Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Magnolia League #1

The Magnolia League

Rate this book
When her free-spirited mother dies in a tragic accident, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is forced to leave her West Coast home and move in with a wealthy grandmother she's never known in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League-Savannah's long-standing debutante society. But white gloves and silk gowns are a far cry from the vintage t-shirts and torn jeans shorts she's used to.

Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League's intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in their seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty and power... but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she discovers secrets - some deadly - hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.

New York Times bestselling author Katie Crouch's poignant and humorous voice shines in this enchanting and mysterious story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.

348 pages, Hardcover

First published May 3, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Katie Crouch

11 books406 followers
Katie Crouch is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, and Abroad. Embassy Wife was optioned and is currently in development with 20th Television for series. She has also written essays for The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and Tin House. A former resident of Namibia and San Francisco, Crouch now lives in Vermont with her family and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College.

Follow her on Instagram at @katiecrouchwrites.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
495 (18%)
4 stars
786 (28%)
3 stars
852 (31%)
2 stars
399 (14%)
1 star
184 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 458 reviews
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,076 followers
May 9, 2011
[image error]

No. Just no. If CoFA hadn't come along strutting its stuff, The Magnolia League might quite possibly have ended up on my Absolute Worst Book of 2011 list. Trust me on this one, Sane = Staying the Hell away from this book.

In all fairness, the book got off to a fairly good start. Perhaps even *gasp!* unique. Alexandria Lee, who prefers to be called Alex, has just come to live with her grandmother Dorothy, after her mother dies in a car accident. Dorothy is the head of a bunch of what Alex considers prissy socialite women who are all eerily powerful and rich and youthfully beautiful. (But of course that doesn't engender any suspicion or curiosity in our Hemingway-literate heroine!). Alex's grandmother is the most respected woman in Savannah, and she expects Alex to succeed her as the head of the Magnolia League.

Alex has spent her entire life in a commune with her mother. She's chubby, has dreads, loves vintage t-shirts and hates sweet tea. She has no desire to fall in with her grandmother's plans for her and dreams only of going back to be with her boyfriend on the commune. However, she soon discovers that everything is not as it seems in The Magnolia League, and ends up in a dangerous situation with heart-breaking choices all around her.

Apparently there's a rule I didn't know about, that says that only fat girls are allowed to be smart, sassy and wickedly witty. Once you start losing weight, of course, you also shed a few million brain cells and end up turning into a complete bimbo. Which is what, tragically, happens to Alex.

Fat Alex is fun and snarky; she uses her brain in every situation, and isn't afraid to be herself, and stand up for her friends. She's unwilling to take shit from even the hottest boy she knows, and she even holds her own against bitchy debutantes. I sort-of liked fat Alex, despite her unfortunate penchant for crying in public at the smallest provocations. (Public criers are a big no-no for me!)

But after Alex runs away to California and discovers some unpleasant truths, returning once more to Savannah, she is ambushed by her Magnolia friends, Hayes and Madison. She undergoes a disturbing experience and wakes up in the morning and goes to the public library to research hoodoo. She discovers the difference between hoodoo and voodoo and how the spells are cast and everything.

She then returns home, and her grandmother tells her the truth about being a hoodoo practitioner, and she laughs and starts saying stuff about voodoo and basically asking all the questions that had already been answered when she read the library book. WTF?!

SO anyway, hoodoo practitioning gives Alex a complete makeover and turns her into size zero gorgeous (because God-forbid we have a heroine who's pretty but chubby — or worse, one who has to work to improve her appearance, instead of quick-fixing it with magic) and of course, the hot-but-snobby guy decides to kiss her. He claims that he liked her before she became supermodel hot, but please - isn't the timing a little too convenient?

Anyway, the book just goes down the drain from there, progressively becoming more inane. The ending just sort of rushes in, makes next-to-no impact, and rushes out again. Of course there is a pretty debutante dress, a fight with the boyfriend (because Alex randomly decides to be jealous of his ex-girlfriend, who is also her friend, and try to hoodoo him into loving her after he EXPRESSLY told her they would be over forever and ever if she tried it), a patch-up and a plan to run away with this spineless manipulatable hunk of muscle, the Big Reveal, Alex's decision to Betray Her Love and Sacrifice Herself On The Altar of Parental Devotion and a lame set-up for the next novel. Which I will not be reading.

Seriously, I might have given this book 2 stars despite the Easy-Slim advertisement, but the ending pissed me off so much, I would give it negative stars if I could! The whole Big Sacrifice thing was so sloppily plotted and such a last-ditch effort to induce some suspense into this comedy of manners, and throw Big Obstacles In The Path Of True Luvv, that my intelligence felt insulted (and went to another corner of the room and sulked while I finished the book up).

I felt no connection to superhot Alex,none at all to hot-but-uninteresting Thaddeus, (have these women never heard of character development?!) no interest in the Super Bad Evil Villain(s?) and a positive hatred towards the story's ending. In fact, the only bright spots in this entire book were Hayes, Madison and Dexter, and we didn't get to see nearly enough of them.

Oh, and be warned: This book jumps uncomfortably between first person and third person narratives, both in simple present, which makes for a very choppy reading experience.

All in all, the heroine is TSTL, the messages this book imparts are all wrong, and the cliffie-ish ending is exasperating. My recommendation? Go watch some 16 & Pregnant instead!
Profile Image for Lexie.
183 reviews19 followers
March 3, 2013
Edit: Had I known about this author's condescending Slated article, I would have passed over this and any future work. Her attitude towards YA books can be boiled down to 'throw it together, let marketing build the hype and then smugly simper at fan girls', that for some reason YA readers do not require books that are well written simply because they are YA. According to Ms Crouch, we are less worthy of good writing.

As a hopeful YA writer and a YA reader, my thoughts on this are pretty much unpublishable.

Of course, in a moment of perfect karma, this is exactly why TML suffers.

The Magnolia League. It's popped into my line of sight a couple of times in the last few months and every time I've put off reading it. Honestly? YA is suffering from a really irritating trend at the moment - the Put A Bird On It trend. Except it's Put Magic In It. According to the YA world, everything is better with the supernatural, hooray!

Except, it's not. I thought this book sounded intriguing - Southern debutantes are about as far away from me as you can get - until I hit the supernatural bit. But when this book and it's sequel crossed the threshold of the local second hand book store, I figured I'd give them a shot.

