Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

2014, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Magnolia by Kristi CookMagnolia by Kristi Cook
Published by Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: August 5th 2014
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover | Source: Borrowed
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

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 a great surprise. I’ve seen this book described as a Romeo and Juliet story in reverse and that is exactly what it is. Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden come from two families that have been friends for generations. The Caffertys and Marsdens have been tied together by friendship for generations but never by marriage. Finally Jemma and Ryder are born and their parents start planning their future. Instead of trying to keep them apart their families have been pushing them together since they were babies. Their mothers have their whole lives planned for them, but Jemma and Ryder have no intentions of going with that plan. First of all they hate each other and secondly both of them have their own dreams that are nothing like the ones their parents have set out for them.

The story is told from Jemma’s point of view. Right away we see her frustration with her family and the path they’ve set out for her. She hates Ryder not only because of the pressure from their families but because of events that happened years ago. Ryder seems just as annoyed with her and tries to avoid her as much as he can.

The parents in this book drove me crazy! It’s mostly the mothers who go overboard. It’s one thing to be involved in your chlid’s life, but it’s another to plan out their lives for them. Jemma and Ryder’s parents have been pushing them together since birth and no matter what either of them say they just keep on pushing. It’s a little crazy at some points. I definitely understood why Jemma was so against giving into their plans, no one ever asks Jemma or Ryder what they want and no matter how much they protest their mothers just won’t stop.

This book isn’t just about a love story. There’s a big hurricane that passes through their town that causes a lot of chaos and draws Jemma and Ryder closer together. During the hurricane Jemma’s family is away dealing with her older sister Nan, so of course the families decide it’s best if Ryder goes over to stay with Jemma during the storm. While the storm wrecks havoc on Magnolia, Jemma and Ryder are stuck and have no choice but to talk to each other and end up dealing with some of their issues.

If you want a fun, contemporary read this book is definitely for you. This story had my attention from beginning to end. It’s a sweet romance that isn’t too sappy or unrealistic.



Tamara @ Gone with the Words

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

About Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Tamara is a 20 something living in Florida. She spends most of her time obsessing over fictional characters and reading anything she can get her hands on. She loves superheroes, comic books, and her dog. You can usually find her curled up with a good book or watching her favorite TV shows or movies.

7 Responses to “Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook”

  1. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I definitely liked Magnolia. I didn’t 100% love it, but I’m glad I read it. I think the author did a good job of portraying the parents well, so it didn’t get too creepy with them pushing Ryder and Jemma together.

    • Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      I’m glad you liked it. The parents drove me crazy, the constant pushing them together was a little too much at times. Thanks for commenting :)

    • Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      Read it!! It’s a really fun book with some great characters. I think you’d enjoy it :)

  2. Jessica

    Oooh I’m glad you liked it! I’m a huge fan of contemporary YA and I’ve had my eye on this one ever since it came out. I’m actually glad that the parents are part of the book, even if they’re overboard. Too many YA books have MIA parents and I hate how unrealistic that is. I’ll definitely have to grab a copy now. Great review!

    -Jessica (Peace Love Books)

    • Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      Tamara @ Gone with the Words

      I hope you like it! The parents definitely aren’t MIA, that is one of the most interesting parts of the book. They drove me a little crazy but that’s what parents are supposed to do :) Glad you liked the review!

  3. Danielle @ Love at First Page

    So glad you loved this one, Jess! I thought it was a really cute, fun story, and I love the idea of them admitting their feelings in a life threatening situation. I wish that part had been longer, actually. Plus the sexual tension was delicious. :) Lovely review, girl.

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