2011 Thriller YA

Mice by Gordon Reece


Five words from the blurb: bullying, women, timid, shattered, control

Ignore the weird romance-like cover, this book is a dark, fast-paced thriller. Many bloggers raved about Mice on its release four years ago, but I never got around to reading it. Then last week I was looking for a light, but gripping read and stumbled across my copy. It was a perfect match for my mood and is great for a slightly creepy Halloween read.

Mice begins with fifteen-year-old Shelley being bullied at school. Shelley and her mother are both quiet people, unwilling to make a fuss. They silently endure the jibes of others and many people abuse their good nature. Then one day they are woken in the night by a burglar and they face the difficult decision of whether or not to fight back for the first time in their lives.

Mice is a clever book. On the surface it is a gripping read, packed with twists and turns, but underneath it raises many interesting questions about whether we should always stand up for ourselves. It also has some good observations about how we interact with others:

All I could think was that no matter how close we are to someone else, there are limits, frontiers between us that we just can’t cross, things that touch us so deeply they can’t be shared with anyone else. Maybe, I thought, it’s what we can’t share with others that really defines who we are. 

The subject matter was dark, but not oppressively so – it’s a great introduction to scary books! Some elements of the story required the reader to suspend their disbelief, but I didn’t mind as these were necessary to build a more interesting plot. I also found some of the symbolism a bit heavy-handed, but overall the writing quality was quite good.

The characters were well drawn and I especially loved the interaction between the mother and her daughter. There was a real emotional connection between the two and the reader quickly becomes involved in their dilemmas.

This wasn’t great literature, but it was an entertaining plot driven novel. Recommended if you’re looking for a quick, engaging read.


The thoughts of other bloggers:

I found this a gripping, unputdownable read, one which I devoured in one sitting. Lovely Treez Reads

Some nice dramatic scenes are unfortunately let down by obvious concepts and ideas. A little more showing and a little less telling. Sam, Goodreads

Thought provoking and reading like something that could easily have been torn from the front page of a newspaper – this is great fiction and I shall certainly look out for Graham Reece’s next one. Books and Writers


4 replies on “Mice by Gordon Reece”

How cool! I had just compiled a possible “to read” list for November and put this on it – glad you enjoyed it. It sounds a bit different.

Hellooooo Jaqui,
Still checking in on your wonderful blog but I never seem to have much to contribute these days. 🙁
I think I may well add this to November’s reading too. l like the sound of dark and fast paced; disturbing and psychological are also a plus.
I have been going through a batch of bad reading lately. Was trying to read outside of my comfort zone once again with little success, so I need something to get me going again.

Ifi, Glad you’re still here 🙂 This is definitely a book to get you out of a reading slump. The first few chapters are a bit slow, but it soon picks up and you wont be able to put it down. Enjoy!

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