AUTHOR: M.A. Bennett

Rating: ★★★☆☆

PAGES: 296

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press


GENRE(S): Mystery, Thriller

The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett - The Contented ReaderThere’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. . . .


This book is different from anything I’ve read before. This book is suspenseful and mysterious. Overall, I enjoyed the book!

In this book, we follow Greer MacDonald who is new at a prestigious and elite boarding school. The school prefects, also known as the Medievals, quickly invite Greer for a weekend of huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’. It’s not long before Greer realizes that not everything is as it seems!

As a main character, Greer is both brave and naive. She’s enjoyable throughout the whole of the book. I really liked watching her relationships with the other characters grow and develop. Her character in general, is an aspect of the book I really enjoyed.

There is definitely a lot of suspense in this book. There are multiple opportunities for twists and turns. As soon as Greer says she’s a murderer, you want to learn more! I just wish there was a bit more action surrounding this.

Another aspect I really like is that this book is in four distinct parts: STAGS, Huntin’, Shootin’ and Fishin’. This makes the book extremely cohesive and also allows for twists and turns to come out of left field!

This book is a bit slow at times, but its suspense kept me going. As I said before, I just wish there was a bit more action in it. While it’s said to be similar to Pretty Liars, I actually found it more similar to Gossip Girl and How to Get Away with Murder, but that’s just my opinion!

Overall, this is a solid debut novel. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a boarding school setting and mysteries. The ending definitely leaves me thinking that there may be another book coming our way, and I am definitely curious!

Go on, Go on, Go on,” I said under my breath, using the Force, willing him to outpace them. I was Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. This isn’t the deer you’re looking for. And as if my Jedi mind trick had worked, the stag outrun the hounds easily.

Favourite Quote

About The Author

M.A. Bennett Author Photo - The Contented ReaderM.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.

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Do you like books set in boarding schools? What is your favourite mystery/thriller book? Do you plan on reading S.T.A.G.S?

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Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!


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