If you like all things vampire, or even if you don't, you should read Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. It is a scary, smart, wickedly funny and totally original re-imagining of what makes a vampire a vampire, and, more importantly, why. In Westerfeld's world, a certain parasite exists which invades a victim's body, infests her brain, and creates in her a voracious appetite for meat and blood. It also gives her superhuman strength, sight, and smell. Over the centuries, according to Westerfeld, people infected with the parasite have been called different things: witches, zombies and, of course vampires. All of the odd-numbered chapters tell the story of Cal, a carrier of the vampire parasite. As a carrier, he has superhuman senses and strength, but he does not become a crazed bloodsucker or cannibal like those with the full-blown parasite. He is employed by the top-secret, centuries-old Night Watch, an organization in New York City which hunts down new vampires and keeps tabs on the rat populations (which also carry the parasite). In the course of his work, Cal meets Lace, a cute, straight-talking journalism student who becomes more and more curious about Cal's occupation. The only problem Cal faces getting to know Lace is that he can't EVER be physically intimate with anyone, not even to kiss, because the parasite is transferred by saliva and other bodily fluids. What's a guy to do? Eventually Cal and Lace strike a deal and begin to dig deeper into the increasingly alarming new strain of vampirism that is affecting the city. What they find will shock them to the core. The even-numbered chapters describe various real-life parasites, how they work, how they infect their hosts, and include a multitude of gory details you'll wish you never knew!
I loved this book. I want everyone to read it and then talk to me about it. Westerfeld has a wry, irrererent sense of humor and wickedly twisted imagination. Hands down 4 out of 4 Bananas!