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Title: Parasite Positive
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Atom, an imprint of Little Brown Book Group
Review: Vanessa Finaughty
Published: Cape Times, February 2008

Parasite Positive is a brilliantly dark tale filled with humour, fear and horrid diseases. I loved this book and should the author ever decide to stop writing, I may just have to hunt him down… Think King’s Misery!
In this book, author Scott Westerfeld tells the unsettling tale of a young college freshman, Cal Thompson.
A year prior to the start of this story, Cal was a typical teenager interested in nothing much other than girls and partying. Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately?) for Cal, he meets a girl called Morgan who infects him with a parasite that turns most people into deranged, meat-eating, blood-sucking beings.
Luckily, Cal is not “most people” – instead of succumbing to the parasite, he becomes a carrier and inadvertently passes the parasite on to a number of girlfriends. Cal, now working for an organisation – Night Watch - dedicated to the eradication of the parasite, has to find those women before they in turn can infect others.
When Cal meets the attractive Lace, he has to be extra careful – just one kiss from him will infect her. While Lace unknowingly aids him in his quest to find the “missing girlfriends”, Cal worries that she will discover his true nature. Can he hide it from her indefinitely? And, can he unravel the conspiracy that he comes to believe exists within Night Watch?
Parasite Positive is one of the more entertaining and captivating books I’ve read in a long time.
I found the information on parasites intriguing and relevant to understanding the story, and was impressed with Westerfeld’s unique style of writing – the man seems to have a knack for bringing a grin to my face while telling me about the horrid things that any given parasite could do to me.
If you’re a hypochondriac or prone to paranoia, I suggest you give this book a miss. If you enjoy an entertaining, vaguely humorous and informative read, then Parasite Positive is a “must buy”.