Floating among a sea of overtly steamy, "vamped-up" (pun FULLY intended) vampire novels, both for YA and Adult, Peeps is informative, memorable, and above all: unique.
Cal Thompson arrives in New York City fresh-faced, wide-eyed and virginal. He doesn't stay that way for long. After meeting sexy, perfect, gorgeous Morgan (whose last name he can't remember, possibly due to a dozen or so fruity drinks), his virginity is long gone and so is, well, his human life.
Re-born as a "parasite-positive," commonly abbreviated to "peep," Cal's eyes are opened up to a whole new world where he's super-strong, with a cat's eyesight and a dog's nose. Seems pretty cool, right? Well, that's not all.
He also has to take a vow of celibacy which for an abnormally horny teenage boy (another side effect of being a peep) and track down all the girls he has kissed, who he's infected with the peep disease.
Surprisingly, I didn't like this as much as I expected to. While I fully expect to here from others who've read this saying I must be on something, I just didn't like it half as much as I did his other series, Uglies.
One major reason is this: Peeps is told in Cal's first-person point-of-view. Almost half of YA novels are written this way (the rest being third-person) and yet, Westerfeld's voice seemed highly unrealistic as a teenage at some points. It was either "yeah, cool, whatever" or, comparatively, going on about things no teenager could talk about with bursting into laughs. One phrase that stood out was "pigeon's breast," which Cal's inner voice uses without commenting on.
Also, every other chapter gave a mini-biology lesson on different types of parasites. I found this to be pointless. It only muddled up the plot, for the sake of the reader understanding a few references scattered throughout. In addition, these alternate chapters made this novel impossible to read while eating.
Total: Three stars.
I would've given Peeps even less but Westerfeld's an amazing writer and, I will admit, the premise for this novel was quite quirky and unique.