Book Review: Willowgrove
By: Kathleen Peacock
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal
I've been anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this trilogy since reading Thornhill in August of 2013. Seriously, why do we have to wait so long for books? I understand all the things that go into making a book, but it makes me a petulant reader when I have to wait so long for the conclusion to a series I love. My whining aside, I felt like Willowgrove was the perfect ending to Mac's story. There isn't a dull moment in this one; the plot moves at a break neck pace. A stressful work week was the only thing that came between me and reading this one more quickly. I needed to see the resolution.
Willowgrove begins shortly after the conclusion of Thornhill. Mac, Kyle, Jason, and Serena have returned from Colorado and are trying to put their lives in Hemlock back together. That's not easy when Mac keeps having dreams about her dead BFF, Amy, and Serena is suffering from the werewolf version of PTSD. Kyle and Jason are doing their best to support the girls, but life is not all sunshine and roses for them either. There is a darkness that pervades this series and it colors the edges of every chapter in this one. A tremendous sense of loss swirled through my mind and heart while reading this one. I ached for Mac and Kyle as they struggled to find balance in their human and werewolf relationship. I ached for Jason as he continued to blame himself for Amy's death and struggled to keep his feelings for Mac in check. I ached for Serena as she tried to work through all of the horrible things that had happened to her in the camp. I wanted to see all of these characters get their happy ending, but I was terrified that Peacock would not see fit to write the ending I craved.
In spite of the darkness, there were moments of light that shined through the haze. The bravery shown by so many characters was inspiring. It's hard to not want to defend those who are treated differently after reading this one. I think in spite of its paranormal leanings, there is much to be learned about social justice and contemporary issues in this one. The protests and the riots hit a particular chord for me.
I also liked the notion of the price of progress that seemed to dominate the plot. While technology and advancement can do great things they often come with negative consequences. It was apparent in the second installment that medical knowledge in the wrong hands could lead to suffering. I think this is a valid concern for our society as well.
I also loved watching the characters I have grown to know evolve. Mac truly comes into her own in this novel. She has always been strong, but I saw her learn to stand on her own without Kyle and Jason as supports in this one. She forges her own path a few times which made my fangirl heart cheer. She makes the world stand up and take notice. Her relationship with Kyle grows more serious and her friendship with Jason takes on a different tone. I didn't feel the love triangle angst that was present in the previous novels. Everyone seemed more mature and settled relationship wise in this installment. While I am sad to see them go, I can be okay with leaving them in the place that Peacock chose for them.
I do feel the need to make one brief comment - there were moments in this one that ripped my heart to shreds. No battle for social equality is without casualties.
Peacock has done her fans proud with the final installment in the Hemlock series.
One Last Gripe: It bothered me that Mac kept some secrets from Kyle. I felt like he had a right to honesty.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved seeing all the pieces fall into place. Peacock kept me guessing about some aspects, but everything made perfect sense in the end.
First Sentence: She swears she can hear the echo of strangled sobs and slurred shouts -- every sound made under the roof while he was gone -- as she stands in the empty hallway.
Favorite Character: Mac, but I love so many of them!
Least Favorite Character: Donovan
Willowgrove is Kathleen Peacock's riveting conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy, a dark, romantic, paranormal suspense series that pits friendship against survival, and trust against love.
Ever since Mac's best friend, Amy, was murdered, Hemlock has been a dangerous place. But now that Mac, her boyfriend, Kyle, and Amy's ex, Jason, have investigated a mass breakout from Thornhill, a werewolf "rehabilitation" camp, the danger has only grown. Fear of the infection spreading is now at an all-time high, and anyone with a scar is suspected of being a wolf.
What makes Mac even more afraid, though, are the dark experiments that the warden of Thornhill was performing on wolves in a secret asylum called Willowgrove. Uncovering the truth about what happened may be the only way for Mac to save everyone she loves and end her nightmares for good.