The technical problems are fairly standard in YA - there is way too much telling rather than showing. TML suffers from a near-fatal case of info-dumping. The book could have been far more engaging if Crouch had decided to start ...

Overall, this is froth. It's like Mean Girls meets Charmed without any of the funny or atmosphere. The characters seem to go through the motions and it felt like a chore to read. I think Ms Crouch had something potentially interesting here, if she had taken her time and constructed this book with the care and consideration that all literature deserves, despite the age of the reader. It would have been a much longer but more enjoyable book, and that would have rolled over to the sequel. Instead, we get something that can join the ranks of The Selection - flat, bland and monotonous.

Profile Image for Katie.
Author 11 books406 followers
May 3, 2012
um, i wrote this, so obviously i like it!
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
29 reviews4 followers
June 8, 2011
Also see the review on my blog.

For me, reading The Magnolia League was like pounding my head repeatedly on a wall with the intentions of getting smarter. It just wasn't working.

Alex Lee is a sixteen year old pot-head who lived on a pot-farm with her pot-head mother and her pot-head friends. When her mother dies suddenly from a car crash, she is shipped off to her grandmother's, but not before she oh-so randomly finds and grabs her mother's stone necklace, which was oh-so randomly tossed in the pot-farm. Her grandmother is a rich, powerful, beautiful debutante woman who offers Alex anything she wants. "Anything" includes (but is not limited to) a very expensive car that her grandmother is just too willing to provide. Any other girl would be thrilled to be taken care of so lavishly, but not Alex. She wants to go back home, but since that would end the story too quickly, she settles for an eco-friendly bicycle.

There were so many things that drove me crazy reading this, and I'm sure I will only touch on a small fraction of them. The first thing I have to comment on is Alex's never-ending hypocrisy. Alex always claims to be completely concerned about the problems with the world. She doesn't want to use a car and she doesn't want to spend money. Okay, sure. But how is smoking pot helping anything? She wants to think that she's making such a difference in the world, but in reality she's spending her time as a vegetable. She wasn't doing anything in California, but she has such a problem when people live their lives anywhere else. You're not improving the world if you're spending your time getting high as opposed to blowing all your money at the mall.

I found the plot painfully obvious. The author hinted on about some sort of magic early on in the book, so there was no surprise there. Everyone kept staring down the necklace, so I knew there was something life changing about it that probably contributed to her mother's death. Her mother left the Magnolia League for a reason, so I knew that there was something about it that was evil and confining, especially after Hayes' reluctance to do anything with her life outside of Savannah. There was nothing revealed that really shocked me. It was more a matter of waiting for it to be "officially" revealed.

There was no plot until the very end of the book. I read this on my Kindle, so it didn't show page numbers, but rather percentages. I finally noticed the plot at 81%. Before that, Alex was wandering around trying to find something to do. When the plot finally did begin, the book ended. What sense does that make? Alex finally found a goal to achieve – after she royally screws everything up, I might add – but that's all you get to know. If you want the real story you have to wait for the sequel. It was completely maddening.

If I'm being honest – even brutally so – I will probably not read the sequel. This book was so disappointing; I don't want to even try to get into the next one. Between the plot (or lack of) issues, constant typos, and confusing first-person/third-person switches, this made for a frustrating read that I would not recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Cara.
280 reviews699 followers
August 28, 2016
Why did I finish this book? I keep asking myself this. In the beginning I seriously thought of chucking it, but my interest got peaked in the middle but gosh it just didn't cut it. This book should have been a sure hit. I mean the premise is just too enticing to pass up. I love southern settings and there is the element of southern magic. There are secrets that need to be uncovered and our heroine isn't your run of the mill girl. But it still fell flat to me. I'm actually a little sad really that I didn't like it more; as conceded as this may sound it just didn't live up to it's potential.

Alex has been living on a communal farm in California and feels like this is her real home, even with her mom gone. Well Alex is ripped from her comfort zone when her grandmother who lives in Savannah basically forces Alex to come live with her. Alex immediately feels out of place. She's a hippy like, chubby California girl placed into the southern belle circle. Before she knows it she starts discovering just how powerful the Magnolia League is and the important role she will play. The question is will she be able hold on to who she is, or will she also succumb to the Magnolia League ways?

I'm not going to say the magic wasn't interesting because it was. The setup between the Magnolia League and the Buzzards has its own morbid fascination to it too. What the story's major downfall for me were the characters to be honest. Alex always used LOTS of acronyms, which got on my nerves fairly quickly. We see her in the beginning smoking a joint, and supposedly she is just so smart. Really? She’s already looking kind of dim to me already. Oh gosh, then she says she doesn’t use the word awesome lightly because she knows the power of words because she likes to read (here’s a ploy by trying to hook the reader because as readers we like to read about people who like to read too. Didn’t work in this case) and then she commences to use the word fairly often for anything of interest. Then there is this whole thing about her not being like the crowd, but in reality by trying to go against the grain she is just like everyone else. Outwardly she's not, but she wants the same things like other girls. Then the whole thing with Thaddeus (the love interest) didn't pan out as well as I hoped. Even though the story was told in basic chronological order (didn't that remind you of school right then, when they told us to line up that way?) the plot felt sporadic to me. It felt like there were holes missing that could have helped with character development.

When I was explaining the story to someone they told me that it sounded like a cool premise. And it really does, but nope. The ending is a cliff-hanger, but I'm not sure I'll be reading the sequel. This is a bad sign because I’m usually a person who has to see how a series ends, but I’m not sure if I care enough for this one. *shakes head* I feel like a teacher who is disappointed in a brilliant student who murmurs to herself," It's a shame, all that wasted potential."

Update: Through a goodreads friend I found this article. I don't think the author's intention was to put down the reader, but now I understand why I didn't love the book. I'm kind of sad really that this is what the author said about the YA genre, and its readers. It probably does have some truth to it, but I don't think that should interfere with producing a quality story. I'm fairly certain the article is not to be taken too seriously, and is suppose to be funny but it feels like a joke that crossed the line.
Profile Image for Erin.
213 reviews37 followers
June 29, 2011

This book has all the ingredients to push my reading buttons - Savannah, one of my all time favorite cities, hoodoo/magic, a hippie chick for the main character- I love all these details. Somehow though, I didn't love this book. I really wanted to though.

