The Magnolia League (Magnolia League Series #1)by Katie Crouch
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
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.
"[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.
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
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)
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.
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Read an Excerpt
The Magnolia League
By Crouch, Katie
PoppyCopyright © 2011 Crouch, Katie
All right reserved.
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.
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.
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.
“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?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
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.
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