You thought Peeps were just marshmallow chicks, right? Well, clearly you haven’t read Scott Westerfield’s YA novel, Peeps, in which the titular designation refers to those people who are “parasite positive.” In Westerfield’s world, peeps are human beings infected with voracious parasites that compel their hosts to transmit said parasite through blood contact. With hopped-up, superhuman senses, long lifespan, bloodthirsty instincts, perpetual horniness and aversions to sunlight, peeps are most commonly referred to as — you guessed it — vampires.
Westerfield writes crisply, endowing Cal with a likable dry humor that makes everything he says go down easily, even when Cal’s lecturing us about actual parasites and how they fuck up your innards. Besides a charming protagonist who wins instant sympathy, Westerfield also gives him a perfect match in the incredibly snoopy, but also cool and collected, Lace. Cal’s the brawn, and she’s the brains, but they work together well as investigators, complementing each other.
Driven by a well thought-out and scientific conception of vampirism as parasitism, Peeps moves nimbly along, solidly structured and neatly dovetailed. Craftsmanship is excellent, conclusion satisfying. See — all you idiot writers of knock-off apocalyptic wacko vampire fiction — it IS possible to write an convincing story about vampires and the end of the world as we know it [but I feel fine!]. You just have to ground it in the realistic details.