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Mice: A Novel Hardcover – August 18, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Originally from the United Kingdom, Gordon Reece studied English literature at Keble College, Oxford, before emigrating to Spain and then Australia, where he has lived since 2005. In the UK and Spain, he has published several illustrated children’s books and graphic novels. Mice is his American debut and first novel.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

My eyes snapped open and I was instantly wide awake. Even though I’d been sunk in the depths of a deep, deep sleep, the unmistakable pig squeal of the fourth stair had reached that part of the brain that never sleeps. I had no doubt what I’d heard, and I had no doubt what it meant: someone was in the house.

The fluorescent display of the alarm clock on my bedside table said 3:33.

I could feel my heart throbbing in my chest like something with a life of its own, like a rabbit writhing and twisting in a snare that grew tighter the more it struggled. I strained to hear above the booming roar in my temples. My ears probed outside my bedroom door—the landing, the staircase—like invisible guard dogs, constantly sending back information: silence, silence, silence, there’s only silence, we can find nothing. Could I have been mistaken? But I knew I wasn’t. I’d heard the fourth stair scream under a person’s weight.

Sure enough, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting there came the groan of another stair, a higher stair: someone was in the house.

I was paralysed with fear. Since my eyes had opened I hadn’t moved a muscle. It was as if a primitive instinct—to keep absolutely still and not make a sound until the danger had passed—had taken control of me. Even my breathing had become so slow, so shallow that it made no sound, and didn’t move the quilt the tiniest fraction. I thought about the rounders bat I kept under the bed “in case of burglars”, but I was powerless to reach down to grasp it. Something stronger held me frozen and immobile. Keep still, it ordered, don’t make a sound until the danger’s passed.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022847
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,168,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Shelley and Elizabeth had great dimension and character to them.
Cheryl Koch
The way Reece gives us an insight into what goes on in their mind and how he describes the situation and the consequences was more haunting and effective for me.
Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea
MICE is a book that keeps a reader glued to the pages til the very end, thoughtful after the end, and also anxious to talk about it with other readers.
D. Merrimon Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Merrimon Crawford VINE VOICE on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What happens when a human decides not to be a mouse anymore? How does violence affect an individual? In his stunning work of suspense MICE, Gordon Reece poses these questions and more.

Shelley and her mother Elizabeth are timid, shying away from confrontation. Others take advantage of them sometimes without even thinking. Who are they to object to the mistreatment? Whether it be by Elizabeth's ex-husband and current boss or Shelley's lifelong friends, bullies gravitate towards them. When pranks turns to full blown menace, Shelley and her mom scurry like mice in retreat to Honeysuckle Cottage, a hiding place far removed from others. Finally, their idyllic surroundings provide them with a degree of safety from others. No longer taunted by bullies, Shelley now excels in the academic work with her tutors as she prepares for her examinations. Then, suddenly, on the night before her sixteenth birthday, everything changes. Danger intrudes into their secure sanctuary. In the horrifying events that follow, Shelley and her mother find themselves acting in ways they never could have imagined themselves capable. Just how far will they go to protect themselves?

Gordon Reece's MICE is an outstanding work of psychological suspense full of crazy, unexpected twists. Just when life seems to go smoothly, another slight wrinkle or sometimes shocking turn of events changes everything. MICE is a book that keeps a reader glued to the pages til the very end, thoughtful after the end, and also anxious to talk about it with other readers. Gordon Reece's excellent characterization draws the reader's inner emotional allegiance to Shelley and her mother, despite the uneasy, escalating action which troubles one's inner sense of morality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on August 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Shelley and Elizabeth are on their own now. After Shelley's father leaves her mother for a younger woman and moves to Spain, Shelley and Elizabeth are left with nothing. They go house hunting and find the perfect secluded location. The place is called Honeysuckle Cottage. It is the perfect place to make a home for two "mice".

Everything is going well until that one night when Shelley hears foot steps in the house. From there, things spiral out of control very quickly.

I had no expectations when I opened this book to read it. I have to say that if I did have any expectations, this book by far exceed them. Shelley and Elizabeth had great dimension and character to them. I thought it was creative the way that Mr. Reece used the word "mice" to describe Shelley and Elizabeth. Though, Shelley and Elizabeth may have started out as "mice", they ended up as "lions". When the story really god interesting was when, the stranger came into the house and from there; the rest of the story just flew. Shelley and Elizabeth shared a close relationship. Mr. Reece is a good prolific writer. I could envision everything in detail. Mice may be Mr. Gordon Reece's debut novel but it reads like he is already a pro. Mice, we may be but hear us roar!
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Format: Hardcover
Reece explores some really dark territory in his novel, from the pathology of bullying to the emotionally-charged consequences of desperate people faced with a life and death decision. Chronicling the abject daily travails of a teen who is bullied mercilessly by her three former best friends, the problem and the response of authorities is predictably enacted with subjective argument and the threat of legal action, Shelley Rivers left literally without recourse after a particularly violent attack, with no witness to support her claims. Make no mistake: identifying both her mother and herself as "mice", Shelly willingly claims the mantle of victim ("Mice are never rude. Mice are never assertive."). Shame compels Shelley to keep her suffering to herself until the final incident, an overweight, unhappy fifteen-year-old who finds blissful respite in a hospital room and then the isolation of their new place, an isolated country home aptly named Honeysuckle Cottage.

Shelley's mother, Elizabeth, also a mouse, has survived a brutal divorce, meekly accepting the leftovers of eighteen years of marriage to an indifferent man. Shelley pursuing home study and Elizabeth accepting a demeaning job with an equally demeaning boss, mother and daughter luxuriate in privacy, classical music, their garden and the absence of malice- until the night of Shelley's sixteenth birthday, when paradise is invaded by chaos. The response of the "mice" is the crux of Reece's novel, the instinct for survival, the simmering rage of the oppressed and the life-changing actions that redefine both mother and daughter.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lori Caswell VINE VOICE on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Shelly has been bullied by girls who used to be her best friends. Her mother, Elizabeth, was bullied by her husband until he left her for a younger woman, she is now bullied by her employers. They leave London and retreat to Honeysuckle Cottage in the country. Elizabeth stills commutes to the same office everyday. These woman are MICE! Timid, nervous and put everyone before themselves.

They love their life in the country until the eve of Shelly's sixteenth birthday. Something horrifying will change their lives forever. Maybe they are not mice after all.

My Thoughts
I find myself really on the fence about this book. It addresses the very common problem these days of bullying. For the first half of the book I was right there turning pages, feeling the right emotions for what these women were going through.

Then the book took a very dark and even more horrifying turn that what these women had endured. I found it hard to keep going but I finished the book, hoping beyond home this dark theme would I don't know, magically go away. It didn't. I also found the whole premise very unbelievable. I know the author is trying to dramatize the extreme extent bullying can go to, but no, a mother and daughter couldn't turn into the women they created. If they do I hope and pray they are few and far between.

It is a well written book and the part of the bullied Shelly and how she kept the incidents to herself until they escalated to a point where she was so physically hurt the paramedics had to be called was very well portrayed. Her actions and her thoughts.

I understand this is a psychological thriller, but to me it's a thriller that goes off the rails. Maybe young adults will not have the reaction I had as a mother.
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