August 05, 2014

Review & Interview: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

by Kristi Cook
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014
by Simon & Schuster

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.


First, I would like to point out that if you do a research on this website you will see that I rarely EVER read and review young adult contemporary. I've always had a hard time getting into contemporary YA, and usually give up halfway through the book. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of MAGNOLIA, and it’s now one of my favorites! It has opened my eyes for YA contemporary, and since then I have read about fifteen YA contemporaries.

I think a big part of it was my obsession with natural disasters, and romance. I am always worried about hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, etc. It creeps me out to the point that I DO NOT watch the news. I also do not go to the beach because the ocean freaks me out. If I can avoid anything that has to do with the ocean, I do. Go ahead… laugh. I laugh at myself all the time, but it’s true. :)

Anyway, when I read the blurb to MAGNOLIA I immediately got hooked. I knew it was something I would really enjoy. It sounded like a very unique story, and something I haven't read before. I dived into the story and did not want to come out. Everything I had hoped for, and more was inside this story. Kristi Cook managed to blend together family, friendships, romance, and a disaster into one, perfectly. I am not sure if it’s my obsession with storms and natural disasters, but while reading I was literally waiting for the moment that all hell would break loose. The suspense was killing me!

I also loved the way Kristi Cook set things up for Ryder and Jemma. Things happen at the right moment, and I couldn't help but keep turning the pages. And the way they come to realize that they actually do care for each other was so amazingly sweet. The ending I did not see coming, but it was PERFECT! Not sure if there is more to come, but I sure hope so. I would love to get lost inside Ryder and Jemma’s world again.

MAGNOLIA is a beautiful tale of love, family, and unbreakable friendships. The perfect blend of family drama and sexy times, it’s an A+ read from beginning to end. It’s clean, and great for parents and their teens to share and talk about.

A Good Choice for Reading! :0)

Author Kristi Cook took the time to answer a couple of questions for us on MAGNOLIA. She even shares a small teaser. Check it out below!

1. Tell us a little bit about the story behind Magnolia. Is there any truth behind it?

No truth behind it at all! Mostly, I just wanted to write a story showcasing the small-town Mississippi setting--you know, one of those towns where everybody knows everybody else's business; where everyone is someone's cousin or your mom's childhood best friend. Mississippi just seemed like a perfect stand-in for a modern-day Verona.

2. The story takes place in Mississippi. Have you ever been there?

I went to college in Mississippi--I'm a proud graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi! So I was lucky enough to spend four years living in the Magnolia State.

3. Do you plan on writing a sequel, or a companion novel to MAGNOLIA?

I'm tempted to write a digital-only sequel--just a novella! But I'd really like to spend a little time with Jemma and Ryder off at college in New York.

4. Did you have to do any research on storms or natural disasters? Or did you write this from personal experience?

Oh, having grown up in Florida/Georgia/Louisiana, etc., I'm way too familiar both hurricanes *and* tornadoes! So...I didn't really have to do much in the way of research. Plus, you know how Jemma is obsessed with watching the Weather Channel?! Yeah, that's me, too.

5. Share a small teaser with our GCReaders.

“You awake?” Ryder asks.

“Yeah,” I mumble sleepily. “Is it morning yet?”

“Not quite. Soon.”

I nod, and we both fall silent. Inexplicably, I find myself scooting closer to him, fitting myself against his side, seeking his warmth.

He puts an arm around me, drawing me closer.

I let out a contented sigh. There’s something so familiar—and yet so foreign—about his closeness. I think about those shared cribs, the communal pack-n-plays our mothers insisted on. Maybe that explains it—old memories, too far out of reach to be easily accessed, but there all the same.

That’s why this feels so…right. It must be.

There you have it! Make sure to get your copy of MAGNOLIA! You won't regret it! 

 Amazon † B&N † iBooks 

You can find Kristi Cook at

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