Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Hemlock
Kathleen Peacock
Katherine Tegen Books
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Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered. Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.
Generally, I’m not a huge werewolf fan. I don’t go out of my way to avoid them, but I just haven’t found any that I was really into, that is until I read Hemlock. This is an intense and multifaceted story that kept me guessing.
The characters are likeable and well rounded and I found it easy to identify with Mac and feel for her situation. What would you be like if your best friend was murdered? There are a few other situations that come to light in the book that makes readers empathize with her further (I won’t go into detail here due to spoilers). The romance in the book was good and includes a messy love triangle.  It wasn’t cliched and was handled suitably. The setting and the world building were wonderful and included such vivid detail and great descriptions that the reader drops into the setting effortlessly.
I thought it was really interesting how the author made being a werewolf into a medical condition – Lupine Syndrome (or LS as it’s called in the book). There were great moments of social prejudice that reminded me of the Nazis’ mentality and the atrocities of concentration camps. The fact that LS was a known medical condition made the plot more interesting and expanded the believability of these supernatural creatures and their struggles. The werewolves still exist beneath the shadows, but their seclusion is for their own protection and not because their conditions are hidden. It was an interesting twist on the typical werewolf mythology and I enjoyed the shift the way it was presented.
There’s so much going on in this book – love, friendship, betrayal, secrets, etc. It’s a lot deeper than just a werewolf book. By the ending, I was disappointed not at how the plot unfolded, but by the realization that there was nothing left of Hemlock to read. When I discovered that this is a series my mood lifted and I began to eagerly await the next installment. I highly recommend Hemlock to werewolf fans and fans of YA paranormal in general.

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