Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Hemlock

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Hemlock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Review of

Hemlock

by Kathleen Peacock

Published by: HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen

May 8, 2012

Source: Received an e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss. My FTC disclosure is on the right sidebar.






My summary: Abandoned by her parents, Mackenzie "Mac" Dobson is being raised in the small town of Hemlock by her cousin, Tess. A series of werewolf killings has left Hemlock residents on edge. Werewolves have roamed the United States for over a decade, and any human suspected to have Lupine Syndrome is rounded up and sent to a camp. After Mac's best friend Amy is killed by a white wolf, Mac is heartbroken. She's also worried about Amy's boyfriend Jason, whose anger and grief has led him to join the Trackers, a vigilante group headed by Branson Derby, a man whose family was killed by wolves. Mac is haunted by Amy in her dreams, and is determined to find her friend's killer, even though a werewolf might be lurking within anyone she knows -- and around every corner.

My take:  This book is an interesting fusion of YA pop culture tropes: one part Veronica Mars solving her best friend's murder, one part MTV's Teen Wolf, one part Oz from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, one part YA paranormal romance.

As a mystery, this book works well. I liked getting to know murder victim Amy through her appearance in Mac's dreams. Mac is genuinely distraught over Amy's death, and wants to find the person/wolf responsible. A reader playing very close attention could put all the pieces together and solve the crime -- which is how a mystery should work! I did figure out the killer's identity, but not until close to the end of the book.

Another of my favorite aspects of the story is the small town of Hemlock and the paranoia that develops there following the series of wolf attacks. The book's depiction of small town life --- the pizza place, the local bar, the waterfront -- was vivid and interesting, and I had fun guessing which characters might secretly be werewolves. The details about the LS virus may be a little thin for sci-fi buffs, but the story offered more than enough detail for someone like me who gets the creeps thinking about pandemics.

While I liked the sense of menace the Trackers evoked in the story, at other times they seemed like an obvious plot device. We're told that the Trackers are ruthless -- rounding up anyone who might have been infected with Lupine Syndrome through a werewolf scratch or bite. Poor Mac suffers several narrow escapes from werewolves, but is barely questioned by the Trackers, despite the fact that she is injured in every attack.

Hemlock also features the ever-popular love triangle.  This didn't really ring true to me-- Mac is a tough, no-nonsense girl who didn't seem to be the type to juggle two guys, especially the two guys in question. Even Mac seemed surprised by this unlikely turn of events.

All in all,  I enjoyed reading Hemlock and will be curious to see where Kathleen Peacock chooses to take the sequel.

What's your take on werewolf stories?

39 comments:

  1. I haven't read any except Twilight. And Linger. Hemlock is on my tbr list. Love the cover

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    1. Let me know what you think after you read it!

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  2. Ohhhh I love Veronica Mars and Buffy! Nice mix lol Some mysteries I can never solve and some are so ridiculously obvious. Glad this one took you awhile but at the same time I do love when you look back and see that all the clues added up. I don't like random twists without any forseen buildup. Oh the love triangles! This one sounds especially lame since one of the guys is her dead best friend's boyfriend. She sure shouldn't get with him!!! I will haunt my friend if she dared! I like the idea of the lupine virus out although these trackers do not sound that ruthless. I don't need too many virus details. It's paranormal so you know something causes wolfyness it's all good I just go with it. That is the greatness of paranormal everything goes.

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    1. You write the funniest comments ever.

      Yes, I wasn't too into the fact that one guy in the triangle was her best friend's boyfriend. she just didn't seem like that kind of girl.

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    2. haha I know but seriously I don't allow friends to date my ex's alive but especially not if I died!!! And no I don't want them to move on and be happy. I want them to mourn me like crazy LOL Unlike Aura who didn't mourn Logan properly!!! Okay I am still upset about that series...

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  3. I'm really hoping I love this one! I'm a big fan of werewolf books, so this was a definite buy for me. I read mostly adult "were" books, but I'm definitely interested in a YA one. I loved the Wolves of Mercy Falls series (YA). I know that series gets mixed reviews, but I love Maggie's writing.
    This book should be arriving in my mailbox by tomorrow! :-)

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    1. I hope you love it too!
      I'm not such a huge "were" fan -- I read this one for the mystery and was not disappointed! But curious to hear what someone who reads a lot of werewolf books thinks of that aspect of the story.

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    2. I read fakesteph's comment and I also love the Raised by Wolves series! How could I forget that one?! LOL! Looking forward to the 3rd book in that series too!

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    3. I also have that book pre-ordered and it comes out this month, so I really can't believe I didn't think of the one. Haha!

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    4. I have not read that series, but perhaps I will put it on my Summer Reading list....

