Peeps by Scott Westerfield


Author: Scott Westerfield

ISBN: 9781595120838

Publication Date: 2005

Genre: Fantasy

Reading Level/Interest Age: 15 and up

Plot: Cal Thompson, a nineteen year old, is infected with a very strange parasite that seems to be infecting others throughout the city at a rapid speed. Luckily he’s only a “carrier,” which means that he exhibits symptoms such as constant sexual arousal and heightened senses and he is not subject to the harsh symptoms of the disease. Those that are that parasite positive – peeps – are less fortunate experience dementia and vicious behavior to those that were once loved by the victim. Cal has joined the secret government organization, The Night Watch, to hunt down peeps to prevent them from accidentally infecting others.

Critical Evaluation: Westerfield has concocted a new way of teaching biology. Every other chapter sets the reader aside from the narrative story to learn about different parasites in the animal kingdom and how they strangely work with other organisms. Some of the parasites to keep in mind are the trematodes that live in a continuous cycle between snails’ left eye and the stomachs of birds. By incorporating these short biology lessons, the author is able to inform the reader that even though the parasites in the narrative are not real, there are living organisms that infect others (animal or human) and work in a strange manner. Not only has Westerfield been able to incorporate various different types of species in separate chapters, he has also made biology and the human body an important element in his story. As Cal and the Night Watch are a constant search for peeps, there are little lessons here and there about the immune systems and such. A hint of symbolism is an interesting element to point out as well. The immune system is an organized process that helps protect us from getting sick or keeping us at a normal and healthy state. Towards the end, after Cal and Lace have been informed about the enormous worm-like creatures that are trying to rise from below the earth, they had come to the conclusion that they themselves are the immune system of the human race.

Reader’s Annotation: Cal is a carrier of a parasite that can be spread to other humans and, unfortunately, he has.

Author: Retrieved from Scott Westerfield’s “About the Author” official website –

I’ve also been an occasional ghost writer, which is like driving someone else’s car really, really fast for lots of money. (I could tell you what famous authors I ghost-wrote for, but then I’d have to kill you. My name can be found on three Powerpuff Girl choose your own adventures, however.) In my artsy days, I wrote music for artsy downtown New York dancers, some of which can be found at the bottom of my video page.

For my early adult books, check out the bottom of this page. Note that they aren’t particularly suitable for children.

I’m best known for my four sets of books for young adults. The most recent is the Leviathan trilogy. It’s a steampunk retelling of World War I, illustrated by the incomparable Keith Thompson. It features adventure, walking machines, and living airships! Read more about it here.

My most famous works are those of the Uglies series, set in a future where cosmetic surgery is compulsory when you turn 16, making everyone beautiful. Of course, there are some people who want to keep their own faces . . . and that’s not okay with the government. The series consists of a trilogy—UgliesPretties and Specials—as well as a companion novel, Extras.

I’ve written another YA trilogy called Midnighters, a tale of five teenagers born on the stroke of midnight, for whom time freezes every night, revealing a dark and terrible hidden world. My ancient, dorky website for the series is here.

I also have a set of books which is often called “The New York Trilogy,” three novels all set in contemporary New York, but not a real trilogy. The first is So Yesterday, about a cool hunter who runs afoul of a plot to end consumerism. The second is called Peeps, a “vampire” novel. The third is The Last Days, set in the same world as Peeps.

I was born in Texas, and split my time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. (I have more frequent flyer miles than you do.) You can read many personal details of my life on my blog.

Curriculum Ties:

  • Biology
  • Diseases
  • Epidemic
  • Survival

Booktalking Ideas:

  • How would you react if your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend informed you that you may have an STD?

Challenging Issues:

  • Sexual content

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.

Why This Book? I found this book very interesting and how it was able to both educate and entertain me. It was fun to read all about the different parasites that have strange innate behaviors.


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