Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: S.T.A.G.S.

S.T.A.G.S.Author: M.A. Bennett
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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. . . .

Greer MacDonald is the “scholarship girl” at the illustrious and exclusive St. Aiden The Great School, or S.T.A.G.S. for short. Greer falls into the typical girl that doesn’t fit in with the rich kids trope. However, she fits this role well and she makes a subtle change in the way things are done in this pompous, pretentious boarding school. Greer did not start page one by being a hero, but grew and developed as the twisty plot unfolded. More authors should take note from this!

Greer had two friends accompanying her during her time at S.T.A.G.S. Shafeen and Chanel, or “Nel, as she liked to be called. Shafeen and Nel both came from privileged backgrounds, unlike Greer, but they were still outcasts and did not fit in with the popular kids. They were excellent secondary characters and supported Greer’s smart, feisty personality very well. If I was trying to survive a deadly weekend, I would definitely want both of them on my side. I felt that Chanel could have been better developed; she was lacking in character depth, but Shafeen made up for it.

Lastly, we have to discuss the Medievals – the “cool kids”. These group of rich, snotty, snobby brats was everything you want in your boarding school ring leaders. They were described as beautiful and full of charm, but all had a drop of evil in their souls, especially once the plot started to unravel. I know I should hate them, but I spent most of the book being intrigued by them.

The writing was easy to navigate and took me no time at all to get through. It does feel like a young adult novel, so don’t go in expected some poetic, vast novel full of meaningful phrases that make you stop and reflect for minutes at a time. With that being said, this book and its writing are a guilty pleasure that are worth adding to your to be read list, if you haven’t already.

“The hunter…became the hunted,” she translated haltingly. “The hounds…were struck with a wolf’s frenzy…and tore him to pieces as they would a stag.” 

“Shafeen cleared his throat. “To course means to chase, or to hunt.

“Psalm 42. As the running deer seeks the flowing brook, even so my soul longs for you, O God.” 

I am most intrigued by how dark this book got – I mean we are dealing with a cult here, people! The book left off with a literal question mark as the last piece of punctuation, which makes me question if there will be more books in a series. However, I do feel that this book needs more. This was a guilty little pleasure read that took me no time at all to finish and made me so glad that I am no longer a teenager! The boarding school and “cultish” atmosphere of the setting was enough to get me to try this book and I am not sorry that I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment