Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Westerfeld, Scott.
New York : Razorbill, 2006
ISBN 1595140832
(2 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

My name is Cal. I am going to college in New York City. I have also been making sure to enjoy all aspects of college life from the clubs to the girls. I met this one really mysterious girl named Morgan. We had a great night together, and she changed my life ... literally. You see I caught a disease from her and while I am just a carrier and don't exhibit the symptoms, it is still a pretty nasty thing to have. I have joined up with a group call the Night Watch, which was set up to deal with this disease. Night Watch calls those people "parasite-positives," or peeps for short." Most people call them vampires. They are accompanied by rats, are sensitve to sunlight, live for hundreds of years, and kill humans. My new job is to hunt them down ... and Buffy Summers has nothing on me.   (Rhode Island Teen Book Award nominee 2007-2008)

Booktalk #2

Cal Thompson left Texas and came to New York to attend college. However, a simple romantic turned into an eerie adventure that would change his life forever. Suddenly adventure, fear, and the supernatural replace normality. Cal is contaminated.   In order to make progress and self-diagnose his contamination, Cal accepts a job as peep hunter for the “Night Watch.” Thus, the reader’s immersion in Peep Hunting101 with all its pigeon feathers and rats begins.

The study of and the understanding of parasites permeates the action and saturates the dialogue of the tale. In the subterranean levels of the contemporary New York subway, Cal meets professionals schooled in the study of parasitology and the ancient legends of vampirism. Cal learns that he is parasite positive; but, aside from his ferocious appetite, his greatest challenge is celibacy. If Cal is to resolve the mystery that surrounds his infection he must find the source of his parasite. This quest leads to full-fledged but short treatises on the nature of various parasites.  Small pox, STD, head lice, snails, maggots, malaria and more mingle with the slime balls and monsters that both kill and heal.  

Amid the Gothicism and vampirism, Westerfeld includes a bit of satire on the intricacies and workings of government. Forms are needed to complete forms, fake IDs are easily arranged, breaking and entering puts security at high risk, disguise is easy, and forgery is rampant. An inquisitive journalism student, Lace, who lives in Morgan’s old building finds the first scrap of evidence that leads to the story’s climatic ending—an ending which, by invitation, rested and lived with Cal from the beginning.  (Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers, 2007-2008)

SUBJECTS:     Vampires -- Fiction.
                         Parasites -- Fiction.

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