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(S.T.A.G.S #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  2,827 ratings  ·  754 reviews
Donna Tartt's The Secret History meets Pretty Little Liars in this propulsive, edge-of-your-seat novel that explores just how far the elite at an English boarding school will go to maintain the social order.

There'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,
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Delacorte Press (first published August 10th 2017)
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Tegan There is potential for a sequel, but I don't feel like it needs one.
Grace Tiny hint of romance but the book isn't based around it :D

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Miriam Smith
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readers-first
"S.T.A.G.S." written by M.A.Bennett is a superb story that was such a different read to my normal books, yet still in keeping with the thriller genre.
I knew as soon as I started reading this that I was going to enjoy it and I wasn't proved wrong. With twists and turns right to the very end, readers will love this book - so easy to follow with brilliant characters (I could certainly see the attraction with Henry) and a seriously captivating plot.
Greer MacDonald has won a scholarship at the very
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
uhhhh..this ain’t it
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Privilege, power, huntin', shootin', fishin'.

Holy wow. I misjudged this book a lot.

I knew from those first gripping pages that there had been a death, that someone thought they had murdered someone else, but I loved how unreliable it felt.

I'm not entirely sure what it was about the cover or the blurb (yes, I read it for once!) that made me think that this was set in the US, but it's not. And that came as a very pleasant and welcome surprise.

I found myself quickly sucked deep into the w
Rachel Hall
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

S.T.A.G.S is a cracking debut psychological thriller aimed at the YA market but in all honesty with M.A. Bennett’s neat plotting, the scathing humour of her central character and a storyline filled with situations which are accessible to an adult audience, this novel has the ability to entertain well beyond its target bracket. With its dark undertone and a heroine wise beyond her years yet achingly aware of the social conventions which dictates whether an adolescent fits in, S.T.A.G.S offers a p
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
This was a unique, creative, and thrilling novel that is not typical within the Young Adult genre. It almost felt as if it was a combination of "Pretty Little Liars" by Sara Shepard and the movies "Scream" and "Mean Girls". It was a different story and not only in the idea but the execution of the crimes.

Admittedly (and unfortunately), as much as I was a fan of the idea surrounding the plot, this novel was just not for me. It was a case of "it's not you, it's me". The writing was well done but

"Huntin', Shootin', Fishin'."

I genuinely thought I was going to thoroughly enjoy S.T.A.G.S. because I requested in during the same period I was watching this brilliant BBC mini-series called, wait for it, “Stag”. The concept was similar and being me the idiot I am I thought it was a sign from the gods to read it. In “Stag” a group of men go on a hunting trip on a friend's stag night. Then, one after the other, they get killed off. My kind of thing if you know me! In “S.T.A.G.S.” a group of kids
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Sometimes you know from the very beginning of a book that you are going to thoroughly enjoy it and this was definitely that book.

Greer MacDonald wins a scholarship to the prestigious STAGS (St Aidan the great school). She finds it hard to make new friends as old money trumps new and it’s an old establishment where one’s ancestry is very important.

When Greer receives an invitation with the words “huntin, shootin and fishin” from the very popular Henry Cookson, it looks like her luck has changed.
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
4.5/5 stars

I think there's a pretty clear reason why I liked this and rated it so highly. If Tartt's The Secret History and Stiefvater's The Raven Boys had a lovechild, it might look something like this book. It undoubtedly takes more after The Secret History in terms of narrative, but it has key themes that both TSH and TRB share: wealthy youths; private schools; youths doing ill-advised things and taking advantage of their affluence; a newcomer to a group of glittering, enigmatic people.

An e
Wing-yee (bibliomeds)
what a dark, thrilling read set in a lush and posh estate with shady secrets.
being rich must be nice sometimes

finished this in 2 sittings and i'm so proud of myself.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*Thank you to the author and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

2.5 starts

I was looking forward to reading this book - the premise sounded great and I had not read anything like what the plot suggested I would be getting. And I did enjoy it... to a degree.

I had zero connection with any of the characters in this book. Yes, their appearences were described, but I never got a sense of who they were as a person, and so honestly, I didn't care what their fate would turn o
‘Nine students. Three blood sports. One deadly weekend.’

This book is an okay read, but didn’t really live up to its potential.

It is different from standard YA releases and the concept is great. The problem is in the execution. Greer is a fish out of water as a scholarship student at this exclusive school for the extremely wealthy. Largely ignored by her peers, she finally feels like she is being accepted by the elite group at school when she receives an invitation. Greer is thrust into their wor
Emmy Ruijven
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heel tof, maar ik zag alles aankomen. Binnenkort mijn recensie.
Olivia (The Candid Cover)
S.T.A.G.S honestly surprised me. It is a very eerie story with a twisty plot and an intelligent main character. The story definitely strays from the classic private school book I was expecting. Although this book is a thriller, I feel like there isn’t enough action, and I would have enjoyed more suspense.

It’s so hard to describe this book without spoilers, but basically, it tells the story of a girl who is invited to the annual weekend trip with the most popular kids in school. She is skeptical,
I love boarding school/secret society type books, so I was all over this one.

I liked Greer well enough. She is a bit wishy-washy, but she’s smart and resourceful and I loved that her dad’s profession gave her some seemingly random information. I didn’t quite see the appeal of Henry or his friends. Their enviable qualities appeared to be wearing whatever tights they wanted and I’m not sure what else.

Plot wise, I loved the idea. I won’t go into detail because possible spoilers, but it had a lot
Jen Ryland
Entertaining though pretty unsuspenseful suspense book about rich kids behaving badly.

Do you have thirty seconds? Find out why I think this is Mean Girls retold on a British country weekend.

