Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: May 3, 2011
Series: The Magnolia League #1
Synopsis: After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah’s long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?
As in her popular adult novels, Crouch’s poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars (Apologies for the earlier post. It was too early!)
In Savannah, Georgia, the women are polite, the young ladies are presented to society, and they all have afternoon tea. What you don’t know is that under the perfect and pristine, lies a little hoodoo. It shouldn’t matter what you do to put your best foot forward, does it, as long as you do it with the southern charm. For Alex Lee, that wasn’t the case.
Alex Lee had her version of the perfect life living with her mother in a California commune. Her mother was the only family that she’s ever known. They both extended their family on the commune, all working together to create a life unique enough for them. Alex’s perfect version of life came to a halt when her mother died. Through a lawyer, she soon found out that she had a grandmother, eager to join her life on the other side of the country.
And what a life it is. Being a Magnolia is not for the weak or faint of heart. There are sacrifices that only a Magnolia has experienced, and soon enough, Alex will as well. There are benefits to becoming a Magnolia. As a Magnolia, you are envied in every way imaginable. As a Magnolia, you can do whatever you want, look like perfection, and enjoy the spoils and riches that life has to offer, but at a price. Could she be a part of this society that her mother was a part of but worked hard to keep Alex out of? Will Alex continue fighting her grandmother to keep her individuality, her unique sense of style and personality? Or will Alex slowly succumb to becoming a perfect Magnolia of the south?
Crouch introduces the YA genre to traditional hoodoo magic derived from the south. What I like about this story is how it touches on the old tales of that region. The south is one of the oldest parts of this country, and I enjoyed how Crouch brought me to a part of the fabulous society similar to a Georgia Peach. It was interesting how she mixed that aspect with the taboo of the same society.
What I enjoyed about Alex is how she represents everything that society today does to a young girl. Through the pressures from Alex’s grandmother and the other Magnolias, Alex not only discovers herself, but her mother and past as well. I could not put this book down. I loved this story! The characters are so enthralling. The back story, the plot…everything is amazing. I haven’t read a story I was this engrossed in a long time. There’s something about how Crouch’s story developed through the pages, being so different, but the style of writing was familiar.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone. You will soon fall in love with Alex and her quirky dreads. And who knows, you might have a little room in your heart for her grandmother as well. I simply cannot wait for the next book, and if you pick this up, I’m sure you will too.