Review The Magnolia League 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 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.
As a transplanted West Coast to Southern Girl myself, I LOVED this story. Well let me re-phrase. I loved Alexandra Lee’s sarcastic takes on all things Southern paranormal, Southern tradition, and Southern quirk. I loved some of the first lines about how sweet tea makes her feel. How she hates how the tea is more like syrup than drinks. This is the story of the typical hippie chick getting to be immersed in Southern culture.
In the beginning Alex is a dread-locked pot smoking hippie who hates everything the League stands for, and yet she lets her Grandmother turn her into one of the Magnolia League Southern Stepfords, but it isn’t until she learns that the Magnolia League is held beholden to not just the hoodooun family the Buzzards but other evil groups as well, learning that with poularity, money, and power comes a very large price, that she begins to back away.
The Magnolia League is a story about prices, and about learning the ropes, learning the systems before one can begin to make changes for the better. The book could have been situated anywhere, but by placing it in the extremely superstitious city of Savannah Crouch played into the existing mystery about the history of the city and the history of the voodoo and hoodoo to increase the feeling of the oppressive history behind the Magnolia Leagues doings.
I loved the idea that Alex is an emotionally needy teenager who is able to lose herself in a Skull-s like society, BUT I didn’t feel the neediness that I would want to feel from her in order to be fully entranced by the story. The emotional depth, the pull the way the story was executed was not as intense as I thought it would be or as deep as I wanted it to be.
I wanted The Magnolia League to give Alex more pain, more internal turmoil more angst. She’s a strong character, or she wants you to believe she is strong, yet she allows herself to be changed, allows herself to be immersed, allows The Magnolia League to take her over but she is supposed to be strong? There was no real impetus for her change other than to fit in and that doesn’t shout “strong female character” to me.
I liked the idea of this story, and I wish that the emotion had been more intense, and it would have seemed a bit more realistic.
Overall Rating: B