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Reviewed by Elizabeth Talbott

Werewolves are part of the new reality and are humans infected by a disease known as lupine syndrome. The second a person is infected, they lose all rights and privileges as people and are sent to camps to keep them away from humans. Many werewolves hide undetected among humans, but transformations are sometimes unavoidable due to emotions and bloodlust.

A murderous white werewolf is on the loose in Hemlock. It killed Mackenzie’s best friend Amy and a few other girls along the way. The Trackers, an extremist anti-werewolf organization, come to Hemlock in an effort to catch the werewolf, but they also cause a lot of trouble for the citizens. They view themselves as above the law and pretty much do whatever they want without consequences. Mac decides to investigate the murder herself since the Trackers are absorbed with harassing people and the police does nothing. She gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers secret after secret about Amy’s boyfriend Jason, her best friend Kyle, and Amy herself.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading Hemlock. I’m usually not a fan of werewolf books because good characters are inevitably changed into insufferable jerks. This actually wasn’t the case with Hemlock and the world created by Kathleen Peacock is different than the usual fare. The public is aware that werewolves exist and they immediately lose all rights as people when their existence becomes known. The driving force behind the werewolf camps seems to be primarily fear. Fear and the need for protection also allow the Trackers to take over and do whatever they want. The Trackers’ actions become more and more violent and reprehensible as the book goes on.

The characters were also more than I expected. The back of the book described a typical YA love triangle, but it was far from a girl mooning over two guys and waiting three books to choose one. I really liked Mac and sympathized with her. Unlike many YA heroines, she was strong, fiercely loyal, and full of heart. The two young men in her love triangle were both admirable and annoying in their own opposite ways. So many surprising revelations came out about these characters and all the twists and turns made the book that much more exciting.

Hemlock was surprisingly a very good read and I can’t wait for the next installment!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Katherine Tegen Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.