This book somewhat reminded me of A Great and Terrible Beauty- secret societies, magic, popular girls bordering on mean girls. I think that Beauty had better character development and was overall done better, but both books had similar themes, including a magical mother who died without telling her daughter anything about what they may be inheriting.

If Alexandria had been my friend, she would have been a really annoying, preachy friend. I am a vegetarian, I believe in being environmentally conscious, but I don't insult people who don't believe the same way. I think I make my opinions known in a way that is less aggressive than Alex. I do like how she was very stick to her guns, and made friends with Dexter, even though he wasn't one of the kids who was near the realm of a Magnolia. I was very disappointed in Crouch perpetuating the idea of beauty only belonging to those who are thin. I was disturbed by all the times that Alex was called Piggy, or Pudgy, and just let it happen to her. She hated being overweight, and had the easy transformation to thin perfection through hoodoo. And her character made no bones about the fact that she never wanted to be chubby again. I think this sends the wrong message about weight to an age group that already struggles with this concept. Body image is something even adult women struggle with, and I believe is particularly damaging for a young girl.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series though, believe it or not- there were a few characters that I actually liked. Hayes, Alex's friend, who seemed genuine and intelligent; Sam and Sina Buzzard, I just want to know more of their story; and Alex's grandmother, I feel we have just tapped the surface of this hoodoo matriarch of the Magnolias. I want to see what else she can do, I guess.

As a YA book, I liked this book more than Twilight, less than Hunger Games and A Great and Terrible Beauty. For me, it fell somewhere in the middle. I have hopes the next one will be better.
Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews91 followers
April 20, 2018
The MC is a pot-head and I don't like reading characters like this. Hence I will not be finishing up this book. I don't know what the author was thinking when she wrote this character. I don't see the reason why she had to smoke pot. She seems to be doing recreational drug use for what reason, exactly? Just because this is a young adult novel it doesn't mean that it's okay not to have some sort of explanation.

On an unrelated note, I don't even remember a time when drug use is cool. I thought the author was writing books for young adults because it was marketable. If you're trying to sell something to your audience, you might as well target its demographic: http://www.slate.com/id/2296056/
Profile Image for Ruby.
299 reviews57 followers
May 20, 2011
This review was first posted at http://www.rubysreads.com.

Someday, I'm going to read a book where a character that comes from California but isn't from a hippie commune. I'm just saying. Some day it's going to happen.

The Magnolia League--which I keep accidentally calling The Magnolia Legacy--tells the story of Alex. Before her mother died, Alex lived on a commune in Northern California, where her mother was an herbalist and she grew dreadlocks in order to impress a boy. After her mother's death, Alex was uprooted from her happy, hippie, communal life and sent to live with her aristocratic, Southern grandmother. This means that, in addition to grieving for her mother, Alex must also grieve for her home, and her former way of life.

I realize as I write this how often the death of a parent is used to send a teenage heroine hurtling into a strange, new world. Loss of a parent is undeniably a life-changing event (I prefer to believe that my own parents are immortal), but it's also remarkably convenient. By which I mean: insta-angst and automatic lack of adult supervision. Wondering why Mom and Dad have failed to notice that Suzie has been sneaking out at night to fight monsters? Dead parents take care of that particular plot irritation. I don't mean to imply that Katie Crouch was unsuccessful in making Alex believable as a grieving daughter. I bought her grief as genuine. This is merely by way of commenting on a trend in teen fiction.

I didn't realize at first, that this book was going to be paranormal. And, to be honest, I was kind of bummed to find out that it was. This is only natural when a book doesn't match your expectations. I was imagining something in the vein of conspiracy, murder mystery with a side of "If I told you, then I'd have to kill you". Not so. The supernatural angle is the cornerstone to this book. While, for a time, it toys with being a coming-of-age type story, it isn't really. This book is about old Southern superstition. In particular, voodoo.

My overwhelming feeling, after having read this book, was that it was predictable. I knew where things were going with Alex. Nothing about her journey particularly surprised me. She becomes disillusioned with the past she idealized, and with the people she idealized. She finds a new love, and new friends. She uncovers a mystery about her mother and remembers that she wasn't as normal as she once thought she was. I think the author used this book purely as a setup for the rest of the series and that, frankly, doesn't make me like it much. And I haven't even gotten to the heroine, yet.

Alex begins the book as a free-thinker. She's sort of classically "Why can't we all just get along?" And while she has a point about thinking for yourself, about not judging people based on their appearance (although she does a fair amount of that herself), Alex's real personality is that of a scared little girl. She's a master of self-delusion. She deluded herself about life on the commune, and she deludes herself into thinking she can take advantage of the benefits of being a Magnolia without succumbing to its dark side. She also just kind of follows along, never really taking action--which doesn't jibe with her support of individuality. Her actions don't really make sense. I'm going to spoil a bit here, so highlight the next section at your own risk.

It doesn't make sense that Alex decides to do the love spell on Thaddeus. It would have been far more in keeping with her character to work some kind of spell that made certain no one was making him want to be with her. It still would have been breaking her promise never to magic him--but it would have made more sense given her moral code.

Of course, it will come as no surprise to you that I also found the romance to be a disappointment. Not even the attraction rang true for me. I bought that Alex might like Thaddeus because we have access to her internal dialog. What I never bought was that Thaddeus liked Alex. Not because she didn't deserve him, but that there wasn't any real indication that he really liked her. I mean--he says the words and stuff--but there were none of those little details that show when a guy likes a girl. You know what I mean?

With a lackluster romance, confusing characterization, and predictability weighing this book down, I can't say that I really liked it. Which is an excellent way to lead into the giveaway, is it not? Either way, you'll have a chance to read this book for yourself because I have an extra copy of The Magnolia League for giveaway. Here are the contest rules:

1. This contest opens today, May 16, and ends at midnight on May 23.
2. This contest is only open in the U.S.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
4. To enter: simply leave a comment on this post. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win.
Profile Image for CeJayCe.
93 reviews52 followers
December 29, 2012
I cannot count all the ways in which Alex is pathetic beyond all reason. She is one of the worst female protagonists I've encountered in quite awhile. Almost everything about her is intrinsic of a stereotypical teenager. Her mentality, her judgement...God, her voice. How can I take anyone seriously who says things like-

"Oh my God, I hate my life."

