The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch
Published: 3rd of May 2011
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?
Once again another book set in the American deep south..possibly my favourite book setting? I was drawn into this book immediately, it took me a few short hours to finish it. I felt Alex was a slightly fake and superficial character-as though the author didn't really connect with the character she created. A hippy, eco-friendly, dreadlock-sporting, weed-smoking teen who grew up in a Californian commune? Bit *too* cliche for my taste; but I managed to get over this, to embrace Alex and her story. Alex moves to her grandmother's house in Savannah, finding out that she is in fact a Magnolia, a member of an ultra-elite hoodoo using (or abusing) group.
Hayes and Madison were my favourite characters. Again some of the others felt kinda cliche. I honestly don't mind cliches within books, what I mind are badly executed cliches. Cliches with no thought put into them. Crouch had all of these in her book. The popular girls, the girls desperate to be popular, the geek, the intellectual and aloof love interest...etc. Despite this however, I did still really really enjoy this book.
The setting of course really made this book for me. I love books set in the south of America, and I loved the references to the Gullah traditions and hoodoo, which I found really refreshing and interesting. I liked the Buzzard family, I felt they were the most realistic characters in the book.
The plot was interesting; I disliked how quickly Alex shed her morals in favour of the perks offered by the Magnolia club, but then again I could empathise with her situation and with the shock she experienced. I liked how you saw certain things coming, not in a predictability sense; more in a "nuuuuuuuu I know what's going to happen and it's gonna be awfullllllllll" sense, which always draws you into a story more. The last part of the book was definitely the best; and the ending was the type I love best (I can't tell you what that is, cause it'll spoil the plot).
Despite my moanings, the Magnolia League was an easy read with a refreshing premise and an intriguing and entertaining plot. I especially enjoyed the way it switched between first person narration and third person narration, which you don't see often. It allowed an insight into Alex's thoughts, whilst at the same time being privy to scenes and information you would'n't've experienced if it were totally first person.
I give the Magnolia League 4/5.