The Magnolia League
This is another book that I was very torn about. Due to this, this particular review will contain some minor spoilers about the book.
WHAT I LIKED
Crouchs' writing style is marvelous. It's quirky and cute and it's what drove me onwards to finish the book.
Crouch has actually done a little bit of research on hoodoo culture, which is always nice to see when you're reading a book that has basis in real-life, rather than original mythology. As someone who was once a practitioner of Vodou, she hit the nail on the head a lot of the time. Doc Buzzard was a real character in hoodoo history, and is mentioned in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (a book published in 1994, movie followed in 1997). Although, with the small amount of research done – it did sort of feel like she just “copy and pasted” information she got off of wikipedia.
WHAT I DIDN'T
I absolutely did not like the protagonist. She annoyed the flippin' crap out of me. To begin with, she's a hippie – the type of hippie that constantly has to lecture people about how bad their lifestyle's are. She talks to people about oil in Iraq, blood diamonds – making her the most pretentious protagonist I have ever come across. I was rolling my eyes every time she was with her new friends, because she always had something to say about how wrong their lifestyle was compared to how she was raised. There were times I just wanted to smack her.
The cover of the book panders to the teen audience, showing a tiny girl with long luscious hair cascading down around her. Our protagonist, Alex, does not look like this until a little more than 3/4 of the way through the book. Would it really have been so bad to show Alex in her “true form” of a pudgy, dreadlocked hippie teenager? Maybe I'm the one who's being pretentious now – but I felt the cover was designed to sell a sexy chick, rather than focusing on what Alex actually looks like.
Every time I read a book – my husband tries to guess what rating I will give it – at first he shot out a 3 because he had asked me near the beginning of the book (when I didn't quite hate Alex as much as I do now), but it slowly wound itself down to a 2 because of the plot and other characters.
Crouch likes to throw out high end names, expecting the young readers to know exactly what she's talking about when referring to things they wouldn't be able to afford unless they were part of the Kardashian family.
At the end, the book felt very rushed – as though Crouch just gave up and needed to find a way to leave a cliffhanger without much previous explaination. After reading an article she wrote, I discovered that I hit the nail on the head. She was preggers and sick of writing and handed the book over to a friend to finish. * sigh *
Avoid this one.