It's day 1 of my Canadian YA Lit blog event. Aren't you excited? Over the next two weeks I'll be posting a bunch of reviews, interviews, and guest posts featuring Canadian YA authors and their books. There might even be a giveaway or two (if you're lucky). ;) I hope you enjoy, and I hope you come back every day when something new is posted. :)
Today's and tomorrow's posts are doing a little double duty, because they're also part of a blog tour that HarperCollins Canada has set up for Kathleen Peacock and Hemlock, her debut novel. So, today you get my review, and tomorrow will feature a guest post from Kathleen herself. Hope you enjoy! :)
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HC imprint)
Mac and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was murdered. Since then, Mac's life has done a 180 degree flip. Amy is haunting her dreams and an extremist group has come to town to hunt Amy's killer: a white werewolf. Lupine syndrome, known as the werewolf virus, is on the rise. Many try to hide their symptoms, but sometimes it's hard to control the bloodlust. To put an end to her nightmares, Mac investigates Amy's murder only to find secrets in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boyfriend Jason, Mac's friend Kyle, and Amy herself. Mac soon ends up in the deep end, thrown into a mass of betrayal and violence that puts her life at risk.
Hemlock is dangerous and deadly, mysterious, oddly haunting, and oddly romantic. It flowed smoothly, sweeping me into Mac's world, her story and her worries and emotions.
Mac is so full of teen angst and outrageous stubborn concern over what happened to Amy and who or what killed her. The lack of definitive answers sucks for Mac. And then there's some stupid boy confusion over Jason and Kyle, both of them battered boys that you can't help but fall for, that Mac can't help but want to put back together, Jason because of Amy's death and Kyle because he's been acting strange. But she wants to put them back together for the sake of their friendship, because she wants something in her life to be normal after Amy's death. If something happens to shift from friendship to romance... that's another story. it would complicate things so much more for Mac.
What intrigued me the most about this book was Kathleen Peacock's twist on werewolves. Calling it lupine syndrome almost makes it sound legitimate, like an actual disease or condition. Then came the prejudice over having the disease, the talks of camps. It makes the werewolves feel degraded, less than human, and gave more power to the story. It's quite well known that people fear the unknown, what they don't understand, what isn't normal, and in this world, where humans fear werewolves and want to hunt them down, the fear and hatred felt very real.
When can you tell someone the truth about yourself, about the choices you made? When is it okay to lie to them in the name of protecting them, in the name of hiding it in the shadows where no one can find it unless they poke around? Keeping secrets can be dangerous, it could even kill you.
Love. Can you help who you love when you know their secrets? Can you hide it when it keeps someone safe? When is it okay to lie in the name of love when the odds are good that it will backfire?
Hemlock was so much what I wanted when I started reading. I wanted werewolves, I wanted danger and death and fighting, I wanted brutal fights and spilled blood, and yes, I wanted some teenage angst because what's a YA book without it. I wanted that splash of romance that blended with the werewolf aspect but didn't bring it down. To me, this book is more supernatural and mystery and thriller with some romance weaved into it. There is no depth to the amount of want I have for the next book in this series.