Magnolia League Series by Katie Crouch
Published between 2011-2012
While I personally enjoyed this series, I realized after reading the books that a lot of people on Goodreads did not enjoy it at all. In fact, the first few reviews I stumbled upon gave it a 1 star. I honestly found that surprisingly. Though it certainly does not warrant a 5 star for either books, I did not find the books to be appalling. In fact, I found them both quite enjoyable with a few exceptions, of course. Also, I’m fairly certain there is supposed to be a third book because the second book left a lot of questions unanswered and honestly, it was a cliffhanger but since the book was published in 2012, it’s been 3 years and there is no news about a third book so perhaps not. It really does leave the readers wondering about a few certain key things, though.
The beginning of the book definitely had an interesting premise. The main character, Alex, just lost her mother from a car accident and was forced to move to Savannah, Georgia where her grandmother resided rather than stay at the nature/pot/hippie farm in California. She certainly had a lot of attitude and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about saving the environment, and other related topics. She didn’t understand the use of expensive clothes when everything she owned were hand-me-downs. The one thing that kept circling was Alex’s size – I guess she was fat but it was never really detailed on how fat she was which I honestly thought was strange because she barely ate any sweets, ate super healthy since she grew up on a hippie farm, yet was somehow fat? So either she wasn’t really “fat” or had some sort of genetic disorder that caused her to gain weight like no other. I wished the author went into detail because it would’ve helped me in picturing her in my head. After all of the hoodoo/magic spells that were going on, she lost a ton of weight and became like a normal Magnolia girl – less snarky, more pretentious, more bimbo-like and significantly less brain cells. While this was unfortunate, I still felt that deep down, she was still the same but more cynical on life.
Hayes and Madison came across as the typical bitches you would find in a high school and it wasn’t until the second half of the book that their southern sweetness came shining through. I felt that the transition between the awkward friendship between them and Alex and the sisterhood of the Magnolia league was a bit odd since it was clear they didn’t like each other and was in fact forced to hang out with her but then somehow, towards the second half, they became super close friends and Alex would trust them with her life. I just wish the transition was a bit smoother.
The romance between Alex and Thaddeus was also a bit bland. I didn’t see any interest from Thaddeus’ side until after Alex turned skinny whereas from Alex, she found him incredibly attractive but that was it. There weren’t any deep interest between the two of them – in fact, I got the impression that they liked each other because Alex found him attractive and after she lost weight from the magic spells, he liked how she looked. It just seemed very shallow but somehow they were in love by the second book so I was a little confused by that. I wish the romance was portrayed in a better way.
Overall, I still enjoyed both books but I wish the ending of the second book was more conclusive rather than leaving it incredibly open-ended. Otherwise, I guess I would recommend to those who are interested in magic in a southern setting.