Bookphilia's Reviews > Hemlock

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
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Jun 07, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: howl-i-read-all-these, dreams-are-a-funny-thing, little-towns
Recommended to Bookphilia by: Christelle
Recommended for: 12+, fans of Rachel Caine, Charlaine Harris, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Veronica Mars
Read in June, 2012 , read count: 1.5

I think I should be honest that I am partial to werewolf stories, especially if "real" politics are involved. Also, the spoilers are bound to be endless.

Keywords: Werewolves, shapeshifting, murder, best friends, love triangles, dead parents, teen, depressing, ghosts, dreams, typical young adult.

Sentence: I sentence Kathleen Peacock to a prophetic, teenage dream every morning, where everyone she knows turns into a werewolf and is in love with her.



Review: Basically I liked this enough to stay up all night reading it, but it was more of a resigned "let's get this over with" read. There was nothing really wrong with this book. Like I said in my recommendations, this book will appeal to people that are big on teenage drama, junk supernatural, with that twist of not-really-clever mystery. And, to be honest, I fall under all those categories (when I'm really bored). For that, I gave Hemlock three solid stars.

Besides, Peacock is one of the better YA authors I have read in awhile. Her articulation is spot on and she doesn't get attached to words she does not know how to correctly use.

That being said, the inconsistencies are way too noticeable. Here's a small example:

"Tess slid out of the boot and dropped a couple of bills on the table, even though she'd barely touched her food." (p.14)

And then, on the same frakking page:

"I glanced down at the empty salad bowl and scooped up the crumpled bills." (p.14)

Light editing is all it takes, my friend. I started to over-think the missing salad situation, wondering if it would make a come back later in the book and be explained. Like maybe Ben was secretly eating people's leftovers because he's really poor or something. I convinced myself it was too simple of an inconsistency to be made on the same goddamn page. It had to be a salad-stealing werewolf, right? Or the ghost of Amy--maybe Amy really was a ghost and little clues like this would be left behind. (view spoiler)

But do not be fooled as easily as I was, by my over-active imagination. A mistake is just a mistake sometimes.

There was one particular inconsistency that made me literally rip a bit of my hair out. I would like to think it was actually Mac's stubbornness and disability in recognizing her deteriorating emotional state.

"I hated crying in front of other people." (p.5) She says this, but that doesn't mean she does not cry at all (which I noted down). But it's like the people she knows don't see when she's in distress, even if she walks away, shaking and trying not to cry (p.57).

"It's like you don't care she's dead..." (p.78) How dumb is this Jason kid?

"Tears blurred my vision..." (p.79)

"Tears and snot ran down my face." (p.93) Attractive, but awesome since she's legit in danger.

"Tears streamed down my face." (p.97)

"My vision blurred and I closed my eyes. I would not cry in front of him." (p.121)

"My eyes filled with tears...it wasn't fair to cry...sight of crying girl was scarier than anything that had happened" (p.138-9).

"I cried like my heart was breaking." (p.151)

"A tear slid down my cheek..." (p.172)

"My vision blurred." (p.182)

"Tears filled my eyes and spilled over...For once I wanted someone to see me cry." (p.223)

"I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my jacket." (p.253)

"You're still crying," (p.267)

"I realized I was crying." (p.290)

"Tears filled my eyes..." (p.300)

"My eyes with tears so hot they burned." (p.302)

"I closed my eyes and tears leaked out from under my lids." (p.303)

"And then I was crying--so hard and so fast that it hurt." (p.305)

"My eyes filled with tears." (p.323-4)

"I swallowed and blinked away tears." (p.363)

"I bit my lip and blinked away tears." (p.393)

"I didn't want to explain to ess why I was crying." (p.396)

"The tears coursing down my cheeks..." (p.396)

I think it's fair to say that Mac cries a lot. Not sure about pre-Amy's death, but post-Amy's death all she can talk about is crying and trying not to cry, which makes you really notice when she's crying.

(view spoiler)

You know what I love about this author? She doesn't pretend she has never read a book in her life. She acknowledges that ideas and images come from somewhere, especially popular literature. She mentions Harry Potter, references Judy Blume and doesn't shy away from using an Outsiders-like geographical standard of living and separation (different sides of the river instead, p.17).

Hemlock is a combination of all the things you could love and hate about young adult stuff. It starts off with that typical, life-endangering dream. Hemlock, turns into what appears to be a combination of Bon Temps (Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris) and Morganville (Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine); little town dealing with worldwide, supernatural problems. Much of the politics and bills being passed reminded me more of the show True Blood. The Trackers, on the other hand, felt like an exact replica of the Hunters from Teen Wolf or I suppose from one of those L. J. Smith series', except they all seem to be bad guys or in over their heads. There appear to be no Buffy-like slayers/hunters. Where's a bad-ass girl when you need one?

Anyway, so our weak little Mac has her dead best friend trying to help her solve mysteries (this is, of course, Mac's subconscious trying to "help" her), which is reminiscent of early Veronica Mars and Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) prancing around keeping dangerous secrets that need to be pried from her cold, dead fingers.



It had just about as much romantic (and otherwise) drama as Veronica Mars. One second it's all about the platonic-ness of everyone and then suddenly (view spoiler)

And then I was like:



Basically this book could only illicit one emotion from me: mild amusement. It was like trying to watch this ginger kid eat ice cream.



Fascinating.

But actually, the mild amusement led to mild enjoyment. So yeah, read it or something, while I watch this kid eat ice cream like a boss.

Also, my favourite: "Without thinking, I hurled my book at his chest." (p. 164) That's exactly what every good teen book needs. A little bit of hurling of objects and books so that you can possibly deal with the stupidity.
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