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

Hello Readers & Friends,

A new book review for you today. I gave S.T.A.G.S. by M.A Bennett 4* on GoodReads. The tagline reads;

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

 And it hooked me. Described as Gossip Girl meets The Hunger Games by the lovely lady who sold it to me at YALC, it brought everything I hoped for. (Also, I got a prospectus that went with it and loved that additional touch!)

In summary, our protagonist, Greer, is attending a privilidged and exclusive boarding school on scholarship. She has no friends, so is interested when an invitation turns up at her door inviting her to go huntin', shootin' and fishin'. She spends a weekend at the most popular boy at school's house, along with a possey of his friends and a couple of other outcasts. They soon learn the weekend has a dark motive, and by the end, a lot of twisted corruption and deadly secrets begin to unwravel and expose themselves. 

On the very last pages, I had legit shivers as everything came together. I love a good teen thriller, and throw in some conspiracy theories, deaths and posh British class warfare and I'm sold. It also threads seeds throughout to do with reliance on technology, which I liked as a thought-provoking subcontext. 

I actually made a little moodboard for the main character as I've been enjoying my moodboarding recently but don't like posting them on my Instagram because I'm a loser and care about the feed theme too much. *Cringe.*

Why did it not get 5 stars? 
- It was a little slow to kick off with everything exciting in the second half of the book. 
- I don't like the way you're told a big part of the ending right at the start as it loses it's shock value, and is actually a little misleading. There's no anticipation for how the weekend will end, as you're told on page one! Why did they choose to do this? 
-  Lastly, I don't particularly like Greer, finding her quite annoyingly passive, not particularly bright, fickle, materialistic and a little unlikable at times. Chanel and Shafeen were much stronger, intelligent and likeable characters and I actually thing Chanel had fantastic character development when compared to Greer. Also, I can't get past what a horrible name Greer is!

What did I love?
- The world created around this school. The creepy undertones threaded throughout, the Savages vs Medievil ideas, the Friars and the way I could really imagine it all so clearly. The bullying and dialogue was also very spot on. Having gone to both a private and public school I can definitely imagine the type of people Henry and his possey would be and their depiction was very accurate.

- The whole corruption and how deep everything ran was really exciting at the end, almost making up for the fact that we are told who will live and die on page 1. (Again, why!?) 

All in all it very much reminded me of The Riot Club, a film which I only watched because Douglas Booth was in it (I used to date one of his best friends when we were at school) and I was intrigued to see him act, as I never had before. I have to say, he was brilliant. Not to go off on a tangent but his character in that film was abhorrant and the opposite of the Doug I knew back when I was 17. But the whole class division idea and horrible upper-class, elitest murderers vibe definitely mirrored this film, which was of course based on the Bullingdon Club.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to the sequel, D.O.G.S release. Hopefully Greer gets more personality!


C x


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