S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett ~Goodreads~
Published by Hot Key Books 2017
Paperback edition 304 pages ~Book Depository~
Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me this ARC copy for an honest review.
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
A twisting thriller for fans of Looking for Alaska and The Hunger Games.
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…
From the opening chapter I knew I would read this book in a heartbeat.
We’re immediately told and expecting a murder by the end of this book. We don’t know how it happens or why, just simply that they were murderers.
We meet Greer, a pupil at the well renowned boarding school known as S.T.A.G.S where technology and all modern etiquette is replaced with old traditional practices. Greer came to the school to avoid having to stay at her Aunt’s while her Dad travels around the world filming for TV documentaries. A school taught by Friars, students attending dinners and dances, and of course the high society students who keep the school running are the one’s in charge. Little does Greer know that they’re in charge of pretty much everything. The day she receives an invite saying “shootin’, huntin’, fishin'” from the wealthy and popular Henry de Warlencourt at his home in Longcross she can’t quite believe it, but doesn’t decline out of respect and curiosity. Greer soon realises that this is an exclusive event, and that only two other students who have recently started are invited too. Together they uncover something quite extraordinary about the school and these prosperous students.
I absolutely loved how this book had very much a mystery/thriller spark to it. At times it was quite disturbing and yet I really couldn’t put it down. At first all seems normal (other than the old buildings and traditional outlook on things) until we reach Longcross and clues are uncovered as to why the three students are invited on a weekend to take part in old and dangerous sports. Greer is only confident and trusting in the two students by her side, despite her small love interest in Henry.
For anyone who loves mystery and psychological thrillers this is the book for you. Its one of the best young adult books I’ve read in a long while!