Book Reviews, Reviews by Jennifer D., Top Feature

Books in Film Review: Hemlock Grove (Hemlock Grove #1) by Brian McGreevy

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Books in Film Review: Hemlock Grove (Hemlock Grove #1) by Brian McGreevyHemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
Series: Hemlock Grove #1
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux, Macmillan on 2012-03-27
Genres: Paranormal, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon

Review Score:
About the Book:

An exhilarating reinvention of the Gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.






The Review Banner


Have you ever seen a really good television show that was based off a book, then you read the book and two chapters in all you can think is ‘well that’s ten minutes of my life I can never get back’ (seriously, that’s happened to me more times than not). Well Hemlock Grove is not one of those books.


The book begins when Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy teenager, and his single mother moves into the town of Hemlock Grove. He is immediately labeled an outcast and even begins to be teased for being a ‘werewolf’. None of this seems to bother Peter until a local girl is found mauled to death by an unknown animal and everyone seems to be pointing fingers at him. That is, almost everyone. Roman Godfrey seems to be the only person willing to help prove Peter’s innocence, but Roman has his own demons and can’t seem to help himself let alone Peter.


I first came across the show a few months ago when a friend tricked me into watching the first episode (FYI, it’s really addicting), and I became obsessed.  After I finished the first season, my friend started telling me about the book and how similar the two are. So naturally, I had to see for myself. And she was right. The plot, the characters, the wording is all the same. There are times when you can tell the scene was pulled straight from the book.


However, while I did enjoy this book, I did have a few problems with it. The biggest pain in the butt was the emphasis of Peter’s ethnicity. I understand him being a Gypsy is a big part of the plot, but really I didn’t need to be reminded every five pages. Seriously, he’s a Gypsy, he lived differently than what most of us are used to, that’s all we really needed to know.


The next issue I had was the twins. You meet them early in the story and you hate them from day one. Those two are mean, catty, intolerant, and have no regard for anyone else including the girl they call their ‘best friend’. This is really were the book and the show begin to differ. In the show, while the twins are still mean, it’s in a bratty teenager way. They also have a redeeming quality in that the really do care about their friend. They still try to change her into another carbon copy of themselves, by they do seem to generally care about her well-being.


Now, if you do decided to read this book or watch the show (and I highly recommend both) I feel that it’s only fair to warn you about a few things.


  1. The writing is a bit different from what you might be used to. Sometimes I got a little confused with what exactly the author was trying to portray and would have to go back and reread several times. This doesn’t really hinder the story in anyway (and it could just be a personal issue), but it’s definitely something to look out for.


  1. Racism and racial slurs are sometimes used. I don’t know why this surprised me. When every few pages had some reference to Peter’s ethnicity, I really should have known a racial slur would pop up. Obviously, people in the town are uncomfortable with Peter and his mother, so naturally racism is prevalent. There’s also a great deal of cursing in both the book and television show, so be prepared for that as well.


And finally…


  1. Nudity and some not so mild sexual content. Really that one speaks for itself don’t you think?



Having said all that, I (again) highly recommend this book/t.v. show. The book is available just about anywhere and the show is exclusively on Netflix. Season 2 is also now available as well.




My Rating

rate 4

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