Saturday, May 14, 2011

Show Me Five Review of
Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

Saturday, May 14, 2011
It's been a while since I have done a  Show Me Five review, which  was originally created by That's a Novel Idea as a weekly Saturday meme and has become a favorite review format of mine. So I decided that it was definitely time.

The questions number indicates the number of answers provided. I enjoy using this format to do reviews because it allows me to put my own flair to it, and I have since developed this format into one of several book projects my students use for their independent reading.

1 Name of Book
Magnolia League 
by Katie Crouch 

2 Words that describe the book
Hoodoo  Southern style

3  Setting where it takes place/characters

While the main setting of the Magnolia League is Savannah, Georgia, the fact that Alex was raised on a commune plays an intricate part in the development of her character. The stark disparity in the two settings is carefully described in great detail giving the reader a true understanding of just how difficult it is for Alex when she has to leave the commune, the only place she has ever known as home, for the stifling heat and primness of her grandmother's mansion in Savannah. 

Not only does Alex have to adjust to losing her mother in a tragic car accident, but she is forced to leave her home and live with Miss Lee (who refuses to be called grandmother) in a sprawling mansion in Savannah's Forsyth Park district. 

Besides the obvious differences, Alex finds that the values she learned  on the commune are the exact opposite of those she must contend with in Savannah.

Along with the extraordinary setting that takes such an important role in the story and is so beautifully developed  Crouch, did an amazing job with all her characters, but especially Alex. Physically Alex is the exact opposite of the girls she meets and who make up her contemporaries in the Magnolia League. Alex wears dreadlocks, which her grandmother states is ugly enough to haunt a nine room house", has less than perfect skin, is pudgy, and views designer clothes as a total waste of money. She could "argue with a wall" and prefers riding a bike to driving around in a gas guzzling car.

4 Likes and Dislikes 

  •  I loved all the characters in this book. Miss Lee, Alex's grandmother was the picture of the aging Southern matriarch. She is manipulative and the Queen Bee of the Magnolia League intent on making Alex into a Magnolia so that one day she can take over her role. Madison and Haze, as the new generation of the Magnolia League were perfection. Madison's snarky distaste of Alex's hair, clothing and manners was always humorous, while Haze genteel way managed to offset Madsion's harshness. I also like Derek, Alex's first friend outside the League. He was a terrific addition because he accepted Alex and saw her as a strong intelligent girl and never judged her for her looks or manners.

  • Crouch's plot was intricately woven into the setting and the characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle nuances about how hoodoo was responsible the Magnolia League's power.
  •  Thad, Haze's brother and Alex's love interest, was the only character I wish more time had been spent on. I felt that he was there but needed more development. Although by the end of the book he was beginning to be defined more and I hope his role in the next book is more prominent.

  • The ending was a complete surprise! I really did not see it coming and I while I hate having to wait for the next book to find out what happens next, I am very excited too. 
5 Cherries or Less 
I am giving Magnolia League five cherries because I really enjoyed every aspect of the book. I loved the concept of the long history of the League gaining power, beauty, and money from hoodoo, I adored Alex and all of the secondary characters and felt Crouch did an fantastic job developing each one. I love how at the end I learned that an even bigger mystery will have to be dealt with in the next book. I also feel that Crouch's Magnolia League is a very unique addition to the paranormal genre and highly recommend it.


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