Written by: Katie Crouch
Released: May 3, 2011 by Poppy
Summary: 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.
Not what I was expecting at all. Since Crouch is already an established author with a following, I knew to expect something well written and imaginative from her first YA novel, but I never would have thought that this calibre of story was possible. And while I know that many will disagree with me, I really loved this story. It caught my attention from the very beginning and I had to continue reading right until the very end. This, of course, led to a marathon read after I couldn’t sleep once done reading this novel.
Alexandria (Alex) was one of those whiney characters who knows that she’s being a brat and even calls herself out on it, but circumstances taken into consideration, her behaviour is warranted. After that, her constant harping on spending money and the like got to be a little irritating, but once again it was all a part of her past and her character, so I let it slide. Where things really get interesting as far as her characterization goes is when she gets the proverbial slap in the face from reality. Then everything goes insane. What I really didn’t like about her was (after she stopped complaining) how she grasped onto the entire Magnolia offering as soon as she realized just how much it could benefit her. She went from a character with morals to one who cared more about how she looked in about 2.5 seconds. But I did love how she reigned herself in just in time for the ending.
I loved Alex’s grandmother Miss Lee and how she was described as a “ninja with brass knuckles, dressed for a tea party”. Seriously, she is one fierce character. Plus, what sort of grandmother would catch her granddaughter smoking pot and then just tell her that if she’s going to smoke she should just smoke tobacco since their family has stock in it. I hope that I’m half as cool as that once I’m in my sixties.
I loved the incorporation of hoodoo into the story and how it explored both the negative and positive points of it. It was great how it was neither condemning it as a reality or pushing all of its chips into it either. What it did was skate that thin line between, which was fantastic. Plus, hoodoo isn’t something that we see in the everyday paranormal YA novels, so this was something new to read and it was fantastic.
This book has just about everything to offer a reader. There’s the paranormal edge, the romance, the mystery, the magic, plus death, life and everything in between. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel and I just hope that its release date hurries up and gets here as soon as possible. The ending in this novel definitely leaves you wanting more and needing to know what is going to happen. Plus, it leaves several mysteries unsolved. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who thinks it looks like a great read and I would suggest to try it even if it you don’t think that it does. I’m personally giving it an 8/10.
My many thanks to netGalley and Poppy who made it possible for me to read this before its publication date.