Blog Tour Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
Blog Tour Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett releases today and we are thrilled to be a part of the blog tour! Hope you take a peek at my review, and check out the full blog tour schedule below. Thank you so much to Delacorte Press for inviting us on the tour, and for the early review copy, which has no influence on my thoughts below!
S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller
Publication: January 30th, 2018; Delacorte Press
Purchase: Amazon, TBD
Donna Tartt’s The Secret History meets Pretty Little Liars in this propulsive, edge-of-your-seat novel that explores just how far the elite at an English boarding school will go to maintain the social order.
There’s no point hunting if there’s no kill.
At St. Aidan the Great School, or S.T.A.G.S., new things–and new people–are to be avoided. Unfortunately, Greer MacDonald, token scholarship student, is very much a new person. She has just transferred to S.T.A.G.S., and finds herself ignored at best and mocked at worst by the school’s most admired circle of friends, the Medievals.
So imagine Greer’s surprise when this very group invites her to an exclusive weekend retreat at the private estate of the parents of their unofficial leader, Henry de Warlencourt. It’s billed as a weekend of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin’,” and rumor has it that the invitee who most impresses the group will be given the privilege of becoming a Medieval themselves.
As the weekend begins to take shape, however, it becomes apparent that beyond the luxurious trappings–the fancy clothes the maid lays out on Greer’s bed, the elaborate multicourse dinners held in the Great Hall–there are predators lurking, and they’re out for blood. . .
I was so intrigued by the idea of this book that I was nearly flailing when I received the review copy. I made the mistake shortly after of checking its Goodreads rating and was subsequently expecting a letdown of large proportions.
I. Was. Not.
When working-class student Greer receives a scholarship to the prestigious school, one thing is clear: she doesn’t fit in. Especially next to the ‘rulers’ of the school, a group of 6 illustrious, arrogant, and supremely wealthy students who are the untouchables. The ones everyone wants to be friends with and aspire to be. And even though she’s smart enough to recognize the truth, she can’t help but want to become part of their group, The Medievals. That is clear from her narrative. As is the fact that she crushes on the group’s leader, Henry de Warlencourt. And as always seems to be the case, he doesn’t seem so bad at first.
From the very beginning we are told a death has taken place. A murder. And that Greer was part of said act. To what degree, we don’t yet know. But since she’s telling it retrospectively, we know what to expect, if not when. Though, that becomes clear quite early on, too.
What I found quite interesting was how The Medievals shunned technology and therefore, cell phones, tablets, etc were deemed uncool. It lent a view of the current world without all the things most teens (and yes, adults) today can’t typically live without. So when an envelope is slid under her door—one clearly from those she’s so desperate to catch the attention of—it’s as if her luck and world are changing. Which, I suppose, is the case. It’s only when she realizes the two other biggest outcasts have also been invited that perhaps this weekend outing won’t be everything she hoped for. And that maybe, they were going to be the hunted in the shenanigans of the weekend.
Greer, Shafeen, and Chanel are clearly the ones we are supposed to care about. This (to me) because their characters are wholly fleshed out, while The Medievals were mostly the same—with the exception of Henry. I found loads of twists and turns, and enough misdirection to keep me guessing as to what exactly happened. Greer’s voice is not only believable as a 16-year-old, but the added humor and film nods make it even more enjoyable than normal.
And yes, the book and plot has its flaws. (Argue all you want, but NO book is perfect!) But I really couldn’t care much as my interest never wavered. The ending is sweet, if not a bit preachy. I also felt it may have been left open for more, though I’d be 100% okay with this being the complete story. I enjoy using my imagination at times for the “after” parts we don’t always see. Overall, I found this to be quite the page-turner. Anyone who enjoys mysteries and thrillers would definitely be sucked in and have a blast trying to put all the pieces together. I look forward to future works from M.A. Bennett!
Author Bio: M.A. Bennett
M. A. BENNETT is half Venetian and was born in Manchester, England, and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as a historical source. After university, she studied art and has since worked as an illustrator, an actress, and a film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands, including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in north London with her husband, son, and daughter.
Follow her at @MABennettAuthor on Twitter and at m.a.bennettauthor on Instagram.
22-Jan – Adventures of a Book Junkie
23-Jan – Cracking the Cover
24-Jan – Beauty, Brains
25-Jan – Batch of Books
26-Jan – A Backwards Story
29-Jan – A Midsummer Night’s Read
30-Jan – BookCrushin
31-Jan – I’m Shelf-ish
1-Feb – By Valia Lind
2-Feb – Jessabella Reads
5-Feb – Book Briefs
6-Feb – A Reading Nurse
7-Feb – Bookish Things & More
8-Feb – Blogging Bout Books
9-Feb – Evie-Bookish