{Review+Giveaway} S.T.A.G.S. by @MABennettAuthor @DelacortePress @GetUnderlined

February 5, 2018 Blog Tours, Giveaways, Reviews, Young Adult 5 ★★★½

{Review+Giveaway} S.T.A.G.S. by @MABennettAuthor @DelacortePress @GetUnderlinedS.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett
Pages: 304
Published by Delacorte Press on January 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, mystery, Suspense/Thriller
Source: eARC from Publisher

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. . . .

YA Review My Thoughts

S.T.A.G.S. is a young adult mystery thriller by author M.A. Bennett. In case you didn’t know, S.T.A.G.S. stands for St. Aidan the Great School, is a book that is touted to be awesome for fans of The Secret History and Pretty Little Liars. I am a big fan of both of those books, so that coupled with the boarding school setting, I was pretty pumped for S.T.A.G.S. And S.T.A.G.S. delivered on what it promised, a twisty thriller. And though S.T.A.G.S. is set at a boarding school, a bulk of the novel took place at a country manor where this “hunting” weekend is set to take place.

I loved the premise of S.T.A.G.S. I think that was my favorite aspect of the story.  And the writing and storyline were both excellent. They kept my attention the entire time and I loved the eerie feeling of the story. But the characters didn’t always live up to the plot in my opinion. I liked Greer well enough, but I didn’t completely love her. And I not entirely sure why. There wasn’t anything I could pinpoint that I really disliked. I was just way more invested in the storyline than I was the characters.

But the storyline was pretty great. I loved the way the story is presented. Pretty early on we learn about a murder and we also know the murderer, which is totally unique. (It kind of reminded me of episodes of the tv show Monk, where we watch the murder take place, and then we spend the rest of the episode finding out the how and the why.) We didn’t know the why, which had me totally intrigued. And I have to say, I really really enjoyed watching this story unfold. MA Bennett did a really great job making it very interesting. It does seem reminiscent of The Secret History by Donna Tart.

Overall, Plot driven readers will likely enjoy this suspense thriller. The setting was great and the writing was excellent. There were many areas of the plot and mystery game that I absolutely loved, but I don’t want to get into specifics because they are every much a part of the plot that gets revealed as Greer and her friend pulls back some layers and dive into the mystery. It is worth discovering for yourself. I liked the characters well enough, but I wasn’t completely won over by them all. Fans of this book will be excited to find out that it is going to be made into a movie. I am really excited for this news because I think it will translate really well to the big screen.

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About 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.

Michelle @ Book Briefs

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