The Magnolia League (Magnolia League Series #1)

The Magnolia League (Magnolia League Series #1)

4.0 42
by Katie Crouch
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this suspenseful YA debut, the death of 16-year-old Alex's mother thrusts the teenager into the rarified corners of Savannah, Ga., high society, far from her former home in a Bay Area commune. Adult author Crouch (Girls in Trucks) handily conjures the significant culture shock Alex faces after moving into the grand, historic home that belongs to her formidable grandmother, "a ninja with brass knuckles, dressed for a tea party." Layers of intrigue build as Alex learns more about her grandmother's highly regarded but feared Magnolia League, a coterie of upper-crust beauties. The majority of the story is delivered through Alex's authentic first-person narration, though Crouch sometimes uses a chatty omniscient narrator to clue readers in to the powerful forces swirling around Alex; in all, the author evokes an atmospheric Southern setting while taking readers through Alex's discovery of, seduction by, and repulsion to the League's dark secrets to beauty, wealth, and power. Though some characters come across as one-dimensional, dreadlocked Alex is a funny, likable, and stubborn outsider, and the cliffhanger ending should leave fans of romantic fantasy eager for more. Ages 15–up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up—After the sudden death of her mother, Alexandria Lee, a 16-year-old hippie, moves from the communal farm in California where she was raised to live with her flawlessly beautiful and suspiciously young-looking grandmother in Georgia. There Alex learns that she is the heir of a legendary and powerful society called "The Magnolia League"—a group of gorgeous, powerful, seemingly perfect women and girls. Alex is not sure she fits in: she is hardly skinny, loves environmental causes, and sports vintage rock T-shirts. As she becomes more involved in the secretive society, she inexplicably extinguishes a wildfire without touching it and, after drinking a vitamin water spiked with a strange mixture of herbs, she gets over her ex-boyfriend overnight. Eventually she learns the Magnolias' secret: for years the order has employed a powerful local family of hoodoo practitioners to cast spells that keep the ladies beautiful and flush in wealth and status—so long as they never leave Savannah. Alex struggles to remain true to her convictions as she transforms into a slim and breathtakingly beautiful Magnolia. A newfound love leads her down a path of temptation to employ hoodoo tricks to keep the romance alive, even though she knows it is wrong. Everything comes to a head on the evening of Alex's coming out in Savannah society, when she learns a dark secret her grandmother has kept from her since her mother's death. The book offers a compelling story with likable and well-developed characters. Moreover, with the perfect mix of humor, romance, mystery and the supernatural, it provides ample entertainment yet leaves room for a sequel. While some readers might find the switch from first person to third person between chapters awkward, the technique helps explain secrets to readers while Alex remains in the dark.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
Joshilyn Jackson
"I was mesmerized as I watched Alex, a girl raised on a California commune, learning to navigate Savannah high society. This is a story infused with romance and dark magic, and I couldn't put it down. I'm a huge Katie Crouch fan, and this book will make you one, too."
Faria Stolarz
"Katie Crouch's The Magnolia League is mysterious, magical, and alluring. Crouch's voice is both humorous and intense, lending itself well to the novel's darker undercurrents and its richly southern flavor."
PW

"[T]he author evokes an atmospheric Southern setting while taking readers through Alex's discovery of, seduction by, and repulsion to the League's dark secrets to beauty, wealth, and power... dreadlocked Alex is a funny, likable, and stubborn outsider, and the cliffhanger ending should leave fans of romantic fantasy eager for more.
From the Publisher
"[T]he author evokes an atmospheric Southern setting while taking readers through Alex's discovery of, seduction by, and repulsion to the League's dark secrets to beauty, wealth, and power... dreadlocked Alex is a funny, likable, and stubborn outsider, and the cliffhanger ending should leave fans of romantic fantasy eager for more.—PW"

I was mesmerized as I watched Alex, a girl raised on a California commune, learning to navigate Savannah high society. This is a story infused with romance and dark magic, and I couldn't put it down. I'm a huge Katie Crouch fan, and this book will make you one, too."—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints"

Katie Crouch's The Magnolia League is mysterious, magical, and alluring. Crouch's voice is both humorous and intense, lending itself well to the novel's darker undercurrents and its richly southern flavor."—Faria Stolarz, bestselling author of the Blue is for Nightmares series and the Touch series

VOYA - Suanne Roush
Alexandria has lived a life free of rules and social expectations, thanks to growing up on a communal organic farm in California. Until her death in a car accident, Alex's mother made herbal concoctions that she sold to help with the commune's expenses. She knew nothing about her mother's life before the farm. That lack of knowledge ends when her grandmother's lawyer arrives, and Alex is whisked away to the oppressive environment of Savannah, Georgia, with her wealthy grandmother and the group she heads. The Magnolia League is comprised of the women and their daughters who control the wealth and society of Savannah. Alex, with her dreds, pudgy figure and "hippie" environmental concerns, is not the ideal "heir to the throne" her grandmother had envisioned. She is taken under the wing of two young Magnolias who make her over and introduce her to the Magnolias' use of hoodoo, both the simple and more complex. Ignoring her grandmother's directions, she spends some time with Sam Buzzard, a man from a family whose lineage is as old as her family's. As she spends more time with the Magnolia's, she finds out how their families and the Buzzard family are intertwined. Suspense builds, and just as the reader thinks Alex has become a true Magnolia, a spark of the old Alex resurfaces. Slang, current abbreviations and technology will date the book quickly, but will not deter most readers. The use of magic to solve problems will appeal, but may lead to challenges in some communities. Reviewer: Suanne Roush
Kirkus Reviews

A Southern take on the ever-popular supernatural thriller.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Lee, who has been raised on a communal farm in California, loses her mother to a car accident and is sent to Savannah, Ga., to live with a wealthy grandmother she's never meant. Hippie, über-socially-conscious Alex is told that, by birthright, she belongs to an exclusive social club, The Magnolia League, comprised of rich, beautiful and fashionable women. Two other girls in the League are given—and actually begin to make progress on—the herculean task of transforming Alex into a true Magnolia before the upcoming debutante ball. The slow pace of the novel's first half may cause readers to lose interest, but those who persevere will discover the answer to some building questions. For starters: How do the women in the league become and stay so perfect, and why don't any of them leave Savannah? And who is the hauntingly beautiful Sina, the only person who seems to scare the Magnolias? Once she begins to understand the darker side of the League'smagic, Alex agrees to flee Savannah with her boyfriend Thaddeus while she still can. She makes a run for it, but her grandmother might have one more trick up her sleeve guaranteed to make Alex stay.

