STAGS

REVIEW: S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett

Summary


Greer is a new student – a scholarship student – at St. Aidan the Great School, or STAGS boarding school. It’s not easy to be the one who sticks out at a new school. But Greer isn’t one to try to be something she’s not. So she keeps her head down and tries to stay out of trouble. At least she doesn’t stick out like Shafeen, the only minority student at STAGS, or Chanel whose money is too new for the blue bloods at STAGS.

Greer’s luck seems to be changing when she receives an invitation to a weekend of “huntin’, shootin’, and fishin’.” Sure, it seems weird that it’s just the Medievals – the prefects and popular kids – plus Greer, Shafeen and Chanel. And there are no adults besides the servants. And there was that one girl who told her not to go…. But it’s an invitation from Henry de Warlencourt! He’s so handsome. And he welcomes Greer so warmly. While she doesn’t know anything about hunting, shooting or fishing, she’s sure it’s just going to be a nice weekend away from school. What more would it be?

Review


This was a slow-building story with a punch. The author does a great job of telling you something is coming that is going to rock the reader’s world while also letting the story unfold in its own time. Sometimes authors try this and it’s obnoxious, and you just want them to stop dropping hints and get on with it. But the author made this work for this story. As Greer dropped hints of what was coming, it amped up the tension for me and kept me turning pages. I liked Greer. The film references she makes are entertaining and communicate some extra layers to the story.

It’s hard to say I “liked” the book exactly. I liked trying to figure out what was really going on. The last section, though, made the whole book click for me. It made me sit up and start reading faster in order to see the whole picture. It left me wide-eyed and saying “wow” in the end.

If you enjoy school stories that set up on-the-fringe students against some sort of popular clique/mean girls group, definitely put this on your reading list. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for an electronic review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

 

Unicorn of Many Hats

REVIEW: Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Summary


Skylar is about to start her senior year at her prestigious East Coast boarding school. But already things aren’t going like she planned. Her parents are having money troubles. So instead of interning at her mom’s movie production company over the summer break, Skylar had to work at their club – as a waitress. Then her school says there’s been a housing shake up and she loses her prime spot in the best dorm with all of her friends. Then when everyone finds out about how she really spent her summer, and that she kept it all secret from them, she loses what little normalcy she has left. This was not how her senior year was supposed to go!

Review


Books (and Hallmark Channel movies)  tend to work in one of two ways. Either things start out great, hit a major snag near the three-quarters point and then resolve or everything falls apart at the start and the character has to claw his or her way back. This book fits the second scenario. Bit by bit, Skylar loses everything that was important to her. She loses her identity. And you cringe as you read it because it is painful.

But things slowly start to change. Skylar gives her new situation a chance. She opens up to new people. She discovers some things about herself. And it’s an immensely satisfying journey! I really loved Skylar’s new community – and the person she becomes when she opens herself up to them. If the author decides to write a sequel, I would totally read it! (Some language)

Rating: ♥♥♥♥