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    5. Ok, I'm running totally late to work (LOL), but yes, add it to your list! The first two books were great and I have no excuse for not thinking of those! :-)

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  4. Raised By Wolves are my favorite werewolf books, but I'm super excited to read Hemlock. I think I will also be annoyed by the trackers ignoring her injuries if that is something they are usually pretty hardcore about. But I love your comparison to Veronica Mars. Looooove that show. I'm so sad that they canceled it. <3 Logan.

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    1. Yeah, that was kind of weird for me. The trackers would say: "You're injured." And she'd say "Cut myself on that piece of sharp metal" and then they'd just drop it.

      I kept thinking the Trackers would imprison her on suspicion of being a werewolf and then she'd have to escape!!!

      I just bought all three seasons of V Mars on DVD and am re-watching it this summer....

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    2. I rewatch that show at least once a year. It's so good... it's about time now actually.

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  5. Awesome review chick!! I loved this book. I figured out who it was too, but it did take me a while. I thought that it was a really great debut and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

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    1. Went back and read your review after I finished the book.
      Not surprised that you are great at guessing murderers, since you are so kick-butt at trivia!!

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  6. I forgot the "Add to Goodreads" button.
    Just stuck that on!!!

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  7. I guess when I read the synopsis for this book a few months back I knew it was about werewolves but for some reason I forgot that until I read your review! I like some wold themed books,Like The Shiver series and Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, but they generally aren't my fave paranormal. But I do like mysteries and quirky small town settings! Nice review:) I need to get the low down from you about Edelweiss sometime:)

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    1. Er, that would be "WOLF" theme books..:)

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    2. I knew what you meant!

      If you're not a werewolf fanatic, this book has a lot of other stuff going on. I need to find a review by someone who reads lots of werewolf stuff, because I'm curious to hear that take...

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  8. Yeah, I really didn't like the love triangle part, but I am so glad I wasn't the only one to compare it to Veronica Mars!! I'm pretty sure I confused some people when I did that. It just makes sense, you know?

    Ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

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    1. It totally reminded me of VM. The dead friend who appears in flashbacks really reminded me of Lilly.

      Didn't VM even have a character named Mackenzie but called Mac???

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    2. YES!!! The computer geek who had poor luck with boys. Very very very bad luck.

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    3. Poor girl. Maybe it is bad luck to be named Mac.

      Yeah, Ashlynn and I were tweeting about it because I was so excited to make this connection. This author must be a VM fan!!!

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  9. I always like your reviews :) Not sure if I would add this to my TBR though. Maybe if I'm just lucky, I'll win it :) (lately, my mojo is MIA though)

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    1. What -- your giveaway mojo is missing? It will be back soon I'm sure!!

      I don't have a physical copy but today I saw someone on Twitter was giving it away...

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  10. While I DO enjoy your reviews I have come to realize that i don't really enjoy werewolf books. I was thinking about it last night, that I shy away from any book where the main characters are werewolves or that is the main dilemma. Oddly, I don't mind shape-shifters. Hmmm. A lesser character can get their wolf on. Either way, Thanks for the review!

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    1. I agree --- I just can't relate to werewolves. I was so upset by the Oz storyline in Buffy. He was one of my favorite characters. The Dingos Ate My Baby!

      But I did really enjoy this book!

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  11. I haven't read a lot of werewolf books but this is one I am looking forward to. Not the biggest fan of love triangles though, unless they are written well. Great review! :)

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    1. I think you should try it. There is a reason for the love triangle -- which I can't reveal without a spoiler.

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  12. I'm really unsure about the werewolf aspect as I'm not a big fan of them but I've been cautiously inspired by the reviews. Maybe not my ideal read but could be a good time!

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    1. Give it a try! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have picked this book up except for the fact that HarperTeen was nice enough to let me read the e-galley.
      And I came out a fan!

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  13. I love trying to solve mysteries in stories. I do NOT like love triangles. They often seem so forced.

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    1. I think the mystery in this is good enough that you can overlook the love triangle!!

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  14. Dude - you had me at Veronica Mars. I've been wanting to read this one and after Jessie @ The Daily Bookmark's glowing review and now your awesome one, I really need to read this very soon! Great review, Jen!

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  15. I had to come check out your review of it. :) I'm so glad there are so many Veronica Mars fans out there who caught the similarities. And after reading all the comments here, I remembered more similarities that I had meant to mention in my review, including the Mac/Mackenzie naming thing and the dead best friend popping up in dreams/visions. I really miss VM. I've been watching re-runs on the Soap channel lately. :P

    Great review. Can't wait to read more of 'em! Thanks for the follow! :D

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    1. So glad we found each other. Other VM fans above: Overstuffed Bookcase, FakeSteph, and Gypsy Book Reviews.

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