ARC Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett

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Title: S.T.A.G.S
Author: M. A. Bennett
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Greer, a scholarship girl at a prestigious private school, St Aidan the Great School (known as STAGS), soon realizes that the school is full of snobs and spoilt rich brats, many of whom come from aristocratic families who have attended the institute throughout the centuries. She’s immediately ignored by her classmates. All the teachers are referred to as Friars (even the female ones), but the real driving force behind the school is a group of prefects known as the Medievals, whose leader, Henry de Warlencourt, Greer finds both strangely intriguing as well as attractive. The Medievals are all good-looking, clever and everyone wants to be among their circle of friends. Greer is therefore surprised when she receives an invitation from Henry to spend a long weekend with him and his friends at his family house in the Lake District, especially when she learns that two other “outsiders” have also been invited: Shafeen and Chanel. As the weekend unfolds, Greer comes to the chilling realization that she and two other “losers” were invited only because they were chosen to become prey in a mad game of manhunt.

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S.T.A.G.S honestly surprised me. It is a very eerie story with a twisty plot and an intelligent main character. The story definitely strays from the classic private school book I was expecting. Although this book is a thriller, I feel like there isn’t enough action, and I would have enjoyed more suspense.

It’s so hard to describe this book without spoilers, but basically, it tells the story of a girl who is invited to the annual weekend trip with the most popular kids in school. She is skeptical, since she is considered an outcast, but goes on the trip anyways. As expected, the trip takes a dark turn, and she finds herself trapped in a house with no adults. It was originally the private school aspects that drew me to this book, but we don’t get to see a lot of the actual school. Also, I found that the book lacks action for the kind of story that is is, and everything happens at the end. The idea is very creative, but I just feel like it falls a bit flat.

I really enjoyed Greer’s character in S.T.A.G.S. As a scholarship student in a school for the rich, she doesn’t fit in with the others. However, on the trip, Greer is resourceful and clever, and she is good at manipulating those who are trying to manipulate her. She is also quick to defend her newfound friends, which I loved. The one thing I will say is that the constant movie references do get annoying, but other than that, she is likeable.

S.T.A.G.S. is a darker take on a private school weekend trip. The main character is likeable, and the concept is intriguing. However, I would have liked more action in this thriller, and a faster paced plot.

* I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

14 thoughts on “ARC Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett

  1. Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! says:

    I also got an ARC of this, but I’m struggling to get through the first 20 percent. There is just something about the book that doesn’t click with me. I do enjoy the movie references, at least the ones I know! Hopefully the book will pick up for me. 🙂

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