S.T.A.G.S by M. A Bennett is set in a private boarding school and follows Greer Macdonald as she begins her first scholarship year at the prestigious institute. Greer has moved from her public comprehensive school in Manchester to join the elite in a school that not only nurtures tradition but dies by it. She’s a misfit who finds herself isolated until she receives an invite for huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ from the Medievals (S.T.A.G.S prefects and popular kids) over half term weekend. But sometimes things truly are too good to be true…
On the surface S.T.A.G.S is a book about not quite fitting in and how the bullies can latch onto the weak pretty fast but underneath it’s something a little more sinister than just name-calling. M. A. Bennett has created a world that seems so perfectly isolated from the contemporary one it is set in that even the reader may feel they are falling for the Medieval’s charms along with Greer, Nel and Shafeen. A weekend of bloodsports at Longcross seems like a perfect way to be inducted in as the new Medievals but the trio quickly find that there is more on the line. With no adults around, apart from the servants, Henry de Warlencourt takes it upon himself to play host and teach the so-called ‘Savages’ what it’s like to be part of his world. However, Henry has strict criteria and if they don’t tick all the boxes… well, let’s just say previous S.T.A.G.S students have returned to the school a little different than when they left.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Greer’s attention to detail when it comes to films was something unexpected but great to read when teamed with her slightly rebellious attitude. It was nice to see that all of the characters had their flaws as well – misplacing trust, anger and manipulation – making them a rounded bunch. Also, considering this is a contemporary book it is nice to see technology such as YouTube and Facebook being mentioned by name rather than being vague about social media which I find often in books.
S.T.A.G.S is a novel that caught my attention and held it throughout. It’s fast paced narrative and dark twists kept me coming back for more. If you want a read that pulls you into the pages and keeps you questioning everyone’s motives then S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett should be your next read.
Would you ever attend S.T.A.G.S?