By: Melanie | October 1, 2014 | (36) Comments

Review: Magnolia by Kristi CookMagnolia by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 336
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

Magnolia was exactly what I needed: light, fun and undeniably cute. I saw this one on Edelweiss ages ago, but I quickly looked past it because I wasn’t so sure about it at first. But then the reviews started rolling in and I was absolutely certain that I needed this book in my life. And I was right. I totally did because this book rocked my socks off.

Magnolia has been described as a reverse Romeo and Juliet story. The families are basically stuck together with super glue as they do pretty much everything together, but the teenagers—Jemma and Ryder hate each other’s guts. The two family’s history dates all the way back to the Civil War, when a Cafferty saved a Marsden’s life. Ever since, the two families have been trying to unite. And when Jemma and Ryder are born in the same year, they see their opportunity—they plan to marry them. But of course, Jemma and Ryder, now both 17, hate the idea. They want nothing to do with each other.

Jemma’s narration was easy to love, it’s light and engaging and you can really feel her personality jump off the page. She’s are self-able young woman—she can knit AND shoot, so you don’t wanna mess with her. As for Ryder, I felt that he was just a little too perfect. He’s the top student in his class, he’s the star quarterback, he can play piano like no one else’s business and is really good looking. I’m sorry, but I just find that a little too hard to imagine. (Even though at the time I was like SWOOOOOON.) But, kudos to the author, she still makes her characters three-dimensional and have a lot of depth. These characters really grow onto you, and really quickly too.

Jemma and Ryder’s relationship were written very realistically. It wasn’t too fast or unbelievable, and the chemistry is real. I think I might have loved their relationship more at the beginning because of the banter and how they would try to hide their feelings for one and another—I don’t know why but I do just love watching characters suffer like this. MWAHAHA. That said, the romance was one that I loved as well, even though it got a little corny and too perfect towards the end.

The tornado aspect was also pretty darn awesome. I haven’t read a book where the characters try to survive the tornado before (though I’ve read one that was trying to survive the aftermath—Torn Away by Jennifer Brown) and it was a really gratifying experience. I loved the intensity of the setting, and it was really well written and the author doesn’t skimp over the details.

An all round excellent read, Magnolia was everything that I expected and left me fully satisfied with the fantastic characters and adorable romance. READ THIS, you’ll want it.

~Thank you Simon and Schuster for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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36 Responses to Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

  1. YES! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I’ve been on the lookout for a sweet southern romance for so long and it seems like this one is hitting the mark for everyone. It seems perfect for a rainy day in 😀 Fantastic review, Mel! <3
    Jess @MyReadingDress recently posted…Let’s Talk Transcendental Love: When Love Is All That MattersMy Profile

  2. I looooved this book! 😀 Glas you did too!

  3. I’ve seen some really positive reviews around for this one from other bloggers, and so I’m hoping to read it soon after seeing this lovely review as well 🙂 An intense setting and realistically told relationship seem like good ingredients for an enjoyable story.
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: No Place to FallMy Profile

  4. This book was so stinking cute, right? I’m really glad to see you enjoyed it, Mel. I loved it so much and yes, Jemma was a fantastic character. I loved her and Ryder came across as genuine. I didn’t care that Ryder was too perfect because I was SWOONING HARD for him! 😛
    Lovely review, Mel!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (88) : A Million Miles Away by Lara AveryMy Profile

  5. Yay! This book was freaking adorable. I had soooo much fun reading it! Glad to see you loved it too! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Books That Need More Attention Giveaway!My Profile

  6. I adored this one, it was just so damn cute. Those kind of feel good books I love 🙂
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday (125)!My Profile

  7. Jasprit says:

    Mel, your review basically sums up all my feelings for this book, I too went into this book not expecting a lot, but it certainly was one of the best contemporary reads for me last month. I loved all the scenes between Ryder and Jemma, the wait for them to finally realise what was in front of them was worth it! Fab review!! 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Monthly Recap: SeptemberMy Profile

  8. Zoe N. says:

    This sounds so intriguing Mel! 😀 The romance at least kind of reminds me of Flipped in a way, which I absolutely adored. 🙂 Jemma sounds like a pheonominal protagonist, and even though Ryder seemed a bit too perfect for you, I’m glad you found him three-dimensional nonetheless. Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…Aristotle & DanteMy Profile

  9. Amelia K says:

    Awesome review. I haven’t heard of this one until now and I really like the idea of a reverse Romeo and Juliet story. Totally love banter and hate to love romances, they’re just so much more satisfying, right?

  10. Bennari H. says:

    I don’t think I’d mind that much about the characters being a little too perfect if they’re swoon worthy hehehe. I like Ryder and Jemma already! Jemma sounds pretty awesome herself, she sounds very well rounded. Glad you enjoyed this one, Mel. I definitely want to read this!

  11. Seems pretty cool how there’s a tornado aspect in this book, you don’t get that a lot in fluffy contemporaries. I have read and loved Torn Away, and I am so game to read this just for the tornado, but it’s a total bonus now because you thought the romance and characters were amazing as well! Whooooot.

    Great review Mel 😀

  12. It’s the best feeling when a book surpasses your expectations, and Magnolia sounds super cute and light! I’m really glad the romance was believable and realistic, and you could feel the chemistry here. The tornado would add an interesting element to the mix too. Lovely review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Giveaway & Review: Brew by David Estes – Post-apocalyptic WitchesMy Profile

  13. Kelly says:

    This is probably one of the few fluffy and entertaining contemporaries I’ve seen in a while, if you’ve given it four stars, then it’s definitely worth adding. I really enjoy seeing characters play coy about their feelings too, especially when almost living in each others pockets. It’s realistic. Even as a teen, there’s no way you’d blurt out your feelings for that cute guy you were into, not even weeks into dating, never mind confessing your undying devotion. It’s about time YA started including realistic teen relationships. Brilliant review poppet <3 So glad you enjoyed it. The cover's a bit naff though.
    Kelly recently posted…The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh yes absolutely! I would be really interested to see what you think of this 😛 Thanks Kels! And yeah, not a huge fan of the cover either, at least it’s not that ugly though

  14. Oooh, I’m keen for a fluffy read and this sounds perfect. I love bantering characters that end up falling for each other as well! But what hooked me was definitely the realistic characters and the tornado aspect. I haven’t read a book that features the occurrence of a tornado either, so this is interesting. Thanks for sharing Mel, wonderful review xx
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Movie Review: Exclusive Premiere of Gone GirlMy Profile

  15. This is on my TBR so yay! I like light and fun reads, they’re perfect for days when you’re tired or lonely or bored. 🙂
    Joy @ The Bookshelf Intruder recently posted…Quick Updates Before I Go Island HoppingMy Profile

  16. Danielle says:

    I just love the sound of this one, relationships that are properly developed is always a joy and I’m drooling over that cover! Lovely review
    Danielle recently posted…Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire |ReviewMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I don’t think I’ve seen any negative review on this yet! I’m not a huge fan of the cover because I don’t like seeing character’s faces, but the colours are pretty nice. Thanks for stopping by, Danielle!

  17. Great review, girl! So happy you loved this. I had a similar experience – it was just the right book at the right time and hit all my happy buttons. The characters are so loveable (an endearing mix of perfect + infuriating) and the romance is so swoon-worthy!
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Month in Review: SeptemberMy Profile

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  19. buona says:

    Hmmmm! I think I never got around to finishinh this! You know what, maybe I will 🙂
    buona recently posted…Speed Views #1: Francine’s Contemporary MonthMy Profile

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