Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Pages: 384
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived. Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist. But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over."

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden's parents are best friends; in fact, the Cafferty and Marsden friendship dates back to the Civil War. Jemma and Ryder's mothers have been planning Jemma and Ryder's wedding since the two tots shared a playpen.  But the one major issue is the fact that Jemma and Ryder can't stand each other! To make matters worse, the families often eat dinner together, spend holidays together, and even vacation together.  Things get crazy in their town of Magnolia Branch when a dangerous hurricane comes ashore and both Jemma and Ryder realize they need each other more than anything.  Kristi Cook's Magnolia is an entertaining summertime read and even though at times it was predictable, I was still hooked.

Jemma is my kind of protagonist in Magnolia. She's feisty, loves her friends and family, and even though she seems like the usual "popular" girl, there is more to her. She shoots guns and has a great shot, one of the best in the state. Plus, she loves to make movies, which is one fact she doesn't share with many people.  Her parents want her to attend Ole Miss and pledge the sorority her mother and Ryder's mother did, but Jemma wants more. She wants to spread her wings and go to NYU to study film.  Her parents can't even fathom her leaving the state, let alone going to New York City.  What is a girl to do?

Ryder is a good guy and everything you would expect the town's golden boy to be.  He is one of the best football players in the state (he will probably be drafted by the NFL), he is respectful, caring, and everyone loves him.  So, why doesn't Jemma? It goes way back to an incident in middle school that Jemma refuses to forget; plus, Ryder doesn't even know why Jemma hates him, which frustrates him further in Magnolia

The town of Magnolia Branch is fantastic. This idyllic southern community is originally what hooked me in Magnolia. The description of the outdoor parties, the nearby creek, and the beautiful homes kept me engrossed.  I absolutely loved this southern setting and when the hurricane came ashore, I was genuinely worried for Jemma and Ryder.  Cook made this so much more than the usual contemporary novel as her element of suspense with the dangerous storm kept me on the edge of my seat. 

If you are looking for a fun contemporary read that has a fantastic southern location, a star-crossed lovers vibe, and some action surrounding a dangerous storm, check out Kristi Cook's Magnolia this summer.  


10 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked this as much as I did, Christina. I loved Ryder and Jemma's characters as well. They were both so loveable. I also really liked the setting as well.
    Great review!

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    1. The setting is really what drew me in…loved it and of course, Ryder was pretty great as well. :) Thanks for visiting, Nick!

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  2. I need to read this one! It's been on my radar but I just haven't gotten around to it yet!

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    1. I hope you can read it soon…it's really cute and perfect for a light summertime read. Thanks for visiting, Christianna!

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  3. I think this sounds like something I'd enjoy. I like reading books that are set in the South, especially contemporary romance. I will have to see if we have a copy at the library. Thanks for your review!

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    1. Me too…I know we both like a good southern setting. This book is really cute, perfect for summer…I hope you can check it out soon, Christina! Thanks for visiting.

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  4. This one sounds very cute - and I love the sound of the setting. It seems like Cook did a great job with that aspect of the book!

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    1. It's a really cute read and the setting is fantastic, one of my favorite aspects of the book. I think you'd like this one, Leanna. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Jemma seems like an awesome MC, and I love sound Magnolia Branch - sounds like a fantastic setting!

    I keep seeing good reviews for this book, I'll have to give it a shot. Thanks for the fabulous review! :)

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    1. Magnolia Branch was one of my favorite settings…I want to live there! ha! You should definitely read this one, Lea….perfect for summer! Thanks for visiting.

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