The Magnolia League
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. (Goodreads)
When sixteen year old Alex's (short for Alexandria) mother dies in a horrific car accident, she has to leave her home (a hippie commune) in California to live with her grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. Alex is less than happy with her new life in Georgia, but little does she know what life is about to become. Her grandmother, who goes by Miss Lee, is not only a part of, but the head of a long standing society called the Magnolia League and that she is to be a part of this herself even if she doesn't want to be. She also learns that their wealth, power, and youth are from something deep, dark, and with a past as long as the League itself.
I absolutely loved the cover of this book! I thought it was gorgeous and intriguing. I have been wanting to read this for quite some time now and I am glad I was finally able to.
I was surprised by how I was drawn into this so quickly. I loved the world that was created - the southern tradition, everything. Being from the South, I like settings that take place here. Some of the places mentioned, I remembered from being there myself, so it made it easier for me to be drawn in.
Alex is spunky, non-conforming, and although for me she was a little whiny at times, I really liked her. She comes the Georgia with scraggly clothes and dreadlocks - not the least bit acceptable in this debutante world. Still, she was determined to not lose herself or the things she learned from her mother, who was also once apart of this high society. She quickly learns that there are darker elements running the show in Savannah and that everything isn't what it seems to be - even after she learns the truth behind the Magnolia League. She is faced with choices, both simple and incredibly difficult and even some that her life may depend on.
I can say I didn't much care for Hayes or Madison at first, the other two Magnolias her age, but in the end they grew on me a bit. Dexter was a good character as well, funny and someone who genuinely liked Alex when no one else seemed to give her the time of day (and those that did show her attention was only due to the fact that she was the granddaughter of the head of the Magnolias).
I liked Thaddeus a lot. Being the brother of Hayes, I liked that he didn't get himself caught up in the women's affairs in the League and that more than anything he wanted his sister to have a life outside of living to impress and be something more than someone in high society. He wanted her to live. I also loved the relationship between him and Alex. Perhaps a bit predictable, but I still looked forward to the time they spent together.
I will say my only complaint is the abrupt cliffhanger ending. It really sets you up for he next book in the series The White Glove War, which I am eagerly awaiting!