[eARC Review] Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Title: Magnolia
Author: Kristi Cook
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: eARC received from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

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.

This book was my first ever Kristi Cook book, i had seen her other series on the shelf, and I honestly think I one on my shelves somewhere in my house, but I have never read her. So when I saw that this was a sort of retelling of Romeo and Juliet I knew i wanted to read it. And after finishing it i have to say i will picking up more from Kristi in the coming months.

The set up for this story was incredible. I was pulled in right from beginning because I was so fascinated by the family dynamic. I have a large enough family, and you can we are close sometimes but not the way this family is close. The fact that Jemma's mother was setting her up with the boy next door was crazy in and of itself, but the fact that she actually thought they would get married someday was astonishing to me. I have never seen a mother that intent on being a part of her daughters life, and I loved reading it. What I think I liked the most was the fact that as a reader I was always on Jemma's side when it came to her mother, but I also saw that it was done out of love...even when it got to be a bit much.

Jemma and Ryder's relationship was amazing to read. Their development from hatred to lust to love was incredible to read, it felt so real for me and I believed their experiences. But add in a hurricane that ravages their small town made it all the more dramatic. I think I just like how slow the progression of their love was, it was not instant, it was not faked. The fact that these two characters were stuvk alone together during a storm obviously made for a great way for them to hash out their true feelings, but for me it was more than that. It felt like I was privy to something secret. It felt like i was intruding on their story, and for me that is when I knew I loved this book.

My only issue with this book was the conflict near the end. I knew it was coming and it made sense for the character, but for its been overdone. Even tho Kristi did put a twist on it that made me pause and say "huh that was interesting" I still think it could have done without it.  But overall this book was an amazing contemporary read with characters that feel real and genuine in a story that has been done before, it felt fresh and new.

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