Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Paranormal Element: Hoodoo
Series: The Magnolia League
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I was initially attracted to this book because of the cover and the fact that I’ve been in search of a southern gothic young adult book that works for me. I was instantly sucked into this one and was charmed at first with the originality and innocent character of Alex but as the novel went on I was taken to an almost uncomfortable place because didn’t like how things were turning out. It was a weird mix of innocence and sexuality, southern gothic and new age liberal thinking…and while I think if the character of Alex made a few different choices, I really would have liked it, instead I felt disappointed and a little upset with Alex’s behavior. I did understand what the author was trying to convey, but unfortunately the delivery didn’t work for me. I really wanted to like Alex, which was all the more reason I hated what happened. It was as if a friend of mine betrayed me. It speaks volumes for the author’s writing ability, so take this review for what it is, my difference in opinion of the characters behavior.

Alex Lee: hippie chick, rainbow commune resident and recent orphan. Her mother died in a tragic accident and she has just now begun to settle into her skin again and find her place with her fellow hippies at the commune. Her world though, is turned upside down when a high-priced lawyer swoops in and brings her to her grandmother, now her legal guardian. Grandmother is a very wealthy woman in Savannah, Georgia and living with her is like living on a different planet, according to Alex. A world where people think she is a freak and they believe in things like Hoodoo and worship Dolce and drink sweet tea constantly. Her grandmother is a Magnolia and by blood, Alex is also. Magnolia’s are bred to be perfect. It might take a lot of work, but Alex’s grandmother is determined to make Alex into the perfect Magnolia even if it takes a few black spells.

I was really intrigued by this book at first. A hippie girl has to adapt to southern living…interesting. Unfortunately it all went wrong somewhere between the ladies chugging back the sweet tea and the magic that makes you instantly skinny and pretty. I really liked the character of Alex at first, but she devolved into a terrible waste of a girl by the end of the story. I don’t like my characters to back pedal – but if they do at least they have some epiphany at some point that directs them in a better direction. Or at least it is the devolution of a character, make it not so glamorous…Alex went from this cool hippie chick with dreds and not an awful thought in her head to this anorexic, materialistic, jealous and caustic flake. And I think it was supposed to be progression. To top it off, it was also one of those novels that pushed that a girl needs a man to get her through life. Alex wasn’t happy unless she was hooking up with a guy. Then dismissing Alex’s awful transformation, the author portrayed the South in the typical fashion – stuck up, racist people, sipping sweet tea, practicing antiquated witchcraft and having big extravagant parties in crumbling mansions. I just have to say – I’m from the South and I’ve never drank an ounce of Sweet Tea. I’ve also never gone to a debutante ball or practiced Voodoo, Hoodoo or anything with an OOOO.

I’m just rather tired of some of these Young Adult novels that push: Get skinny, get clear skin and you’ll get a boyfriend and boyfriends = happiness.

I would have been much more impressed if Alex would have kept the dreds, starting importing pot from her commune in California. Used the money she made from that enterprise to take down the vicious group of debutantes and then open a head shop on the beach, selling charms and other new agey paraphernalia to put herself through art school.

Recommended for young adult paranormal fans. This would be a good transition from contemporary to paranormal. There are some heavier subjects, such as sex and drugs so it is recommended for a more mature teen audience.


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