Read my full (cranky) thoughts here: Jen Ryland Reviews STAG

Read more of my reviews on! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!

I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher for possible revi
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-review
(I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.)

This wasn't awful, but I can't say it was one that I enjoyed. It just couldn't fully gain my interest unfortunately, so I spent a lot of the book feeling quite bored. I was pretty glad to see the end.

Overall, Not awful, but not one for me.
Karima chermiti
May 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the definition of boredom. I can't believe I finished it even though i liked nothing about, not a thing.

I could've reread 13 Minutes or Little Monsters or We Were Liars and i would had a very good time but instead i chose this book and it ended up being one brutal exhausting and totally disappointing reading experience that bored the feelings out of me.


Full review now posted

Hate is a strong word. I don’t use very often in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever used at all when talking
Gemma ♕ Books_McCoy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aneta Bak
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
I thought I was really going to enjoy S.T.A.G.S. but I was just left very disappointed from beginning to end.

First of all, the book starts off in past-tense from the main character, Greer's point of view. In the beginning, she mentions that a certain individual was killed and that she and a few others were the murderers, then she dives into the story from how she got to the school. Normally this type of thing works really well in mystery novels, where they reveal the killer in the beginning but
Taryn Pierson
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-release, audio
S.T.A.G.S. is one of the most fun books I’ve read this year. I just plain enjoyed myself every time I put on my headphones and fired up the audio. I’m a sucker for a boarding school setting and a fight between the privileged upper crust and the scrappy outsiders. There’s something so satisfying about peeking behind the curtain of the very wealthy to discover a seedy or shocking truth. We all have our junk; some of us can just pay more to hide it.

The group calling themselves the Medievals at St.
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
The plot of this story was completely far-fetched and it took a number of leaps of logic to follow what was going on and keep believing it, but the social commentary was spot on. The MC, a scholarship girl at an incredibly exclusive English public school, gets invited to one of her classmate's massive country estates for the weekend only to find that er classmate wasn't exactly extending the hand of friendship. This book deals with racism, classism, snobbery, old-boy networks and conspiracy theo ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
STAGS is a boarding school for the wealthy elite. Greer is admitted on a scholarship, whereas most other students at the school have had generations of attendees in their families. When Greer and two other new/outcast students are invited for a weekend of "Huntin'. Shootin'. Fishin'" with the Medievals (the elite clique of students at the school), she is warned against going by a former friend, but ultimately decides to go, seeing it as a chance to finally make friends and be accepted. What occu ...more
Estefanía Álvarez
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tengo

La caza es un thriller juvenil que te atrapa desde al primera página, contado por una protagonista muy fresca e irónica que hacen que la narración sea muy ágil y divertida.

Cuenta con una historia un tanto oscura y misteriosa y un final totalmente impactante que hace de este libro una lectura totalmente recomendable.
La chica que leía
Brutal. Una historia que te mantiene en vilo, capaz de jugar contigo y tenerte atrapada entre las páginas necesitando más. Y con un final de diez
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous country side manor, a bunch of posh twats and a weekend full off blood sports. Recipe for a disaster, or a delicious thriller? Well, how about both?

Movie geek Greer is the new girl at St. Aidan’s boarding school, and as a scholarship student, she’s not up enough to the standards of the toffs attending the establishment to actually make friends with her. Not being an aristocratic offspring is not the only reason for these kids to look down upon someone, you see. There’s such thing as g
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s
It was a bit like that bit in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast dances with Belle. Except there was no Belle. And no music. And no candlelight. Just a beast.

* * *
3 / 5

I don't often read books of the thriller variety, but this one was a special treat for me, mostly because there wasn't that much actual thriller. It's got all the staples of a classic YA boarding school story: rich kids, fancy buildings, pretentious British house names, privilege, power, and bullying, and adds a little hint of th
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: twenty-seventeen
I am going to start with the fact that this isnt your run-of-the-mill thriller. You start off knowing there was a “murder” and who the “murderer” is. I’ve put these in quotation marks because its debatable whether it could actually be classed as murder. However knowing this doesn’t ruin the story, the fun part is reading about how they got there.

I have seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a dark, fun read that intrigued me from the start.
The characters ar
This book has one of the BEST opening lines I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It sucked me right into the story and I couldn’t put the book down for want of needing to know what happened. I loved the dynamics of power in this book: how the beautiful, rich, popular students literally held all the power in their hands and how the less fortunate, less beautiful and lower class students were quite literally at their mercy. This book is way darker than I expected it to be but I loved it – it rea ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending saved everything. I bought this book because of the cover and finished it because of the story. Fast paced and with intriguing characters, it got me hooked up long enough to ignore the parts that I didn't like. A let down was the amount of movie references used, sometimes more than three per chapter. It is a bit too much and I didn't find them necessary for the plot.

The premise is interesting, the sports are - indeed - bloody. The main character is not always smart, but not completel
⋆ grace ⋆
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just want to shout about how much I enjoyed this book. I wish this had been a book I could’ve read when I was just getting into the psychological thriller genre, it’s an excellent young adult thriller. It touches on teenage emotions and definitely resonates with a young persons reality, while still using all the important and great parts of an older thriller novel.

I loved the mention of films throughout the book, it helped me understand the plot and individual scenes even more. I was worried
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M. 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 f ...more

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S.T.A.G.S (2 books)
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“The hunter…became the hunted,” she translated haltingly. “The hounds…were struck with a wolf’s frenzy…and tore him to pieces as they would a stag.” 2 likes
“Psalm 42. As the running deer seeks the flowing brook, even so my soul longs for you, O God.” 1 likes
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