Magnolia by Kristi Cook

MagnoliaMagnolia by Kristi Cook

Publication Date: August 5, 2014 by Simon and Schuster

Genre: Young Adult Romance

[Special thanks to Simon and Schuster and Edelweiss for the review copy!]

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Romeo and Juliet in reverse…

I super like the idea of Ryder (Romeo) and Jemma (Juliet) hating each other and their families being friends. I also like it that there are other characters that made the story interesting. It’s not all about Ryder and Jemma.

As I read, I wanted more action, but it felt like nothing was really happening. I got a bit bored, but I decided to continue anyway.

The third quarter of the book got me hooked (finally!) and I started to enjoy what I’m reading. #BetterLateThanNever

The story got better and better and I’m glad that I chose to continue. This book did not disappoint.

A deeper analysis:

The book showed friendships between families and how traditions were passed from one generation to another. These ties are important bonds that often determine the future of the next kids in line.

Ryder and Jemma grew up together and their parents really want them to be together. They hate each other (more like Jemma hates Ryder, because…), and throughout the book, I felt Jemma’s strength. She knows what she wants, and she fights for it. She made some mistakes, of course. Mistakes due to a rebellious spirit inside her that wanted to prove that no one can control her.

I don’t really want to spoil anything, so all I can say about Ryder is that he’s a good example of a fine gentleman. (Redundant? Well, I couldn’t find more words. I like Ryder.)

I felt like Ryder and Jemma were trying to say something like this:

If we’re gonna fall in love, we want it to be our choice, not anyone else’s.

That’s an original quote, by the way. I can’t quote anything from the review copy, because I haven’t seen any quote that was officially released. (Sorry, guys!)

The value of family is very evident in the book. A certain situation made my heart break, and made me think about my family and how much I love them. We never know when someone will leave, so we should try to seize every moment. (Did that spoil anything? I hope not.)

Overall, I think Kristi did a great job. Even if Magnolia didn’t make it to my favorites this year, it’s still a book worthy to be read–especially for fans of Shakespeare. (The Romeo and Juliet feels!)

Some notes…

I think the cover went well with the theme of the book. I’m not sure about the title, though.

I like how the chapters were divided and how the writing transitioned from one chapter to another.

I didn’t see much development in the characters, especially because the strong characters were already strong from the beginning.

The Romeo and Juliet references helped a lot. I got to think about the other side of the what ifs. It was like exploring the possibilities of two people falling in love.


Initial Rating: 4.25/5

Bonuses: 0.25

Demerits: 0.25




Final Words:

Sometimes the wrong person turns out to be the one.


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