Summary: Mackenzie (Mac) lives in Hemlock, a town plagued by vicious werewolf attacks, one of which took the life of her best friend Amy. Since Amy’s death, Mac’s close-knit group of friends hasn’t been the same, and Mac discovers all are hiding secrets that have the potential to destroy their friendships. The town’s response to the increase in werewolf attacks is to hire Trackers, a militant anti-werewolf group that finds its roots in white supremacy. Mac is haunted by Amy’s ghost while trying to uncover the truth behind Amy’s death, and conflict between her friends Jason and Kyle thrusts her into the heart of the pro/anti werewolf battle with violent results.
Number of Pages: 405
Age Range: 15-17
Review: I admit a bias against books about the supernatural (werewolves, vampires, zombies and the like) but I was pleasantly surprised by Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock.
Teen girls are going to love this book. Mystery, romance, a love triangle, werewolves – it has everything. And it’s well-written to boot. The character of Mac is smart, self-sufficient, and definitely not a wall-flower. Her voice is honest and witty, and makes the book a pleasure to read.
What I loved the most though was that this is more than a simple fantasy book. It deals with issues of grief, guilt and making choices, all while challenging Peacock’s characters to look past the perceived monster to see the human being underneath the werewolf. I loved the angle of Lupine Syndrome, making being a werewolf into a disease.
I enjoyed the pacing, and the unfolding of the mystery behind Amy’s death into complex elements sets up further books in this series. Looking forward to reading them.
“Did I ever think about what was under Kyle’s indie rock T-shirts and jeans? Well, yeah. He was good-looking and I had a pulse. But thoughts weren’t action. Besides, some things were too important to mess with. ‘Kyle is my best friend. Why would I risk screwing that up?'” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, pages 13-14
“‘He wants you to have faith in him, I think.’
I opened my mouth to say that I did, but the words wouldn’t come out. ‘I just didn’t want him to get hurt.’
‘You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved,’ said Kyle with a shrug.” – conversation between Kyle and Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 60
“The intercom buzzed. ‘Wow,’ I muttered, ‘we’re more popular than a pretty girl at a Star Trek convention.'” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 118
“Old people asked each other where they’d been when JFK was shot; my generation asked each other if they could remember the day werewolves officially came out of the closet.” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 161
“‘Does it ever get any easier?’ I asked, thinking about Amy.
He leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. ‘In some ways. After enough time passes, you realize that maybe a whole day went by where you didn’t think of them. Then you feel guilty because you’re not supposed to forget – even if it is just for a day.'” – conversation between Mac and Ben from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 180
“Derby eyed him and hesitated. He was the kind of man who wouldn’t think twice about slapping a girl, but a muscular, seventeen-year-old boy was a different story.” – from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 283
“It was official: my life belonged on the CW.” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 327
“I was starting to wonder if love was just the universe’s idea of a Kick Me sign. Amy, Jason, Trey, Kyle, Tess, me – all love seemed to do was mess things up and hurt you. Maybe not being able to say those three words wasn’t such a bad thing after all.” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 334
“I knew things couldn’t be that simple, but that didn’t stop me from lying to myself. Sometimes, lies gave you more strength than the truth.” – Mac from Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, page 403