The Magnolia League (Magnolia League Series #1)
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The Magnolia League (Magnolia League Series #1)

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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

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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:
9780316078498
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Series:
Magnolia League Series, #1
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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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Meet the Author

Katie Crouch was raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where she attended Cotillion training but never was a debutante. She studied writing at Brown and Columbia Universities and now lives in San Francisco. Katie's second novel, Men and Dogs, was published by Little, Brown in April 2010.

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The Magnolia League 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
ReadergirlReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Magnolia League is Savannah's long-standing debutante society, and Alexandria (Alex) Lee is an unwilling member. After her mother's death, Alex is moved from California to Savannah to live with her grandmother Dorothy, who also happens to be the president of the Magnolia League. Alex's mother, a one-time member of the league, left Savannah to live on a commune. When Alex arrives she is totally out of place. She's pudgy, has dreadlocks and likes to smoke pot. She is everything the Magnolia League is not. Her grandmother enlists the help of Hayes and Madison, two girls Alex's age and future members of the League, to turn her granddaughter into the debutante she is meant to be. The League goes against everything Alex believes in, and she questions everything about them, but soon she finds herself being sucked in to their seductive world of beauty, wealth and status. Alex discovers a link between the Magnolia's and the Buzzard family - a family that practices hoodoo magic, and soon she finds herself choosing between her freedom or the Magnolia League. Once you're in, you're in for life. I was completely sucked into this novel. I read it in a day. The writing is fresh, light and clips along nicely. The novel never seemed to drag, and it seemed that with every chapter a new piece of information was revealed. The ending definitely leaves the reader wanting more, and it's obvious there will be future books focusing on the Magnolia League. Katie Crouch gives us a book that is part "Mean Girls" and part "The Craft" (both movies that I love) with equal parts comedy, coming of age, magic and mystery. I'll be looking forward to the next installment.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book and its sequel! It is well written, along the same level as Twilight, which is important for this mom in her 30's . This kept me so entertained that I read it in one weekend with a toddler! Great reading for a younger generation as it was easy to get swept up in the romance of the South and the excitement of the characters! I am anxiously awaiting the next chapter to this saga! This is at the top of my gift giving list this year and for the next few! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was written for younger readers. I wish they would have classified it as young adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're an adult who enjoys reading some YA fiction now and then, I have to say that while this book was entertaining, it is definately more for a teen than adult. The premise is interesting and unique, as is the main character, the writing isnt bad..but there were some parts where conversation didnt flow well, some holes in the plot and an ending that didnt quite seem to fit. I think the author could have developed this story a little more and made it richer. Not sure if i would continue reading the series or not...but if you just want a quick and different read, give it a shot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. Katie Crouch has done an awesome job with this book. You should SO read it! And if you not up for buying it, go check it out at your library. You wont be sorry you did!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading this book gives the reader a taste of the Low Country and the hoodoo and magic brought to the area from the African culture and elsewhere. Alexandria Lee is first seen as a scrappy 16 year old girl who is surviving with her mother at a commune in California. But a tragic accident claims her mother and Alex is forced to live with her grandmother in Savannah and adjust to a different wary of life. Along the ay we find that Alex is there to follow her mothers steps and be a Magnolia Girl just like she was and inherit the magic that is held there. The dialog is very fresh and you never feel as if anything is too staged. You have a few scenes that are predictable, but on the whole the story holds your attention and you really never see the ending coming till you turn the page. The ending is okay, but set up for a sequel and I for one want to get my hands on it so I can see what happens to Alex.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VysBlog More than 1 year ago
The Magnolia League wasn't one of my favorite reads but it sure was entertaining. Alex who was raised into a care free lifestyle is now shoved into a world of manners and etiquette. She struggles fitting in with everyone in Savannah and an even harder time socially. Especially since she's attending school for the first time at age 16. To make things even harder on Alex, she finds herself being part of a society, the Magnolia League. Alex has been hearing about how greedy and self fish the Magnolias are and even believed it herself. But when she digs deeper into the Magnolias, she finds these ladies are hiding much more under all that greed and power. Not only was it an enjoyable fantasy, but the plot was pretty interesting consisting of hoodoo and magic. I liked how the history of the Magnolias and the hoodoo were weaved in and not just chunks of writing. The writing was very simple and easy. Everything was very straight forward, but I was looking for that build up. The stories that were shared about Alex and her mother had to be one of my favorite parts because of how it showed how much they cared for each other. The idea of this society and the rules were very amusing. Instead of the "mean girl" posies, the Magnolias were started with the girl's grandmothers and continues throughout the family. Alex, who is now stepping into the society, is not like the other MGs. (Magnolia Girls) She starts the book off being spontaneous and outgoing. The deeper I get into the book the more Alex starts shifting into the typical MG that her grandmother wants her to be. She starts caring too much about her appearance and how her boyfriend, Thaddeus, truly feels about her. I know that's the usual thing, but I thought she'd be different and try to change things for the Magnolias. Maybe it was intentional that she starts going down that road and later on develops in the next books. The Magnolia League caught my attention by the gorgeous cover. To make things better it was a light easy read. I am curious about what will happen in the next book after a big cliff hanger. Plus I really want to read more about Alex and the person she'll become.
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haley legge More than 1 year ago
It was a great book and i finished it within hours of starting it but it leads you to think it will end differently than it does. I think the story is good but the ending sucks.
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