Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Magnolia by Kristi Cook

by Kristi Cook
384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Rate: Loved it

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 is not a typical romance. Jemma and Ryder represent a modern Romeo and Juliet, but all the details backwards. There's no love at first sight in their story, let's just say that there's no love between them, only hate. And their families don't hate. At all. In fact, they like each other so much that you cannot see a Cafferty without a Marsden and they are together all the time.  
For a long time, both families have tried to be one family once and for all, and when Jemma and Ryder were born it was like destiny. Their mothers had everything planned for them since the day they were born. Even their wedding! So if you are looking for some real Shakespearean-style feuding, this is not your story.

"You know those tragic stories where two kids from feuding families fall in love? Okay, flip that inside out and turn it on its head and you've got our story, Ryder's and mine."

Magnolia is a book that captivated me from the first page. Not only for the life of the main character and her unique story, but for the main character's attitude: she is fun and easy to read, with real problems and a believable character, one that the readers can really identify themselves with. And she has a good and strong opinion for everything. Despite this, Jemma is still a teenager and she has problems, too. Problems about college, about not following the future her mother has planned for her,  being rebellious with who she wants to date, with something happening to someone from her family and with a lot of other stuff. That makes the character more approachable and creates a perfect timeline throughout the story.
Jemma has, what we could call, her life planned. But not because she wants to. Her mother has planned along with her archenemy's mother and her mother's best friend, her life and therefore Ryder's. They want so bad that the two of them end up together, that they conform with that for their kids. No bigger dreams like other parents, just a union between families. And that's what drives Jemma crazy. That and, of course, Ryder. And that only makes us laugh a little bit more.
Ryder is definitely in our Fictional Boy's List and, for what Jemma describes us, he's pretty hot, talented and intelligent. I know girls, the exact definition of Perfect Fictional boy. And he won our heart from the very first page, even when he was yelling at Jemma.
Getting to know this character is my favorite part. It's not nothing immediate, that happens without a reason. Following perfectly the plot, there are some intimate interactions with this character that makes us readers want to have a boy like Ryder to our side.
Their hate is what I like to call "teenage hate". It's obvious that deep down they care about each other, I mean, they have grown up together, like brothers, they need to feel a little bit protective over one another, right? But they are always arguing and saying how much they hate each other. That's teenage hate. All those hormones jumping at the very opportunity of a confrontation. And it's what makes this story both interesting and hilarious.
I also loved that the author used the "acts" as chapters. The book is divided in three acts reminding us the well-known story of Romeo and Juliet not only by twisting their story, but in each act or chapter there's a quote from Romeo and Juliet. I loved it.
If I had to choose my favorite scene/part/act of the book would be the storm. The storm changed all and brought some truth to their lives along with devastation, drama and love. If you read this book you'll understand what I'm saying.
Magnolia definitely has it everything. A swoony ending, some unexpected turns, funny and remarkable characters, undeniable drama, a unique and not repetitive story and a love-hate romance.
With this book Kristi Cook reminds us that there's a very thin line between love and hate and that impossible and star-crossed romances are overrated! Jemma and Ryder have their own personal Romeo and Juliet story, but with lots of hate in the middle and if I were you, Book Addicts, I wouldn't miss this epic, unique, hilarious and amazing love story. 

Logan Lerman as Ryder
Holland Roden as Jemma

What do you think, Book Addicts?

And because we completely adore this couple, we did a playlist just to bring some music to Jemma's story!

Act I:
Just a little bit – Kids of 88
Follow – Crystal Fighters
Stubborn Love – The Lumineers
New Moon – Alexandre Desplat
You Make Me Feel…- Cobra Starship ft. Sabi
I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylow Swift
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
Time Is Running Out – Muse

Act II:
King and Lionheart – Of Monsters and Men
Bleeding Out – Imagine Demons
Get Out Alive – Three Days Grace
Begin Again – Taylor Swift
The Lightning Strike – Snow Patrol
With Love – Christina Grimmie
Spark – Fitz and The Tantrums
Dark Paradise – Lana del Rey
Tomorrow Will Be Kinder – The Secret Sisters

Act III:
If I Die Young – The Band Perry
Between the Raindrops – Lifehouse ft. Natasha Bedingfield
Hanging By A Moment – Lifehouse
Love Story – Taylor Swift
Red – Taylor Swift
Somewhere Only We Know – Keane
Crack The Shutters – Snow Patrol

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As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

That’s the official version–here are some other fun facts:

~ As an undergrad, I majored in History and minored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, I was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and I was a Dixie Darling. And yep, Brett Favre was our quarterback at the time!

~ I studied American History in grad school at Columbia University. I *love* history, especially the Civil War era (U.S.) and Regency- and Edwardian-era British history.

~ My all-time favorite book *and* movie is GONE WITH THE WIND. My favorite literary characters are Rhett Butler, Atticus Finch, and Mr. Darcy. I kind of want to add Peeta Mellark to that list!

~Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly?) I’m also a big fan of STAR TREK (the original series). I never can remember if I’m supposed to call myself a “Trekkie” or a “Trekker,” though!


  1. I think I want to read this book right now. I'm really jealous you got to read it, but I'm so glad you loved it!

    1. Oh, I loved it! I'm definitely pre-ordering it for Christmas. I may have let some clues to my boyfriend... hahaha I really, really enjoyed Jemma's story and I think you'd like it, too. Thanks for stopping by and reading my review ^^