Though it probably won't win any converts, this one will please current fans of the genre; expectsequels.(Supernatural thriller.12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316126915
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Series:
Magnolia League Series , #1
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
109,822
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Katie Crouch was raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Though she trained with friends as a debutante, she never made it to the ball. She is the author of the bestselling books Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs, and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Glamour, the Guardian (London) and McSweeney's. She splits her time between San Francisco and Edisto Island, South Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

The Magnolia League


By Crouch, Katie

Poppy

Copyright © 2011 Crouch, Katie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316078498

1

You know what I hate? Sweet tea. Actually, I wouldn’t call it tea; I’d say it’s more of a syrup. Ninety-eight percent sugar, with a little water thrown in so you don’t totally shrivel up and die in this torturous heat. It makes you fat just to pick up a glass, and then leaves your teeth rotten after one sip. Leave it to the crazy citizens of Georgia to flip out over a drink like that.

Other things that aren’t so great? Georgia summers. Georgia boys. My grandmother’s rules. My entire new freakin’ life in Georgia.

I know, I know. I have a bad attitude right now. Reggie would say I’m being a buzzkill. And if I had a buzz to kill, he’d be right. So, please, don’t hate me—I mean, really, this sour, bitter Alex is a new thing. Back in California, I was always a hey-the-grass-is-green-right-here kind of girl. But I’m not in California. As you might have guessed from this pity party of mine, I’m in Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, to be exact.

I’ve been here for two weeks, living in my grandmother’s pre–Civil War, twenty-three-room mansion on Forsyth Park. She’s tiny, but the ceilings and doorways seem designed for giants. As for practicality… well, six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a gallery, a ballroom, and a carriage house—all for one lady. And the decor? It could be truly rad, but she’s pretty much gone with the doily look. Think Southern fussiness meets the Addams Family. I’ve seen funeral parlors cozier than this place.

According to my grandmother and her lawyer, I’m doomed to call Gaston Street home until I’m eighteen. I’m sixteen now, so I guess that means I’m here for two more years. I’m pretty sure that’s longer than a stiff jail sentence for dealing weed.

“Alexaaaaandria!”

I’m Alex. That’s what everyone but my grandmother calls me, so that’s my real name. But I can’t seem to get her to remember that.

“Alexaaaaandria! Are you up here?”

I am up here. Yup. I’m sitting on the railing of the upstairs porch, trying to get a little pot out of this pipe. It was the last present my boyfriend, Reggie, gave me, and I’m hoping that somehow it’ll make it feel like he’s here.

I hear her heels clicking around the rooms. I haven’t seen her in any shoes other than heels. Always in a designer outfit, always in heels. Don’t be fooled, though. My grandmother is a ninja with brass knuckles, dressed for a tea party.

“I’m out here,” I call.

The footsteps slow for a moment as she homes in on her target. Then the pace quickens as she comes in for the kill.

Rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-rap-RAP.

Here she is: my grandmother, Mrs. Dorothy Lawson (first dead husband) Lee (second dead husband, and my mom’s dad). By the way, Mr. Lee, I’ve just been informed, descended from the famous Confederate general. Not exactly a direct descendant, but a cousin’s cousin or something. It’s kind of crazy, because that’s my last name too.

She just goes by Miss Lee now. Doesn’t want me to call her Grandma, because it “ages” her. That’s cool with me. And truthfully, she does look pretty young to be a grandmother. Her dark, shiny hair (no gray in sight) is tied back, with some perfectly placed tendrils escaping around her oval face. There are a few laugh lines (not that I ever see her laugh) around her dark green eyes, but other than that, her face is pretty much as smooth as mine. She is what Big Jon would call “doll pretty”—meaning she looks so delicate that it seems you might break her if you shook her hand too hard.

“Alexandria, it smells like a skunk daaaiiied up here.” She has one of those Southern accents that manages, despite the region’s reputation for hospitality, to be completely disapproving and unfriendly all the time.

“It’s the herb,” I say.

“The what?”

“It’s pot. I’m smoking pot.”

My grandmother puts one hand on her hip and points a surprisingly young-looking finger at me with the other. All available body parts seem to drip with jewels.

“Are you trying to per-tuuuuhhb me, Alexandria?”

“Sort of.”

“Well, if you’re goin’ to smoke, at least smoke tobacco. I’ve got stock in Philip Morris, which means, since you are the sole heir to my estate, you do too. Anyway. Pahhh-lease dress. Your Magnolia sisters will be here this afternoon. I’ve arranged for two girls from your debutante class to come over shortly after my meeting.”

“I am dressed.”

“Alexandria, you are wearin’ rags.”

“I’m wearing shorts. And this is vintage. Look: the Grateful Dead, Greek Theatre, 1985. Arguably the Dead’s sickest show ever. This shirt’s probably worth, like, fifty bucks.”

“Please, Alexandria.”

“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.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Magnolia League by Crouch, Katie Copyright © 2011 by Crouch, Katie. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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