Greer MacDonald is a new student at St. Aiden the Great School (STAGS). Right away she realizes she doesn’t fit in. She’s not one of the “it” girls, who call themselves Medievals. So when she is invited to a weekend retreat of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin,’” she is beyond surprised. She is flattered that she may finally become a Medieval. However, things slowly start making less sense, and Greer starts to question everything around her. It seems that the Medievals are out for blood… and not just animals’.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Upon reading the description of the book, I was worried the first ¾ of the book would be boring, and then the last ¼ would finally pick up pace only to be over too quickly. However, that was not the case. S.T.A.G.S. was riveting through and through. It kept my attention the entire time and didn’t bore me once.
All of the characters were enjoyable in their own way – even the villains. Surprisingly, I found Henry, the “star player” of the Medievals, to be the most intriguing character of them all. I wish I could have learned more about him or maybe even had a few chapters from his point of view, but that is the only thing I have to complain about.
The main character, Greer, was a very good pick for the story’s narrator. I’ve found that with a lot of modern YA books, the teens in the story are seldom accurate representations of actual teens. I’m happy to say that the author wrote the teen characters perfectly. Greer was a teen, but she wasn’t annoying or whiny. She also wasn’t in-your-face about how un-annoying and un-whiny she was. I felt that she accurately represented how most teens are. She was brave but not so brave that it was unrealistic. She still got scared and knew when she needed help. She felt very human and real, which was something I greatly appreciated. The only thing I have to complain about Greer was that in a few instances she seemed a bit preachy, especially when it came to hunting animals, but other than that her character arc was amazingly well-written.
Nel, a friend and fellow outsider of Greer, annoyed me at first but eventually grew on me. I felt that she grew the most character-wise in the novel. She really stepped up, and for that I was pleasantly surprised as I was fully expecting to dislike her throughout the whole book.
As for the plot, it gripped me and didn’t let me go. From page one I was hooked all the way until page 293. I also liked how Greer used movie references, as I’m a huge movie buff. The only thing is that the movie references could potentially spoil the movie if you hadn’t seen it yet, so do be warned of that. Luckily, I’d already seen all the movies Greer mentioned, however, another potential reader may not have, so tread carefully.
Overall, S.T.A.G.S. does not disappoint in the slightest. It is a fast-paced story that is sure to keep your attention. Filled with suspense, action, and a mysterious undertone, S.T.A.G.S. is sure to impress.