Author: Katie Crouch
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Series: The Magnolia League, book one
Source: E-galley requested from Net Galley
About the Book: After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?
As in her popular adult novels, Crouch's poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.
My Thoughts: A gothic Southern setting, an elite group, mysterious happenings, magical elements, superstition, folklore... what more could you ask for? Katie Crouch weaves together some of my favorite things in this compelling new series.
I know I've said it before but I have a thing for books set in the South. Add a gothic feel and some superstitions and you have me hooked! Think Beautiful Creatures, The Splendor Falls, Ruined, and now The Magnolia League. Alex goes from her comfortable life in northern California where she has the freedom to make her own choices to the stifling heat of Savannah. She doesn't want to be there, her grandmother is quite demanding, and everything about Alex seems to be wrong. I loved the setting and the atmosphere that the author built up. It added so much to the story.
I also really enjoyed the idea of The Magnolia League itself. A high society debutante group that practices hoodoo in secret? So great! It was interesting to have the history of the group unveiled as the book progressed. There were (and still are!) so many secrets and complications! The relationships within the group and between the members and the Buzzards were so varied and complex. They seem to need each other yet resent that need. It worked really well to have the reader thrown in the middle of it along with Alex.
My only complaint is that there were a few events/relationships that seemed a bit fast. I can't really share more without spoilers. It didn't ruin the book for me at all. The events happened toward the end so I'm hoping that more will be developed in the next book!