So I'm gonna get right down to it. I'm a southern girl and this book is so on point! I love how much description she put into this book, from the Spanish moss, old picnic tables, plantation style houses, down to the design on the china plates they rented. Magnolia is a twisted tale of Romeo and Juliet gone wrong! Ryder and Jemma pretty much hate each other (or so they think). It's a small mystery as to this mysterious 8th grade problem that sent their relationship rolling downhill. It may seem like a stupid, small issue but for an eighth grader who just might have realized that she has a crush on her friend, what happened could be a MAJOR deal, especially since she didn't know what was in his head. Magnolia has all the real life scenarios of rivalry, friendship, dating issues, inciting jealousy, and family problems. I love how Kristi got the two characters to address their issues, especially in a way where none of them can escape! Mostly because their stuck in a tiny closet under the stairs. Can you just hear my glee!?! When it comes to scenery everything just jumped out. It was like being transferred to Magnolia Landing and watching Jemma and Ryder's story unfold in front of me. Though a lot of the scenery reminded me of The Last Song movie, which wasn't too bad cause I liked his house in that anyway! 😜What I also thought was nice was that Kristi did not waste time on something unnecessary. What I mean is that she managed to focus on the important subjects and not waste time on unnecessary scenes like at school or with the other people because the story really is about Jemma and Ryder. I also noticed that there wasn't too much self discovery in this book, sure it was an ENORMOUS thing that Ryder and Jemma actually got together (secretly I think we all knew they would) but I'll admit I was expecting a little more. Jemma had her life planned out for her and so the only thing she manages to do (that does not have her parents approval) is well.....something....but I can't spoil it so I'm shutting up now. But I was hoping for a little more in that area. Oh and before I forget I wanted to just mention that I absolutely adore the way that the chapters go. They're not real chapters, instead they're Scenes and Acts, so like ACT 2, SCENE 4. It's pretty genius to form it like a play (especially since it's a twisted Romeo and Juliet tale). But back to the characters!
Jemma is a little bit of an easily pissed of character so expect to hear her chomping off Ryder's head even when he just says one little thing to her, and like a guy, he manages to just take it and leave. You do see the softer sides of both of them though which makes their relationship even sweeter and delicate cause they truly don't realize what's been staring them in their faces for years. I will mention this, the book has a bit of language so for someone who is not ready to see some vibrant speech, this book may not be for you...or of course you could commit the ultimate sin by whiting out the words and replacing them with new words...of course if you decide to do this do not do it in your library's copy, make sure it's your own 😉
Magnolia gets a 5 out of 5 stars!