-after a disappointing email from a not-even-boyfriend? Do I even need to go into how annoyed I was by her delusions of this Reggie guy even being her boyfriend? I feel like I don't. Everyone should have been. She was so naive I couldn't muster any sympathy. How do people get any more pathetic than this:

"...Reggie and I were hanging on the picnic tables one day watching the college kids, and he kept staring at this one girl with long blond dreads.

'She is so hot,' he said.

'She is?'

'Yeah. I really dig her hair.'

'You do?'


'Because,' I lied, 'I was, um, thinking of dreading my hair.'"


And yet that was only a minor of her irritatingly teenage tendencies. Let's not forget her rebelliousness:

"'I would prefer it if you did. Avoid speaking with Sam alone, I mean.'

See, this is where we run into trouble. Because of course the minute my grandmother tells me to do something, what I really want to do is exactly the opposite."

Of course you do! You're the embodiment of a stereotype, after all. I'm not saying she should be an overly obedient granddaughter. It's obvious her grandmother can't really be trusted. I just wish she would've had actual reasons when it came to crossing her grandmother rather than a simple-minded "I'm a teenager, so naturally I want to rebel against authority!" attitude. I would've respected her more.

That is to say, I would've respected her somewhat.

I mean, she's awkward beyond all semblance of a human being. In all honesty, how does a normal conversation about literature lead to statements like this?

"'Not that I even know what an orgasm is!' I say. 'I mean, I do know. I do it all the time! Or sometimes. Whatever.'"

Face, meet Palm. My actual footnote for this line was: "This book is an embarrassment to itself." Of course, she goes on to actually have an orgasm after they...make out fully clothed on a couch. What?

You know what, who cares? Moving right along. Since I'm on the topic of her making a fool of herself in front of Thaddeus, did I mention how awkward all of their dialogue is? I fully accuse Crouch of trying to blame her inability to write realistic dialogue between Thad and Alex on Thad by attempting to characterize him as socially awkward. Not to mention the fact that the two are even dating is absurd given how limited their interactions have been.

But who cares how little they've hung out together? She's pretty now! And he's the hottest guy in school, so naturally he only kisses her AFTER she's given up all her individuality and conformed to the skinny, pretty popular clique his sister and Madison run. But, no, of COURSE he likes her for what's on the INSIDE.

And of course she goes and makes him hate her because she's an IDIOT.

I believe the major theme of this book is that individuality does NOT prevail against societal conformations. Because the protagonist has to be a beauty queen, Alex goes from slightly pudgy to SIZE ZERO in the space of A DAY. Her dreads are out the window, she finally gives in to the fashion squad, and she becomes everyone high school boy's dream.

But no, really, the book's trying to tell girls to be themselves. I know it's kind of hard to see beneath the hypocrisy, but it's there. Trust me.

And before I wrap this up, a little commentary on the writing and plot. Personally, the switch between first-person and third-person POV was unnecessary. I wish the whole book had been in third-person, if only to eliminate the need to hear all of Alex's inane thoughts. As for the plot, it was not anywhere near as fast-paced and exciting as I was expecting. I mean, what actually HAPPENED that involved magic? The fire, her hoodoo dream, and a failed attempt at a love potion (which I chalk up to the crappy romance aspect of the book anyway.)

I don't want anything to do with the second one, and I won't be touching it unless every library and bookstore on Earth burns to the ground.

So why 2 stars instead of 1? I've read worse. That's all I can say. It could have been a complete train-wreck and it wasn't, so kudos to Crouch for that small victory.

January 3, 2021
Alex has lived her entire life at the RC, a hippie commune in California, helping her mother grow medicinal herbs. Sure, the RC grows a little marijuana, but Alex's mother's medicines are what really make the RC famous.

Then everything changes after Alex's mother dies in a car crash. The rich grandmother she didn't even know she had sends a lawyer to pick her up and take her back to Georgia, ripping her away from her new boyfriend and the only life she's ever known. Suddenly she's supposed to be part of something called the "Magnolia League," a sort of club for Southern debutantes. Except that Alex has dreadlocks, is chubby, and has no intention of trading in her t-shirts for designer dresses. However, she might not have much of a choice. Once you become a Magnolia Girl, you're one for life.

This is one of my very old ARCs that I picked up at a past conference and never got around to reading. Better late than never, I guess.

Unfortunately, it didn't appeal to me at all. Yes, Alex's grandmother was snobby, and Madison wasn't much better (I kind of liked Hayes, though - she made an effort to be friendly and seemed genuinely nice). But Alex wasn't all that great either. Almost every opportunity she got, she lectured the people around her about their gas guzzling cars, the unhealthiness of the food they ate, etc. If Hayes and Madison hadn't basically been required to spend time with her, I doubt they'd have stuck around. I don't know that I'd have blamed them. Even though I didn't disagree with Alex, her lecturing and moralizing was off-putting.

Deep down, Alex thought she was better than her fellow Magnolia Girls - not really one of them, more down to earth and "natural." Thaddeus, Alex's eventual love interest, had the usual "not like other girls" moment where he admired Alex for being so different. However, she was shallow too - it just presented differently. She started wearing her hair in dreadlocks when Reggie, the guy she liked back in California, commented on how hot a white girl with dreadlocks he'd seen was. Then when Alex started to think that Thaddeus didn't like her dreadlocks, well, off with the dreads. And hey, I forgot to mention the pot, which she also started smoking because of Reggie - pretty the only thing she didn't do that she knew Reggie wanted was have sex, supposedly because she knew her mom wouldn't have approved (never mind that her mom wouldn't have approved of the pot).

There was some interesting magical politics going on - the rich white Magnolia Leaguers and - but in this book, Alex only got to nibble at the edges of it. The next book probably delves into that more deeply, but I disliked most of the characters too much to want to continue on. And considering the way this book ended, several of the characters would probably give me even more reasons to dislike them before eventually making up and (I assume) finally figuring out how to break up the Magnolia League and the hold it has on them. No thank you, I'm done.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
Profile Image for Shannon Rogers.
Author 1 book25 followers
May 10, 2011
I was very surprised by this book, as I wasn't sure what to expect when I went into it. The basic story idea was interesting, and although it wasn't terribly unique, the author brought something new to it. I've read books before where the story takes place within a secret society of some sort, but the idea of mixing a group of Georgia ladies with a family that practices hoodoo was completely new for me. The author gave what was, to me, a very believable reason why these two groups would end up working together.

