Book one of the Magnolia series is a thrill ride that doesn’t know how to sit still. The story changes focus throughout and does so at points where the story begins to drag. This makes interest in the text a foregone conclusion. It never decreases.
As for the characters, there are two main ones. The protagonist and her mother. All the other characters are side. You could make the argument that the male viewpoint of one of the subplots is a main character, but how that particular thing wrapped up felt more like a sidequest than an integral part of the plot.
The protagonist–Karina Summers–is a character with the same internal conflict Katniss Everdeen has in the Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1. The general consensus is that if she’s supposed to be a strong female lead, why is she pining over someone. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, logically.
Thankfully once the inevitable sex scene happens between her and the younger boy Beau, the story takes a turn for the better. The plot points from the different viewpoints begin to weave themselves together. But by the end, all the tension is gone and you’re waiting for the book to end.
All in all, the story starts off strong, loses some steam in the middle, and any hope of an awesome climax is gone after Karina and her mother find out who’s behind everything.
The narrator does a fantastic job of keeping interest in the story, even if the content itself is borderline predictable. For that I’d give this a perfect score, but you don’t see a movie based on a reviewers opinion of the special effects.