituting 'vampires' with any other minority in my head, and whatever charm Mel had flew out the window. Still, I do suppose that this is what comes of complaining about perfect protagonists -- Mel is decidedly flawed, and very likable in spite of all her flaws, especially in the context of her devotion to her friends. The book is about her learning to deal with her prejudices and also letting go of her friends, so she redeems herself in the end, but it was pretty hard to get through sometimes.

One last thing -- I don't know if he gets mentioned a lot in reviews, but I'd like to say that I kind of loved Francis. He's the resident vampire whose romance with Mel's best friend shakes things up, and he is just so fucking ridiculous that he takes on an entirely bizarre charm on his own, especially in light of his foofy behavior at home. More vampires need to be absurd, and Francis is an absolute delight.