Monday, August 11, 2014

{YA Review} Magnolia by Kristi Cook

{YA Review} Magnolia by Kristi Cook

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. (Blurb via Goodreads)
{Details} ebook, 384 pages. August 5th 2014 by Simon & Schuster. Source: Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Kristi Cook and Simon & Schuster.

{Rating} 4/5 -- I really liked it!

"Glancing out my window, I hold up my finger and thumb, creating a little frame around Ryder Marsden, who stands outside on the lawn below." (page 1, line 1)
It was sweet and cute and emotional with a good dash of excitement. I love the concept, the twist on Romeo and Juliet. What if Romeo and Juliet hated each other? What if the Capulets and Montagues had been pushing Romeo and Juliet together since birth?

I liked Jemma, she's a loyal and supportive friend, a loving sister and daughter. She can also sew and shoot a gun better than anyone else. And she hates Ryder Marsden. With reason, of course, but boy, that girl can hold a grudge.

Ryder. Smart, hot, athletic, perfect. At least Jemma thinks he's perfect - and it's just another reason she hates him. He's really a good guy. A guy who wants Jemma to be happy, to follow her dreams. I wish that we could have seen things from his POV too.

Their lives are firmly entwined, born within weeks of each other, sharing cradles, growing up together, being best friends ... then things changed and everything went wrong. I won't spoil it for you - go read Magnolia!

I liked the use of the storm, showing how things can change in life threatening situations. And with the 'what happens in the storm shelter stays in the storm shelter' (loc 1411) seeing their vulnerabilities, giving them the chance and the impetus to be honest with each other about how they feel and what they want. But the storm changes more than just things between Jemma and Ryder.

Cook has a great writing style and the story never lagged. I loved the setting, Magnolia Branch,  Mississippi, and how Cook conveyed the feeling of the deep south, the sultry heat, the oaks and spanish moss, and the architecture. 

When I reached the end I had a smile on my face. I'll definitely be looking forward to future releases by Kristi Cook.

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