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Reading Peeps? Just Make Sure You Keep a Toilet Nearby
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Reader reviewed by Meidra

Peeps. The book that says the human race is Utterly Doomed. AGAIN.

Our hero, Cal Thompson, a Texan (gag me with a spoon; this whiny little brat is NOT from Texas) has gone to New York City and since joined the Night Watch.

The Night Watch is exactly what it sounds like; an organization that watches at night. Except, what they watch for (and subsequently capture...err, arrest) are...shall we call them animals? but that just doesnt seem right...not exactly human.

Lets backtrack a bit. Cal is a carrier of specific disease; an STD, actually. (Gosh, I was just learning about these in Health class.) However, instead of causing painful growths and/or ulcers, this STD causes insanity, cannibalism, hatred of sunlight, and a very creepy affinity for rats. It also seems to screw around with a persons DNA; talk about unprotected sex.

Anyway, the book starts out with a lot of promise; Cal, The Tormented Hero, has to catch up with his old girlfriend, Sarah. Apparently he has infected her (accidentally, honest) with the above STD. It seems that every girl hes ever kissed has been infected and locked up, which means he has to deny himself constantly. Brrr. A trip into the adolescent male psyche that I couldve done without.

Apparently, the peeps (the nickname for those infected with this STD) hate everything that they formerly loved. Sarah for instance, was the Biggest Elvis Presley Fan in the World. Since this disease does funky things with a persons mind, this means that she now hates his guts. Therefore, Cal is carrying a backpack full of Elvis paraphernalia that used to belong to her. Through multiple trials and tribulations, he finally subdues her with an Elvis action figure. Right at the end of the chapter, she asks to see the King one more time -- a very unusual request, and an excellent hook.

Unfortunately, aside from a few paragraphs near the end of the story, this is the best part of the volume. The entire thing goes downhill from there.

It turns out that Cal is also looking for another woman (geez, how many does this guy have?) named Morgan. It seems that she is not only took his virginity, but is also the one who infected him through a one night stand.

And this kids, is why you wait till youre married. That way, this entire problem is avoided.

In the process of searching for Morgan, Cal meets an intrepid (yeah, right) young woman majoring in journalism. She introduces herself as Lace.



*coughcough* ANYWAY, Cal finds that he is Very Attracted to Lace. Oh, he wants her. He wants her, Bad. Instead of sublimating this energy into something constructive however, he chooses instead to moon over her while she is present. Being a prep -- the really awful kind, with a head that only notices specific kinds of details such as addresses, and otherwise doesnt have a brain -- Lace is utterly oblivious.

For pages upon pages upon pages, Cal waxes poetic about how it sucks to be denied sex, and kissing, and similar life needs.

Look, Im not saying humans dont need sex. Its not essential like air and water, but as a biological imperative its right up there with oxygen. I just dont think that its worth devoting six pages to. But then again, Cal is The Tormented Hero, who Must Carry On In Spite of It All -- so by God, hes going to make everyone else suffer with him.

Going back to Cal an Lace, thing come to head after the two rummage through an apartment that used to belong to Morgan. After Cal does some pseudo-CSI junk (which I frankly found pathetic; I mean, SPRAY? Come on, people, were better than this) he reveals to Lace in a fit of frustration that he cant even kiss someone lest he infect the person.

Lace responds with, Cal, dude, you, dude, should, dude, have, dude, told, dude, me, dude! and flounces off with her nose in the air.

Im exaggerating only VERY slightly with the above sentence. I am not joking, she really speaks that way. Heavy overuse of the word dude. She also assumes a lot, thinking that someone infected with an STD would tell her right off the bat.

Oh, I bet shes made TONS of friends this way. NOT.

Now, I dont know anyone infected with AIDS, or any other diseases. My heart goes out to anyone infected with an STD, and Id help them in any way I possibly could. BUT I DONT THINK THAT THEYRE GOING TO SAY THAT THEYRE INFECTED FIVE MINUTES INTO A CONVERSATION. And yet, Lace, who is supposed to be hip and savvy, expected Cal to do this, and does not realize that he might actually be embarrassed to talk about it.

The only other good part about this book (besides the blank page at the back silently proclaiming that There is No More) is the part where after facing down a huge maggot, Cal and Lace are electrocuted. Besides experiencing disappointment that the electrical blast didnt kill them, I couldnt help but like parts of the paragraph(s) that describes them stumbling their way out of the subway.

Yes, a huge maggot. I bet you didnt know THOSE existed. Apparently theyre the Largest Threat to Mankind Ever -- even more big-and-bad than the Nazis -- and PEEPS are the ones that shall defend us from them!

You know whats interesting? Those glorified maggots never showed themselves until carriers like Cal and Lace (because Lace ends up contracting the peeps virus as well) started poking around. This implies that they would leave mankind alone if the peeps didnt exist.

Personally, Im wondering where the military is in all this. Has it never crossed the minds of these people that a couple pounds of C4 would solve this entire problem, provided that the glorified maggots turn out to be hostile to humanity and not just the peeps? And wouldnt the hard working, top-of-the-line scientists in the medical industry be able to create a vaccine for this virus, and ensure that the two strains of peeps have a very small, if any chance, of infecting anyone else? Because as far as I can tell, being a peep -- either carrier, or cannibal -- is not at all fun.

Another thing; between the action/plot chapters are little short chapters by Cal about parasites: their life cycles, behaviors, and why humanity should head en masse for Mars.

Cal it seems, has a little audience in his head that he likes to torture -- err, educate, at inopportune times.

For example:

Cal is hanging off the edge of the edge of a building by his mere fingertips! His grip begins to weaken and then --

Cal: Heres the life cycle of maggots! *beatific smile*

End skit.

You know, these little chapters almost made me vomit several times. I ended up finishing this book sitting next to the toilet lest the contents of my dinner be forcibly ejected from my stomach. Thinking that being a girl might have had something to do with it (I know, I know) I took it to school with me, and read parts of the book aloud to some of my man friends.

They all requested that I stop three paragraphs in.

The idea of a virus being the cause of the vampire myth is actually pretty cool. However, the plot is bogged down with foolish characters, badly planned conspiracies, insults that were pathetic in second grade, (Texas butthead?) unwanted descriptions of parasites that completely interrupt the flow of the story, a whiny excuse for a hero that endlessly snivels about his problems and does very little to fix them, as well as the most idiotic, preppy heroine in the history of mankind.

This book can be summed down to four (well, five, really) words:

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