Monday, July 4, 2011

The Magnolia League

The Magnolia League is a mysterious YA novel by Katie Crouch.

Alexandria is still reeling as the sudden death of her beautiful and charming mother hits her hard. The two of them were close, and being without her is unimaginable. But then her wealthy, Southern grandmother, whom Alex has never met or heard of in her entire sixteen years of life, whisks her away to her Georgia home - taking Alex away from the organic farm community she has always known and loved.

And apparently her genes make her a member of an exclusive debutante society called the Magnolia League, which consists of multi-generations of attractive, thin, powerful women. Alex doesn't fit in, nor does she want to. Her dreadlocked hair, chubby form, and vintage tees aren't normal to these people - and she soon finds herself battling the cruelty of high school.

But how is it that the Magnolia League has so much? Luck? Or something more? Something darker? As she unwillingly gets sucked into their world, Alex begins to discover secrets about hoodoo and the cost of having it all.

The Magnolia League was entertaining and full of mystery right away. I loved the great setting of Savannah, Georgia and the voice of poor Alex is both hilarious and sad - her sarcasm can be a facade covering her fear and mourning, which adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to what otherwise could have been a fluff book.

But Katie Crouch presents us with a unique main character in Alex. We don't really get all that many overweight protagonists in YA, so when we do it is refreshing. But to also have had her grow up in a California commune with a hippie flair and a love of gardening - and certainly a lack of regular schooling - just make her all the more different and interesting to place in such a completely opposite situation in Georgia.

Alex's continuing mourning of her mother keeps The Magnolia League grounded, but the hoodoo and humor really make it fun and creepy at the same time! The awkwardness and sometimes wavering confidence make Alex super relatable and likable - making her an excellent, unorthodox character to have at the center of this huge web of secrets, lies, and sparklingly alluring mystery.

From beginning to end The Magnolia League is full of clues and ominous tone that suggests darker dealings than you would first guess. And then we get a killer cliffhanger end that left me dangling - wanting more answers and chapters!!! I was left perplexed because I didn't know this was going to be a series or have a sequel - but now all I can say is: there better be!!!!!

With its blend of Southern charm, family history, humor, horror and heart The Magnolia League is definitely worth the read! And it helps you to ask yourself this intriguing, relevant question: In the drive to improve yourself, could you lose yourself?

Oh, and by the way: Happy July 4th!!!

*I received a review copy of The Magnolia League from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

*Want some free books? Click here to enter my contest to win TWO books!!! Plus, there's gonna be TWO winners, so your chances are even better!!! Don't miss out, click here before July 5th!!! :)

***BIBLIOPHILE ALERT! I have been reading like an even crazier book addict than usual this year, and apparently three reviews a week can't keep up pace with me! Because of this, for the entire month of July I will be having FIVE reviews a week! That's right! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! So, please remember to check back here more often during July - and come August I'm planning on returning to three reviews a week. Keep the schedule change in mind, and don't miss any reviews! :)

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