The author did a good job with characterization for Alex. I have to admit she was one of the most intriguing heroines I've read in a while. What an earthly little thing. I wasn't sure I would like her at first because I don't typically see a heroine with dreadlocks and who doesn't bother to shave, but I really loved this girl. She was real, she was honest. What you see is what you get. I loved her spunk and the fact that she wasn't willing to change for anyone. Until she changed....

Once she gets fully enmeshed in the goings on in Savannah, Georgia, she does end up changing a little of her personality and physical traits, but that was sort of the point. She has to learn from mistakes to grow.

I loved the romance in this story. At first, I wasn't sure it was believable for a guy like him to like a girl like her, until I took it into account that he's used to these overly painted, overly primped girls who have burned him in the past. So he wants someone real, which Alex is.

I was completely shocked by the ending, as I wasn't expecting a sort of cliffhanger into a sequel but I am looking forward to reading it. I can't wait to find out if Alex ruined her chances with "him," and what she does to turn the situation around. The book had just enough suspense to really keep me hanging and interested. The author's pacing was great and I found this to be a very fast and engrossing read.
Profile Image for Beth.
44 reviews13 followers
January 8, 2012
Release date: May 3rd 2011!
Review copy received from NetGalley.

The Magnolia League is an unexpected joy – “orgasmic” as Alex Lee, the grew-up-in-a-commune-in-California heroine of the tale, might say. A slightly awkward but still somehow smile inducing way to begin a review? Perhaps. Totally in keeping with this book? Oh hell yeah! Judging by my indecent lack of subtlety here, you might have guessed that I loved this book. But why?

As a southern English girl, I do love reading about southern American girls. Especially ones caught up in supernatural affairs (Sookie Stackhouse, I am indeed thinking of you!). I love the strange comparisons of `high society` culture that can be drawn between places like Louisiana and Georgia against the Home Counties. Hence I adore and am appalled by the idea of debutantes in almost equal measure. Throw into this immaculately-dressed mix some pot, vintage band t-shirts, hoodoo, age-defying grandmas, and … oh yes, I did mention the hoodoo! … anyway, with all this going on, surely the book has to be a winner, right?

Right. The easy and spot-on portrayal of social cliques, high school nicknames (Orang-Anna for the `You know when you’ve been Tango-ed` fake-tan loving Anna), and general awkward humour of misfits makes compelling reading. I read The Magnolia League in one sitting, and I have a feeling you’ll do the same!

Recommendation: If you love the Southern voice of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, you’ll be in for a treat with The Magnolia League. Whether you’d love to be a deb, or you’re happiest grunging it up in jeans and a band-t, this book has someone (possibly the same someone…) for you to connect with.

Rating: 5/5
Profile Image for Dana Al-Basha |  دانة الباشا.
2,148 reviews774 followers
Want to read
August 11, 2017
[Saturday, December 10, 2011] After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Lee is forced to move from Northern California to Savannah, Georgia, to live with her wealthy grandmother, who expects Alex to join a long-standing debutante society, which, Alex learns, has made a pact with a legendary Hoodoo family.

[Tuesday, August 21, 2012] I'm in LOVE with this book! If I didn't have a huge pile of "to-read" books I would finish it... But I must warn you all, I think the spells in this book are actually real!

[Friday, April 5, 2013] I added it as "currently-reading" but I still didn't read it, I promised myself to try to finish the books I couldn't finish this year! I can't wait to see what will happen to bohemian Alex and the town of Skeleton-key [Have you watched the movie?! It's a mix between it and Good Christian Belles].
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
July 31, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie tales

Quick & Dirty: A great paranormal twist to the life of Southern Belles and the Savannah Magnolias.

Opening Sentence: You know what I hate? Sweet tea.

The Review:

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.

Notable Scene:

“Miss Lee, what they see is what they get.”

My grandmother narrows her eyes. When she does that, they look black. It’s a very frightening effect, as if the pupils have taken over.

“All right,” she says. “If that’s how you’d like to play this.”

“Play what?”

“Oh you’ll see eventually, Alexandria. I’ll call you when they’re here.”

Her footsteps click down the hall and, as if by magic, suddenly disappear.

FTC Advisory: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of The Magnolia League. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Jean Valjean (OG 2010).
26 reviews40 followers
March 8, 2011
I adore books that take place in the South, so when I read the blurb for this one, I knew I needed to read it. If Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia’s Beautiful Creatures had a love child with Mean Girls (the film), this would be it. A fish out of water story with a dash of Southern gothic romance, witchcraft and gool ol’ fashioned Southern elitism. It was a pretty quick read, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

I found Alex Lee to be a bit lacking in the character department. At times I found her to be whiney, and hypocritical. I also hated that we were constantly reminded of how plain, and chubby she was. She was so bent on being different, and really driving that point home but she sure didn’t put up much of a fight when the girls waved their magic hoodoo wand, making her just as beautiful and well-dressed as the rest of them.

Alex and Thaddeus’ relationship was a little shallow to say the least. He didn’t really seem to be too interested in her company or even really like her all that much, and the only reason Alex seemed to like Thaddeus was because he was super hot and loaded. And then, after Thaddeus asks Alex to promise never to use a love spell on him, at the first bump in their relationship Alex runs out and gets a love spell. Seriously?! Gaaaah. Come on, Alex.

Hayes and Madison were actually my favorite part of the book, and I found myself looking forward to their interactions between one another and Alex because they seemed to bring out the best in her as a character. They hated her hair and clothes in the beginning and did their best to transform her, but when push came to shove, they had Alex’s back and really seemed to care for her.

Not the deepest book in the world, but definitely fluffy and exciting. The cliffhanger had me on the edge of my seat, and I’m actually really excited for the second installment, The White Glove War.
Profile Image for Lorelie.
7 reviews
December 30, 2013
The Magnolia League is about a book of hoodoos and/or voodoos. It's about a group of girls obsessed with power, youth and beauty. And Alexandria(a.k.a. Alex) is about to be a part of them.

