Messed Up Morals // REVIEW: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Title: S.T.A.G.S
Author: M.A. Bennett
Publication Date: August 10th 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
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Blurb Description: Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
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...
I finished reading this book a few days ago, and I’M STILL UNSURE ABOUT WHETHER I EVEN LIKED IT OR NOT. It started off fairly slowly, and the got better and then this one particular aspect about the ending just isn’t (logically) comprehending in my mind and I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, or even how to review this book.

So, instead, I’d like to propose an alternate title to (try to) sum up what I feel: Rich White Kid Privilege: A Game of Murder and Messed Up Morals.

Let me explain further:

1.       This book is set in an ANCIENT boarding school called S.T.A.G.S, established in 1095 (or something of the sort. Ancient, basically. VERY ancient) that is ruled be a group of prefects who have termed themselves “The Medievals.”

2.       In this world, technology and diverse people of any kind are Savage (and not it a good way) and everything and everyone white, not older than the industrial revolution and come from Old Money are Medieval. Can you feel my hate against the Medievals? I hope so. They were a bunch of brats that need to be Hunted, Shot and fished themselves.
Image result for s.t.a.g.s m.a. bennett
Art by CI Designs

3.       This book is told in second person from a S.T.A.G.S outcast, Greer MacDonald and is all about the one FATEFUL day she receives an anonymous invitation from the most popular kinds on campus to go away on winter break to the Head Boy’s house for some “Huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’”

4.       If you can’t already tell, the beginning of this book was MEDIOCRE, slow and cringe worthy because any seasoned reader would know that this book was leading to nowhere good. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters and I was just reading it for the sake of it.

5.       It was somewhere in the middle of the book, when everyone was in the thick of the three day weekend to the Medieval Leader, Henry’s, house that the book got better. I suddenly cared about where the plot was going and about the characters and I fell for the friendship forming between Shafeen, Chanel and Greer. I was INVESTED until that SERIOUSLY QUESTIONABLE ending when it all just fell apart.

6.        Another thing I really liked about this book was that there was INDIAN REP! Shafeen, one of the major characters came from Jaipur. It gave this book some much needed diversity!

7.       Again, there was this ONE aspect of the ending that ruined things for me, and it was all about how one of the Medievals became another and I JUST DIDN’T UNDERSTAND IT. Also, how in the world did the three of them not go to the police? It made no sense to me.  
Honestly, I HAD REALLY HIGH HOPES FOR THIS BOOK and while I KNOW I HATED some aspects of it, and enjoyed others, I’m not sure where I stand on the book as a whole. 3 stars. 
M.A.  BennettM. 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.

What are some of your favourite YA Thrillers/ Mysteries?
I don't read much of the sub-genre, but I'd love to start!

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