Westerfeld, S. (2005). Peeps. New York: RazorBill. Print.

Reader’s Annotation

Vampirism is a disease and some of those infected are parasite positive, while others are simply carriers. Cal is a carrier and his job is to hunt down the parasite positive, or peeps, for rehabilitation. In this fast paced biological thriller Cal is hunting down a major infestation of contaminates that threaten the whole human population of New York and the world.

Plot Summary

Imagine a world where vampirism is sort of like an STD. This is world Cal lives in, and he’s been infected. Instead of being a blood hungry fiend though, he just needs a lot of rare meat and can’t swap any bodily fluids with anyone else, ever. Cal tries not to dwell on his sorry state by spending his time hunting the peeps he’s infected with the virus and bringing them into custody so that they won’t spread the virus to other innocent victims.

Things begin to get more intense when Cal discovers a huge nest of infected rats underneath the apartment building that is the last known address of his maker. To complicate matters there’s this girl who he has feelings for and he afraid he may have infected her. Meanwhile he’s getting closer and closer to unravelling the mystery of how the desire travels and also his maker.

Critical Evaluation

Peeps is a fast paced biological thrilled that’s kind of icky, if you want the long and short of it. At the beginning of each chapter Cal explains, in detail, the life cycle of a new parasite. Skip those portions of you’re easily grossed out. That said, the scientific descriptions of the parasites is part of what makes this really good biological thriller. I’m not a science-buff by any stretch of the imagination, and Westerfeld does an excellent job of writing the science-y parts of the novel with enough humor that even folks like mean won’t balk. Westerfeld also does language really well, that is to say that the dialogue in Peeps is really fast paced and witty, so that even if you’re bored to tears by the science talk you won’t mind hanging around for the rest of the story.

Author Information

Scott Westerfeld is the author of eighteen novels. He’s written 13 YA novels and 5 adult novels. He is probably best known for his YA series The Leviathan a steampunk re-boot of WWII and The Uglies which takes place in a world where plastic surgery is required when you hit age 16.

Scott was born in Texas and currently lives in New York City and Sydney. He received a BA from Vassar in philosophy and likes Mexican and Thai food.


Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Vampirism, Biological Thriller Horror, Male Lead

Curriculum Ties

science, biology

Booktalk Ideas

Reading Level/Interest Age 


Challenge Issues

This book has got sex and violence in it and is recommended for older young adults. As always we support each users right to read and their privacy. Selection of appropriate material is between the reader, her parent or gardian, and the book. We support the ALA Library Bill of Rights and discourage censorship.

Reason for inclusion

Male lead.


Westerfeld, S. (2012). About the author. Scott Westerfeld. Retrieved from:

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