Honestly, I was actually happy when I found out that I would be reading about a book without vampires and werewolves in it. And to top it all off it concentrates on hoodoos. But after reading I felt a little disappointed in it.

First of all, I hated Alex. To begin with, she was a fat girl whom everyone in her hometown teases and calls names. And after her mother dies from a tragic car accident her world seems to fall apart then she meets Reggie, her 'boyfriend', and she starts smoking pot. That is before her grandmother, Mrs. Lee, who happens to be the leader of 'MG',forces her to leave the West Coast and live with her in Savannah, Georgia. But Alex barely even knew her so she didn't trust her and is afraid of her.
Alex is so stubborn and a coward at the same time. I never liked those protagonists who were not sure of themselves. 'I can't do this I was not born to be a princess' sort of thing. I have always hated those. And Alex was too naive not to figure out that her boyfriend is not serious about her. I don't know if it was the author's intention but whatever it is it doesn't do for me.

The plot was okay for me. Starting from being a normal girl and then becoming a popular one. Yes, it is common but I like the way the story evolves in magic.

Overall, the story was both beautiful and drastic. That's why I gave it three stars
Profile Image for Kathryn.
168 reviews283 followers
July 14, 2017
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for southern gothic, which made me predisposed to liking The Magnolia League and judging it more favorably than it probably deserves. In many (or most) ways the novel is very cliched. The premise is a teenaged California hippy chick playing the duck out of water role when she moves to the more stuffy and "superficial" south.

Despite the plot's initial triteness, I liked Alex, our main character, at least in the beginning. She was spunky and considering YA's recent "damsel in distress" trend, I appreciated a little badass.

The southern gothic fan in me savored passages about Savannah's dark underbelly and
Hoo Doo. As the story progressed, though, the southern gothic waned and plot points became inconsistent. Alex is regularly characterized as "teeming with integrity." However, despite vowing to her boyfriend that she'd never use magic on him, she does it anyway. WTF??!! There's fanwanking that could be done to say that Alex's increasing involvement in the Magnolia League led to her about face, but that excuse really doesn't hold water. Other than her outward appearance, Alex remains the same. Her dishonesty therefore doesn't wash and reads as a lazy way for the writer to propel the story forward.

Basically, The Magnolia League is a meh read, somewhat engaging, but the plot and the characters are frequently infuriating.
Profile Image for usagi ☆ミ.
1,197 reviews275 followers
March 8, 2011
This one was a pretty quick read and the pacing of the prose makes the story go by at breakneck speed. While I love stories about "Mean Girls"-type cliques and witches, combining the two in this instance was fun, but nothing really very groundbreaking.

I found Alex, much in the vein of the protagonist of "This Girl is Different" extremely annoying in her "unconventional" ways and personality. I love hippie heroines more than the next girl, but I just kept wanting to smack her up until her "transformation". If anything, the problem of what she is and what she is becoming is really the crux of the book, and it could have been emphasized and explored more than it was. Much was squandered with Alex's lack of internal battle (or at least, maybe it felt that way as it was pushed to the end of the novel) as well as the contrast between the Magnolias and the Buzzards. This could have been a very thought-provoking book, but it just didn't make it.

To make a long story short, this is a really fun book to read, a guilty pleasure for sure but it's not exactly the deepest book of the year. And the sad thing is? It could have been.

(crossposted to librarything and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)
Profile Image for Laurel-Rain.
Author 6 books228 followers
June 27, 2011
What happens when a vegetarian hippie girl from California finds herself living in Savannah, groomed for something called The Magnolia League?

Alexandria Lee grew up with her single mother in a commune, and now at sixteen, devastated by her mother's tragic death, she has lost all of her significant connections. Her grandmother seemingly wants to provide for her, but her care comes with a price. And there are many secrets that Alex will only discover after weeks and even months have passed. Will it be too late then? Are the secret rituals that are part of the League holding her captive?

Throughout this story, we meet other teens who seem too perfect, too gorgeous, but have no motivation to leave Savannah. What do the strange hoodoo rituals (yes, hoodoo, not voodoo) have to do with their behavior, appearance, and expectations? And what will Alex have to do to escape the future her grandmother has designed for her?

"The Magnolia League" is a captivating tale about the strange hold a unique heritage can have on a young person, and the cost of belonging. I kept turning pages, intrigued by the story. The ending was rather abrupt and left more questions than answers. Perhaps the book is the first in a series. I gave this one four stars.
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,046 reviews576 followers
Want to read
April 7, 2017
Right off the bat I didn't like the main character. She is pretty negative and within the first couple pages is smoking pot. So I stopped reading. Not the book for me.

I read through some of the other reviews and came across Cara's review and link to an article from the author. I thought Cara said it perfectly and thought I'd share...

"through a goodreads friend I found this article. I don't think the author's intention was to put down the reader, but now I understand why I didn't love the book. I'm kind of sad really that this is what the author said about the YA genre, and its readers. It probably does have some truth to it, but I don't think that should interfere with producing a quality story. I'm fairly certain the article is not to be taken too seriously, and is suppose to be funny but it feels like a joke that crossed the line."
Profile Image for Alicia.
2 reviews4 followers
May 7, 2011
This book is awesome. Katie Crouch is an amazing author. I dare you not to absolutely adore the main character, Alex, within the first two paragraphs of the novel. Crouch manages to create an atmosphere of wit, suspense, sarcasm, and seriousness all in one! This book is definitely at the top of my list, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series, The White Glove War. This is a book I would definitely have no objections to re-reading.
188 reviews
February 12, 2016
Interesting read. Not enough magic and it seemed like the author was too intent on showing the diversity of the two places this story was set in, the same with the main character Alex.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,128 reviews458 followers
March 21, 2012
*Genre* YA Hoodoo
*Rating* 2.0


16 year old Alexandria (Alex) Lee has been living alone in Mendocino, California since her mother died in a car accident. Alex has spent her entire life living on a commune with her mother. She's slightly on the chubby side, has dreads, loves vintage t-shirts and hates sweet tea, and knows about herbs and there uses thanks to her mother’s teachings.

After her mother’s death, Alex is brought to live with her grandmother Dorothy Lee in Savannah, Georgia with the understanding that the commune would not have any law enforcement visitors for 10 years. Dorothy heads a group of women called the Magnolias. They are all powerful, rich, and beautiful, and they have a secret that only those that are part of the Magnolia’s know about.

