Review Detail

Hemlock FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 3546
"What's your next trick gonna be: predicting my period?"
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
~Okay, who got ripped to shreds just now?~

So, the UNTHINKABLE happens. This Amy chick gets herself brutally killed in a deserted alley. And, boy, the fear is adrenaline overdose. Peacock sure knows how to orchestrate a solid, fast-gripping chase. Anyway, Amy here is found in pieces—if I remember right—and everybody’s all very devastated. Amy, as we are soon to discover, is one of the town golden girls, granddaughter of this Senator with LOADS of influence and power. She was a granddaughter, a best friend, and a girlfriend before she was found OVERKILL-dead, and the people who cared about her are unsurprisingly anguished but for unexpected reasons. Everyone—Mac, Kyle, Jason, among others whose identities remain delicious secrets—has dirty little secrets about their involvement in Amy’s shocking death. It’s all very much like an episode of Pretty Little Liars. Only WAY BETTER.

Mackenzie, or more fondly known as Mac, is/was Amy’s bestie and is in a really shizzy place mentally and emotionally even after months have passed since that dreadful, dreadful day. Now, Mackenzie is living her life one painful, dull moment at a time while doing her best to look after the only two other people who mattered to either Mac or Amy—Kyle and Jason. Jason has become a walking downward spiral, aka a pathetic drunkard; Kyle has gotten himself into some deep shizz with a psycho ex and has been pulling away more and more. Mac is all WHAT THE EFF IS GOING ON HERE? She’s tearing herself in two trying to save both of them, when neither of them really deserve all that attention and concern and looking after. Mac has the patience of a saint, if you ask me, to hang onto these two guys who bring nothing but strain to her day-to-day.

It’s never really explained why Amy mattered so much to Kyle and Jason, but you get Mac’s despair. Friendless nearly all her life, to have someone so close be torn away… Mac loved Amy because she made a difference in Mac’s life, and I FELT for Mac. It isn’t until the pieces start falling into our laps, however, that we all realize Amy may have been hiding a few of her colors.

~I’m so proud of me and my guessing skillz~

And THAT, quite honestly, is the best part of Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. Figuring that most of the townspeople of Hemlock are not AT ALL who they say they are, who they pretend to be. In fact, many of them are curtaining buckets of secrets and it’s up to Mac to sort through and connect them to the attacks and Amy’s death.

I LIKED being suspicious of everyone I met, wondering about their well-kept secrets and who would have the most damning motive. Although I puzzled out who the villain was fairly quickly—because I’m a G like that—everyone else’s true identity is certainly not as easy to rationalize.

~Mac’s daddy issues and boys in need of slapattacks~

Mac, as I said, is really bent out of shape over Amy’s murder, and can’t resist blaming herself for everything that has gone wrong since then. She blames herself for not being Kyle and Jason’s white knight, saving Jason from himself and Kyle from whatever secrets are causing those shadows under his cute eyeballs. Rather than feeling annoyed, I actually found that this quality makes her endearing rather than irritating. She’s had a rough childhood with really terrible parents, and all she knows is what awfulness her father managed to leave imprinted in her subconscious. She views herself as dispensable, disposable, and it makes her sad, vulnerable, and lonely in ways that make her half-deserving of a hug. Daddy issues or not, however, I do so enjoy the way this girl goes about saving the day—a little impulsive, logical, and a lot brave (or maybe stupid?).

While on some level, I dug Jason and Kyle, the other half of Mac’s dwindling foursome, I had my issues with them. Although it’s voluntary, Mac puts herself through a lot of crap on her remaining bffs’ behalves and neither fully appreciates and values all she does. Their actions, at least, say that. She reads more like a mama bear half the time than a best friend or a love interest for all the babysitting and confronting and intervening she starts up. I didn’t fully grasp the attraction to either of them for that reason. They may both be smokin’, but they’ve got too many issues to count and Mac comes off more like a den mother than anything else. Secrets, lies, betrayals, they’re both culprits, and some of their actions are immature to say the least, in a grating way as opposed to a They’re Evolving and Learning Throughout the Book way, which is actually attractive.

~Ready to end this~

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock is definitely delightfully entertaining and all, but there are certain points that tend to drag, and I would’ve liked to have seen the story condensed a bit more. There’s so much drama and general mayhem, yes, and it’s effective, but I could’ve done without some of it.

I don’t know how Peacock is going to stretch out this series, and I’d hate to see it be dragged on for the sake of the all-important love triangle *eye-roll*, which I have no definitive stance on. Let’s pray that Peacock has more pressing matters mapped out for Mac and the gang, and that the next mystery is as exciting as Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock.

Want something similar to read? Check out Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and Velveteen by Daniel Marks.

Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 6/14/12
Good Points
I totally knew Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock was going to be an INTENSE paranormal murder mystery—and that is definitely the story’s most compelling, most promising element, and what sets it apart from a lot of other paranormal romance novels prowling the YA market. While Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock goes with a love triangle and a kind of urban setting, the emotional heroine and all the CREEPTASTIC crime-solving works in the story’s favor. It’s like Nancy Drew with less besties, two hot guys, a lot of emotions and bad self-esteem, meets your regular Werewolf Situation. Which IS as cool as it sounds! All the DRAMA, figuring who done the THING, was surprisingly pretty fun, yet balanced out by all the dark stuff going on what with the gruesome murders and Mac and her friends' inner turmoil. It would TOTALLY be a CW hit!
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