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

Today I am reviewing the YA thriller S.T.A.G.S, the debut novel by author M.A. Bennett. A twisting thriller for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Pretty Little Liars.

Title: S.T.A.G.S.
Author: M.A. Bennett
Published: August 10th 2017 by Hot Key Books

Blurb: Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it's clever, fast-paced and dark, everything I love in a thriller. It also had a few surprises in store for us, which made me wonder, more than once, how this story was going to end.

Another thing I enjoyed too was getting to know the different characters. I really liked the main character, Greer. You could feel how lonely she felt in this new and posh school, she was the outsider and her schoolmates reminded her of that constantly. It was completely understandable that she was so excited to finally be invited in a social event, especially one as important as the huntin' shootin' fishin' weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular guy in the school. 

Henry de Warlencourt himself was a completely different matter. He seemed quite the charmer, giving all his attention to Geer and I was wondering all the time when we would get to see his real demeanor. I was certainly fascinated by this character, as we got to know him through Geer's eyes and she herself was not sure about him and his nature. 

The whole story had a dark humorous tone that really gave this book a unique touch. Geer turned out to be an excellent narrator and I found her insights and ironic comments very clever. The story also made you think about society nowadays, and the obsession we have now with being "connected" to the world, especially teenagers who see the world through their phone screens. 

This is definitely a story to check if you enjoy thrillers, as it hits all the spots and gives you that feeling of unease that makes you keep reading to find out more until the early hours of the night. 

Rating: 4 stars

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

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