Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

The Magnolia League
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2011

I really enjoyed this book!! It was a fast read, which was a really good thing, because I couldn't put it down.

For starters, the plot and characters were great. Perhaps one reason I liked it so well is that I am a Georgian (a transplant, yes, but I love it here, so it's my home). I relate to the references to Southern culture, and Savannah, plus I just adore the GA coast. (It's where I want to retire someday if I can ever convince someone to pay me to read books.) The author describes the area so well that I could picture myself there. Even someone who has never been there would be able to picture it and get a feel for it's charm. Another reason I loved this books is that the protagonist, Alex, is a total earth-girl-intelligent-hippie, which was exactly who I was in HS and college (and beyond, to some extent). I know that won't appeal to all, but I loved that! What will appeal to all, that I loved was that she was well read and quite witty, but rather naive. It gives her an endearing quality that you can't help but embrace. Despite Alex's naivety, she manages to keep the "mean girls" in check and grow A LOT as a person throughout the book. By the end, not only are you totally pulling for her, but you want to find a way to jump in there and help her out.

This book is full of a particular type of magic, called Hoodoo, which is a type of black magic, much like Voodoo, but without the religious undertones. The magic is woven into the story in a subtle way at first, and although you know it's related to this Magnolia League, and the power the women have, you really don't see the gravity of it's role until well into the book. There were also several little twists that I didn't see coming. I am looking forward to a book #2 because this book seriously leaves you hanging, which is not a bad thing because it was done in precisely the right place.

The last reason I liked this book so well is that it was well written and the story flowed well. Sometimes I will really like a book for it's story, but will find myself annoyed with the writing, which is always frustrating for me. This wasn't the case here. Author, Katie Crouch, clearly knows what she's doing. I'm very happy that she ventured into the world of YA books, and am quite looking forward to reading more by her.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grade Level Recommendation: 8+ There are quite a few references to drugs, teen drinking, and sex. While not graphic, this book would best be suited for ages 13 and older.

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