S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett is a young adult thriller that takes place at a boarding school where Greer has been sent on scholarship, only to find she has no friends until the most popular kids invite her for a mysterious weekend of huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. But is Greer finally fitting in? Or is something more sinister going on?
I really liked the boarding school setting of this book, and it was a really unusual boarding school because there, where the students are really focused on the British upperclass, the most popular kids shun technology. As a result, the story is an interesting mix of the past and present. The story is very well-written and just felt articulate in a way that makes me feel like readers of adult as well as young adult fiction would enjoy it. That said, the pace, especially in the first third of the book, is slow. I’m also not sure about Greer telling the story in retrospect, I think having some more surprises might have helped with the action. I did find there were a few too many references to movies, which are Greer’s passion, but sometimes it felt like the story relied film references rather than really showing how Greer was feeling.
There’s a really interesting mix of characters in S. T. A. G. S., and I especially enjoyed the complicated dynamic between Greer and the most well-loved and feared student, Henry. There’s a dark and creepy undertone to the book, which reminds me of a book like Dare Me by Megan Abbott. There’s a foreboding sensation to the whole book, since you know something terrible is going to happen. The last quarter of the book really fulfills that sinister promise, and is packed with intensity and action. I especially loved the ending; pay attention and you just might catch that great twist. I’ll be very curious to see if there’s a sequel!
Thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to be a part of this book your. Make sure to check out the other stops on the S. T. A. G. S. book tour to see what the rest of the bloggers thought!