(Released: November 8, 2011)
From the Cover:
On a quiet summer day, 13-year-old Kady Gonzalez sees an armored silver fish leap high in Peachwood Lake. She thinks it's an awesome sight—until, a few minutes later, Kady watches in horror as the same jumping fish savagely attacks a neighbor in his rowboat. That's the start of the malevolent fish's war on the pristine Connecticut lake.
As the casualties mount, Kady, an aspiring writer, is befriended by Monique, a sassy young newspaper reporter. In addition to covering the fish story, Monique counsels the motherless girl on the frightening problems of growing up, especially how to deal with the hurtful taunts of Hannah, a popular classmate.
While the mysterious fish continues to attack anyone venturing into the water, town officials desperately attempt to destroy the demonic creature. Will they succeed without having to sacrifice Peachwood Lake—and will "Fraidy Kady" succeed in conquering her own personal demons?
Kady Gonzalez never wanted to be the girl who saw the fish, all she wanted was a quiet summer, to make some money to help her dad, and to write. Because, most of all, Kady loved to write, but she didn't think she was any good. What she gets is so much more. Things happen for a reason in life either by fate or by design, and it doesn't really matter which. What matters is what you do with friendship, with real life stories, and most of all, love. And to tell the story that needs to be told.
Peachwood Lake by Susan Berliner is a young girl's story wrapped up in a horror story. There's a vicious fish living and hunting in the peaceful waters of Peachwood Lake, the likes of which no one has seen before... ever. Is it some government experiment gone horribly wrong? Or is it some mythological beast, free to hunt within Peachwood Lake? But, along with the horror story that grows in the pages, is also a coming of age story. Kady's family used to be on the right track. That's was before the loss of her mother and her father's deep depression and drinking. Life will never be the same. Or so Kady thinks. Even with the horror of the fish, Kady finds friendship and love both in her father and Monique, an unlikely mentor in the young girl's life. Maybe I should say a likely mentor for young Kady, because Monique has been where Kady is coming from, and she offers Kady a lifeline. Monique is a writer too, but as it turns out, for a tabloid newspaper, the kind in the racks at grocery story checkouts, alien abductions and sightings and she wants to break into the respectable newspapers. She gives Kady back what has missing most in her life, a guiding hand, someone who understands her, someone who accepts her exactly like she is, no mother, a father trying to save his family, a girl without friends. Hannah torments Kady everyday, but she bullies for a reason, and until Kady stands up to her, she'll never understand her.
Peachwood Lake is another winner for new author Susan Berliner. It's a quick read, one sitting, and offers a horrific story in the midst of a young girl's need to find her way. At first, no one believes the stories. Yes, the lake has become accident prone, but a metal armored fish? Not likely. That is until more people start seeing the wicked fish, and more people start dying. Once again, I'm reminded of Stephen King, the master of horror combined with a greater story. And, in Peachwood Lake, Kady's is the greater story. If you liked Stephen King's short story, Cycle of the Werewolf (aka Silver Bullet), you'll like Peachwood Lake, though death doesn't come by the light of the full moon, no light is needed at all. Where else are you going to find a fish horror story that brings a young girl's life into focus? If you'd like a quick little read, a mixture of good YA, horror, and I have to say, fun combined (because Monique's wit and humor, her ability to see beyond the horror story, brings this story to life)... this is the story for you. I have no trouble recommending this book for the pre-teen/YA horror lover. Five out of five fairy kisses for this reader.
I received my copy from the author, Susan Berliner, for review. It's her second book, and a worthy read. All opinions expressed are my own.