Dorothy fully expects Alex to succeed her as the head of the Magnolia League and be the next mantle holder. Alex dreams of going back to California to be with her boyfriend and not falling into her grandmother’s plans for her which seemed fairly inconceivable.

For me, Chubby, pot smoking, dread wearing Alex was fun, snarky, and had a great attitude about the silliness that she is surrounded by including the fact that she had to pretty much give up the clothes she wore, to wear other things so that she could fit with her new friends and school.

She ends up friends with a boy named Dexter who pretty much hates the whole idea behind the Magnolia League and warns Alex to not fall into their web of deceit. Dexter, sadly, is probably the only likable character from start to finish unlike Dorothy and the rest of her crew.

Alex later runs back to California using the credit card her grandmother gave her and discovers some unpleasant truths about her so called boyfriend. She is soon licking her wounds and asking to return to Savannah. Upon returning from California, she’s ambushed by Hayes and Madison and undergoes a disturbing experience and wakes up in the morning not caring any longer about her former boyfriend or who he is with. She also has a dream about Hoodoo, and discovers that there is something strange going on in Savannah which she needs to get to the bottom of.

After researching what the difference between Hoodoo and Voodoo, Dorothy finally let’s her in on the truth behind the Magnolia League and tells her the truth about being a hoodoo practitioner and how she and others in the league have gotten rich beyond their means with help from the Buzzards.

Hayes and Madison use hoodoo to replace Alex's dreads with normal hair and give Alex a talisman that will make her skinny if she eats a whole lot of food each and every day. Alex goes from the funny person I enjoyed, to the fashionista who started to get more interested in clothes and nice things than her former causes she suddenly loses interest in.

The message here is very clear to me; go out and change your appearance by any means necessary, including hoodoo, cosmetic surgery, etc., and you will end up with your Prince Charming and live happily ever after. The only problem is, Alex doesn’t get her HEA after Thaddeus walks out on her after she discovers a startling truth behind what Dorothy does to keep the Magnolia's in town.

The Magnolia League (Magnolia League #1) by Katie Crouch is a book surrounded by controversy by the authors own words, and the backlash from those on GR and other places which has spilled over into discussion by bloggers, authors, and publishers alike on how to handle negative reviews.

The Magnolia League gets off to a pretty decent start with a likeable character and a fun setting of Savannah, Georgia. It was the second half of this book and ending that really grated on my nerves and forced me to downgrade what could have been a good story, into a poorly written one with little or no hope of continuing this series.

In all fairness to all the negativity surrounding this author and book, I had to see what all the commotion and fuss was about. Having spent time with the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference 2012 several weeks ago, I now find myself restrained at wanting to blast authors for foot in mouth disease. I am not afraid of posting negative reviews or rating books 1 or 2 stars if they infuriate me. I just don't feel the need to put the negative reviews on my blog any longer.

Profile Image for Kristen.
231 reviews13 followers
April 21, 2011
I won't add a synopsis because the other reviews have done that. Instead, I will say that I think we needed more depth. This was ok - but could have been really good had the author spent more time and effort developing the characters, the settings and the plot.

I was often reminded of the Caster Chronicles while reading this. We know that there are bigger and more sinister things going on then we have all the information about. There were some wonderful lines early on that gave me great hopes for the book. As the chapters went by, though, I was a little disappointed. I liked the book well enough. I thought it was a good solid start to a series. And we have some of the rules as to how the magic works in the world of the Magnolia League. But there were inconsistencies and character development flaws that I wish hadn't been. For example, we see Alex go from RC girl, into t-shirt and jeans, resisting consumerism and her Grandmother to MG. Without much of a struggle. She superficially notes that the MGs are snobby skinny girls who aren't very nice to always hanging out with them and not really caring. She seems at first to have the spirit of someone who wouldn't cave to her grandmother, yet she does right away, dressing and hanging out with those Mrs. Lee wants. And then, to have her at the end do a 180 and decide to destroy the League - well, I didn't get the foundation I need as a reader to believe that course of Alex's. Any of it. Not the acceptance of the girls in the first place, not the relationship with Thad, and not the desire to end the league. None of it. In fact, one of the chapters gives us "the next month went by so fast..." (or something like it) and that month could have added so much to the book. We see Thad and Alex not getting along and then suddenly they are a couple.

Alex's initiation - with the crush a crush ceremony was a little out of the blue too. I think this book lacked depth in plot and characters. From a plot perspective, the need to have to put an end to the agreement with the Buzzards came out of the blue. There wasn't a whole lot of depth to the story and while there were subtle hints that something was going on with Alex's mom's room, that too was really out of nowhere. With the characters, they aren't very well developed and they felt fairly one-dimensional. With Madison and Haley, maybe not so much since I think they are supposed to be fairly superficial, but it was hard to route for Thad and Alex since we saw so little of them together.

I think we need to see more of the magic - not just the results (forever young and always rich). I think we need to see more of Savannah - the history of that city could have made the city itself a character and yet the author didn't really draw from that resource. And I think we need more of the characters. They were a good start, the magic and the use of it was a good start, and the ending of the book really came across as a good start. Hopefully we get more then just snippets, like we really have here, of things in the next book.
Profile Image for Sabrina .
219 reviews121 followers
March 29, 2012
The biggest thing I learned from this 'novel' is to never ever judge a book by its cover

I learned the hard way. I saw this book and without even bothering to read the back, I drooled over the beautiful cover and bought it which is why it is now looking down at me from my bookshelf.

I hated this novel. H-A-T-E-D! Before, I was in too much shock that a book with such a beautiful cover could disappoint me that I gave it 2 stars and no review. Guess what? I'm back and even more pissed because I read this particular article in which the ever so lovely Katie Crouch decides to belittle young adult authors and readers, despite her being one herself!

But my poor rating isn't for my hatred towards the author. That would be foolish of me. Nay, my poor rating is because the book also sucked.

This book was just so boring. I couldn't believe it myself. I started reading and within the first few chapters, my interest already evaporated, much like my allowance did at the book store. I tried so many times to finish this book. I would read a little and then give up. Read a little more. Give up again. It was a cycle that I hated but I was set on finishing the novel, hoping somewhere the author could redeem herself.

She didn't.

The plot didn't work out either. Too many plot holes that were so big an elephant could fit in and again, I wanted to be interested not to be put to sleep.

The concept was cool. The magic was cool. The characters were NOT cool. I hated Alex. She was supposed to be smart but came off as a nit-wit and I honestly hated her guts. When she was fat, I actually liked her more than when she was skinny and stupid. I guess this teaches another lesson: Stay fat and you'll stay smart. Or maybe the lesson is If you're really pretty, everyone will like you better. Just no!

Her "romance" with Thaddeus (whats with the weird name, I know you want originality but seriously?) was just so wrong, it was horrible. It felt forced and lacked the emotion and sparks needed to envoke an emotion from me.

The ending just plainly sucked.

Overall, I just wasn't feeling the book. I tried (for a month) to like it but I couldn't. I won't be reading the sequel, in fact, I won't be reading anything by this author again.

So Katie Crouch, before you go dissing young adult readers and writers, how about you learn to write a proper young adult novel and perhaps we'll take you more seriously. But for now, your insult is just childish and hypocritical.

Profile Image for Britta.
322 reviews54 followers
May 11, 2011
I have been long awaiting this book, so as you can imagine, I was ecstatic when I could finally hold it in my hands. However, I was many times more ecstatic when I read this novel and found out how absolutely incredible it was. It even secured a spot on my favorite books list (a most coveted achievement).

Alex had a different upbringing that most kids. She lived on a communal farm (which secretly grew pot) with her mother. Never once attending school and never worrying about money or the future. That all changes when her mother dies tragically in a car crash and she is forced to move from California to Savannah, Georgia. Living in her grandmother's mansion, so finds out two things. One, her grandmother is at the head of a elite debutante society, and two, as her heir, Alex is expected to join the society and stay in Savannah forever. Oh wait, there is also the part about strange magic, her mother's soul, and her life being in danger... Did I forget to mention that?

I loved so many things about this book! I loved Alex's personality. She is different physically, with her slightly chunky physique, long dreads, and old vintage tees. She is also extremely witty, outspoken, independent and brave. She doesn't fit the mold for the archetypal YA heroine, but that may just be why she is so darn likable!

Apart from Alex, all of the supporting, as well as very unimportant, characters had great personalities. Ranging from southern belles to hoodoo witches to comic book nerds, they all were entertaining. This is one of those books when even the more eviler, in a sense, are likable.

Also, the setting is absolutely perfect. This book has a feel like the author wrote the story around the setting itself. It is something that just fit so well that I don't really have the words to describe it.

I am not going to say much for out of fear of giving away the plot... But I will say this: this book has witty characters, humor, suspense, dark magic, action and lots and lots of sweet tea. So what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor, and pick this one up. I loved it! And you know you really love a book when you read a bad review (by a crazy person!) and feel like your heart has just been ripped out of your chest. This is the first in a series, I'm not sure how many books it will be, but this is definitely a series you don't want to miss. After the ending of this one, I cannot wait for the next.
Profile Image for Darby.
45 reviews5 followers
July 19, 2011
In theory, this is a great story line. I actually stuck with it for quite awhile. But I just couldn't make myself finish it. The dialogue was strained, like it was trying way too hard to sound like a teenager. You know, cheesy insults and stupid lines usually coming from Hayes or Madison. And I just plain didn't like Alex. She was too busy trying so hard to be different from everyone else. This book fell a little flat for me.

The thing that bothered me was Alex's whining about the environment. She didn't seem to understand the concept of keeping her bratty little hippie opinions to herself. From the minute Hayes pulls up in her Hummer, Alex has to snap at her about it. Did she ask what you thought of her car? No. I can't stand when people provide their opinion when it isn't necessary. She was the worst kind of annoying to me. If she were a student at my school, I would do my best to avoid talking to her. She automatically assumes that Hayes and Madison are bad people because of the society they grew up in and that they're somehow below her because they weren't raised on a commune. I didn't realize smoking and dreading your hair made you better than everyone else. Also, her constant need to point out her weight drove me up the wall. I hate when girls are constantly whinging about their weight and how fat they are. Basically, she contained every quality I cannot stand in a high school girl. She's probably the least likable main character of any story I've ever read.

It also seemed rushed in the important parts and dragged on and on in the parts that were insignificant. The dialogue was strained, using words like 'rad'. It was trying too hard to sound like a group of kids to the point where it was like reading a bunch of adults pretending to be teens.

Basically, every character in this book irritated me except for the adults. It could theoretically be good if it were only written about the older women in the society. Too bad it was focused on the teenagers, who talk like they're straight out of Valley Girl. I could tell anyone who asked all about the plot before I'd even read it. I called the entire drama with Reggie the minute they brought him into the story.

This book had a good start and I was honestly excited to read it but turns out it wasn't even worth finishing. Maybe it'll improve with the sequel, but I definitely will not be reading it.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,057 reviews16 followers
August 22, 2011
I can't help but be angry when I think of The Magnolia League. I think it's in part because there was so much potential yet this potential was never realized. Instead, the authors wrote the book in the worst way possible. I'll start with the first and most obvious problem with the story: the main character. Alex is just not at all likable. First of all, she complains for the first half of the book about her new life in Savannah. I get it, honey, you miss your life as a damn hippy with your pot head boyfriend on that commune you grew up with. It doesn't matter that your grandma has bought you a designer wardrobe, offered you a car, and practically bought you friendship with the two most popular girls in town. They're not good enough for you because they're not "real". If this isn't bad enough, the authors try to show that Alex is not accepted by her peer group by showing some less than real conversations where poor Alex gets made fun of because she's supposedly fat and wears her hair in dreads. Let's just say this doesn't work, these conversations don't make me feel sorry for Alex especially with the way she reacts to them which is sort of bratty and immature. However, as much as I didn't like Alex during the first half of the book she was even worst post her instant makeover--which include instant pretty hair and size zero Barbie body. At least, the second half of the book went faster than the first. Though that didn't mean the book was any better since it was terribly rushed. Seriously, it was just as if the authors slapped the last hundred or so pages together. To see full review click here:http://yalbookbriefs.blogspot.com/201...
Displaying 1 - 30 of 458 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.